What Can Dentists Learn From Barbers?

Did you know that the first dentists were likely barbers? 

Centuries ago and before the first dental schools existed, barbers were often some of the only folks in town with nimble fingers and a sharp blade. Sometimes known as barber-surgeons, they were on call for performing surgical procedures when needed — including dental work.

Nowadays, we probably shudder at the idea. But before we consign barber-surgeons to the dustbin of history, we should take a moment to consider what dentists can learn from barbers today.

According to our friend (and former barber) Dr. Jacob Berger, the answer boils down to this: customer service. Customer service is the lifeblood of a good barber, who isn’t just someone who cuts hair, but a confidant, counselor, and friend to his or her regular clients. 

Yeah, you can’t exactly listen to a patient pour out their life story in the middle of a root canal. But the underlying attitude still applies. If you make the effort to see your patients as people — to make them feel seen, heard, and understood — they’ll keep coming back for more.

Hopefully routine cleanings, though, and not root canals.

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