Of course, commonly all the emphasis is on how much you do or do not like your dentist. Moreover every dentist usually tries really hard to be liked. It’s not just good for business but it makes for a much nicer day!
So think about this …… you may need and / or want dental care. It’s true, most people would rather spend time other than lying on a dental chair, with their mouths open having treatment. Like very many, you may even be quite (or even ‘very’) anxious about dental treatment. So does it not perhaps make sense to have the dentist (and his / her staff) be relaxed about seeing you, feel that what they do is appreciated (and not just paid for), actually look forward to seeing you?
So you may be interested to know what makes dentists feel unhappy / anxious/ uncomfortable about treating some patients.
I read the following in an American dental magazine. It’s interesting.
1) The first thing you say “Nothing personal, but I hate the dentist!“. Funny thing, when I hear that directed towards me, I don’t feel that’s exactly a great start to a beautiful relationship.
2) You come in with a ‘less than clean’ mouth. That’s inconsiderate and discourteous. Dentists do not enjoy working in dirty mouths, so perhaps the least you can do is do your best to scrub those teeth as best you can at least a few days before your appointment.
3) I have spent time and care concentrating on your dental care and you always comment about the fee. No matter what I do, you make it clear that it feels excessive to you. What do I feel like saying? “Well then perhaps you should go somewhere cheaper?”
4) You say “The tooth didn’t hurt until you started treating it“ not really hearing any explanation I give you as to ‘why’ it may be hurting you now. Does it help you to put me ‘on the defensive’?
5) You grimace and ‘protectively’ close your lips before I even start … in anticipation! Your tongue gets in the way of wherever I am working in your mouth; you keep moving your head or jaw; you won’t open wide enough. Does that make it easier for me to treat you? Are you so anxious that that you can’t exercise that bit of self control to make it a bit easier for us ? I end up thinking that I wish I was treating you under general anaesthetic or even not at all!
6) You complain about having an x-ray or x-rays … the radiation you get nowadays is pretty minimal … you may get more from your TV (depending how much you watch it!).
7) You say you want to continue with treatment, but you don’t have your diary to make the next appointment. So you tell the receptionist you will phone her when you get back to the office. You don’t; she tries to call you and then for the next few weeks ‘can’t get through’. What should we make of that? Or, you keep cancelling appointments … something else always ‘comes up’ that is more important. Most dentists have heard so many excuses from patients, they can no longer differentiate between what is like to be true or not!
8) You have booked yourself in for extensive treatment and then in the last moment you say: “ Well actually all I want right now is to have my teeth cleaned”. We have scheduled two hours for you which you now decide you only want ½ hour.
9) Along the same lines you cancel that long two hour appointment the day before, telling the secretary “but I am giving you 24 hours’ notice”. Do you think we can ‘last minute’ fill that length of time with so little notice?
If none of the above applies to you then your dentist loves you! You will sense that and you are most likely to receive the very best care and attention he or she can give you … believe me!
It’s really simple … “do unto others as you would want them to do unto you”. Dentists are human (obviously). They get tired, they get frustrated and, yes, they do have egos (some quite sensitive)… don’t we all? They enjoy doing work that is appreciated and they can be proud of.
Finally , surgeons may be involved in ‘bigger stuff’, often saving lives even … but they work on you while you are under a general anaesthetic. Dentists have to work while you are fully conscious; sometime overly so. It’s not easy!