By Dr. Deborah MarynakI called several of my dental friends (Dentists, Hygienists and Assistants alike), asking them to name obstacles to providing excellent care. The list of Professionals I called work in private practice, corporate dentistry, Indian Healthcare, and government assisted programs. Eight Dental Professionals gave me the following list:
1. Filthy Mouths
I agree; goo and blood are real roadblocks to excellent care! I do believe all patients deserve the best care we can give them, but there are limitations. I heard a saying that reminds me of this problem: “when you’re up to your a_s in alligators, it’s difficult to remember your main objective was to drain the swamp.” Author Unknown.
2. An Audience
When a patient needs someone to accompany them into the treatment room, it means we have an audience. I’m of the belief that if parents don’t allow their kids to come back into the operatory alone, then they need another dentist. It’s screaming “I don’t trust you!” I can give the parent the summary of our findings after the appointment. Suppose you’re working in a practice that insists you allow family and friends to come back. Parents can interfere with communication or worse, you’re trying to involve the parent in the home care habits of their child and they’re on their phone! Remember, in that room…you’re in charge!
3. No Sitter
Nothing says the concentration of excellent care like kids running the hallway while you work on Mom. I’ve said it before; once again… we’re not your babysitter!
4. Facial Hair
Absolutely! For some reason when I’ve told men that I’m having trouble seeing because of their mustache, they laugh. I find no humor in trying to fill a disto-lingual on #31 while looking through a clump of hair. There should be no hesitation in insisting a patient trim his facial hair for his safety and yours. What if the handpiece grabbed hair and pulled the bur into their lip? Who’d be laughing then?
This is not meant to be discriminatory in any way, but extremely large people are harder to treat. Their bodies are thicker and getting over the top of them to perform dentistry can be challenging. There’s more tissue in the face of an overweight patient, making retraction of the cheeks and tongue more difficult.
6. He needs a bath!
Believe it or not, there are patients who come in to the office smelling as if they haven’t bathed in a week. Additionally, dirty hair and clothes can create quite a little distraction while trying to complete care. Oh, and if you’re expecting their mouth to be any cleaner…think again.
“The hard times you go through build character, making you a much stronger person.”
– Rita Mero
Dr. Deborah Marynak is the owner of DentalStaffing.org, a dentist with over 30 years experience, and is committed to helping Dental Professionals find the right fit for both employees and employers. She also works with Dental Offices to help them streamline their clinical systems and teach Dental Teams how to effectively document to avoid risk.