Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Top Ten Things You Should Never Say to a Dentist

Number 10: My face was swollen a few weeks/months ago, but it went away, so I didn’t do anything about it.
            Infections of the head and neck can kill you. Death is bad. That swelling was your body’s way of telling you that something is wrong. Your immune system was able to get the infection under control, or you took some of the antibiotics that you found left over in the medicine chest. The next time the swelling occurs it will be worse, a whole lot worse. These are the kind of swellings that we see every day. The next infection can block off your airway or require a nice stay at Hotel du Hospital.

Number 9: I’m only coming to you because you take my insurance.
            Thanks. I can feel the confidence from over here. Your insurance does not care about your health and well being, I do. You must be confident in the doctor you have chosen. Do your research. Ask friends and family. Do not go off the insurance website.

Number 8: I’m not having that treatment done because a friend of my sister (insert relationship here) had that done and it didn’t work (insert caused pain, disfigurement, or death).
            It is always an unknown entity that has had the failed treatment. I have heard this excuse hundreds of times. It used to be related to root canal therapy, now it is usually toward dental implants. I love this excuse because dental implants are still a rare occurrence in this country. The chances that someone you know knows someone that had this done are slim to none. They aren’t trying to lie to you, they are just plain confused or misled. Trust me, it never happened. How do I know? I have placed over 3,000 dental implants. I have had no cases of death and disfigurement. I have had implants fail, as one would expect, but the end result was a happy patient with a chewing tooth.

Number 7: Do I really need that filling (insert whatever you need)?
            Again, thanks for the vote of confidence. I would never tell my patient that they needed something that wasn’t true. If you question what your dentist is telling you then get a second opinion. No harm, no foul. In my practice I urge my patients to get second opinions. We give them all the information necessary to do that including x-rays, photos, models, as well as a written description of the service recommended.

Number 6: My tooth only hurts when I do this. As long as I don’t do that, my tooth is fine. That is why I didn’t come in sooner.
            You may have caused harm by delaying your treatment. The initial discomfort was your body’s way of telling you that something isn’t quite right. Your teeth cannot heal themselves. No amount of over the counter toothpastes, rinses, or medication can reverse what is going on. You cannot reverse even the smallest cavity. I don’t care what the actor on television told you.

Number 5: I’m only coming to you because my dentist didn’t have an appointment available to treat my emergency.
            Find a new dentist. There is nothing worse than a toothache. If your dentist cannot be bothered to make time in their day for you then they are not the right fit for you, or anyone. It is our promise to all the people in our local community that we are there to serve them. That is my job. If your dentist does not feel the same, then why go there.

Number 4: When you are done looking at my child’s problem, can you check out my teeth?
            If you have a problem then make an appointment for yourself. My concentration will be on why your child is here today. I will not stop what I am doing and browse the contents of your mouth. Sorry.

Number 3: You charged my insurance company for a one minute visit?
            We must document every visit to your insurance company. It is in our contract with them. Every encounter helps to draw a picture regarding your treatment. The insurance company uses the information to keep tabs on the doctors. Many small visits, quick checks or updates to treatment, will go unpaid by your insurance company. Every office has its own policies whether to write off the amount you are told you owe by your insurance company. Don’t forget that even a quick appointment takes fifteen to twenty minutes to clean and disinfect the room. Some offices feel the need to charge for these quick visits. We feel that most quick visits are related to ongoing treatment and will not charge for them.

Number 2: I didn’t want to bother you over the weekend, but…
            That is my job. I don’t really want to be bothered on the weekend, but my family understands that emergencies happen. I am here to serve my local community. There is an exception…do not call me and tell me that the tooth broke last week/month/year, but you couldn’t find the time to get in.

Number 1: I hate you.
            Why would you ever say that to anyone? I hear it two to three times a day. It is not funny or poignant. I am here to serve you and you came to me. I am about to have some very sharp instruments near very delicate structures. Respect what the dentist does for you and we’ll all get along just fine.

A Family Dental Care Center: Dr. Seth Rosen
2030 West Main St
Norristown, PA 19403