Like all the best doctors, Dr. Sandra Garcia Martin knows that an essential part of her job is doing what she can so that people don’t get to the point when they need her help. Being a dentist, she’s more than aware that her patients might often avoid her and her colleagues even when they need it the most. And being a specialist in cosmetic dentistry, she also knows that even healthy and functional teeth can warrant a visit to the dentist if they don’t look good.
In that case, the best she can do for the patients who need her is to make sure they can find her. In a branch of healthcare that’s one of the worst offenders when it comes to the size of the egos of people who work in it, ensuring one has enough space to stand out can be challenging. But Dr. Sandra Garcia Martin didn’t shy away from it.
“One of the niches I’ve carved out for myself is treating nervous people,” Dr. Sandra Garcia Martin says. “It’s important to work with those patients through their fears, being reassuring, patient, and having an aura of calm and dependability.”
Using empathy and compassion to differentiate herself from others in her field didn’t come from a conscious decision. It came about naturally, thanks to her instinct to reach out to people and help. However, when she started seeing celebrity clients, it became apparent that empathy could help her professionally, too.
“It’s important that there’s empathy and a human side of connecting with people when treating them, and I’m not sure that people who are treated like celebrities often get that,” she says. “And this might sound arrogant, but I don’t get starstruck. To me, people are people, and teeth are teeth. With celebrities, it just so happens that the teeth I’m working on are inside of people who have very public jobs.”
Dr. Sandra Garcia Martin’s feeling for human connection helped her break away from other ego-driven traditions sometimes present among dentists. Dentistry is a very individualistic field, and the star of the team often gets all the attention and the credits.
“That’s against who I am as a person, I am a team person, and I love my team like my family. I see them more often than my family, too,” says Dr. Sandra Garcia Martin. “And it comes from the family, too – I came up among women who held each other up and were there for one another. They’ve taught me the power and beauty of sharing, and I’ve done it ever since.”
Dr. Sandra Garcia Martin implemented that sense of being in it together in her other professional pursuits, too. She designed a veneer course to share her wealth of experience in the area with her colleagues, but she didn’t create just any course.
“I’ve been to many courses in my years of practicing, and they often included flying out and other expenses,” Dr. Sandra Garcia Martin says. “So, I’ve created a course that includes everything I know my colleagues will need to learn more about doing veneers – all the information, quality footage, overview of the whole procedure. And they can access it wherever and whenever it’s convenient.”
Even though she’s devoted her time to helping other people get the best smile they can have or learn the best veneer techniques she can teach, Dr. Sandra Garcia Martin also ensures that her skills are top-notch. Through continued education, she also came into contact with new technologies she quickly adopted.
“Digital Smile Design is an imaging technology that allows me to put a smile into the patient’s mouth without doing any procedures and show them how it would look,” she says. “Qualified dentists use it to plan procedures and show the desired outcomes to patients. I use it regularly now, and my patients love it.”
Dr. Sandra Garcia Martin is a firm believer in self-improvement, but that belief doesn’t stop with her profession. To make sure she starts her days right, she practices meditation. She goes to workshops where she can listen to people with various experiences and experts share their knowledge. Overall, she’s always trying to be in the zone where she can give her best – without needing to be the best.
“I don’t think I’m the best, and I’ve learned that I don’t have to be,” she explains. “Every patient has an individual experience with my work, and those experiences vary, but the best-case scenario is that I’m what they need at that moment, and I achieve that by giving my best. But there’s no such thing as being the best of anything, so I’m not chasing it.”
Article written in partnership with Luke Lintz