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In the world of healthcare, we often find ourselves facing a paradox. We’re trained to treat patients scientifically, to approach our work methodically, and to follow established protocols. But what if we were to reframe our perspective and view each patient as a unique form, a canvas waiting for our creative input, much like an artist confronts a blank canvas? This shift in mindset, inspired by the wisdom of Martin Buber, brings forth an artful approach to orthodontics, where we serve others properly by engaging the soul, embracing sacrifice, and confronting the risk of true transformation.

The Eternal Origin of Art

Martin Buber’s profound insight in his book I and Thou reminds us that art is born when a human being confronts a form that yearns to become a work through them. In the world of orthodontics, the patient is that form. They are not mere diagnostic puzzles with dental issues to be solved; they are unique individuals seeking transformation, much like a sculptor facing a block of marble that wants to reveal its hidden potential.

Serving the Soul

To serve others properly in the art of orthodontics, we must engage the soul. This demands our whole being – our empathy, our creativity, and our unwavering commitment to their well-being. Just as an artist immerses themselves in the canvas, we must immerse ourselves in our patients, understanding their desires, fears, and dreams.

This form, our patient, demands our creative power. It requires us to tailor our orthodontic approach to their individual needs and aspirations. We are not merely adjusting teeth; we are crafting a smile that reflects their unique essence, a smile that tells their story. The sacrifice lies in surrendering the infinite possibilities of a one-size-fits-all approach in favor of a tailored, soulful transformation.

The Risk of Commitment

When we commit to the form becoming a work through our efforts, we embrace a risk. We must be prepared to give our all, to invest our time, skills, and heart. Just as an artist may break the canvas or their own spirit, we, too, may find ourselves tested. The risk is in not holding back any part of ourselves, in going beyond the confines of traditional orthodontics to serve the patient’s deepest needs.

Sometimes, the path to a radiant smile is not straightforward. There may be challenges, setbacks, and moments when it feels like the form is breaking us. But remember, just as a sculptor chips away at the marble until the masterpiece is revealed, we must persist, knowing that the risk is worth the reward.

Orthodontics is not just a science; it is an art form. To serve others properly in this field, we must heed Martin Buber’s wisdom and view our patients as unique forms that demand our creative power. It’s a path that requires us to engage the essence of who they are, make sacrifices, and take risks. In doing so, we unlock the true potential of orthodontics as an art, transforming not just smiles but lives. So, let us approach our work as artists, and in the process, we might just discover the profound beauty that lies within each unique form that appears before us in the chair, waiting to be shaped into a work of art.

How to Embrace the Art and Science of Orthodontics: Discover the proven principles to make your practice more vibrant and serve your patients with excellence so that everyone around you thrives. 

Order your copy of Own It: The Smart Orthodontist’s Guide to Standing Out in a Crowded Market

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