Charlotte Smiled... ramblings of a dental hygienist that never sits still.
Charlotte Smiled... ramblings of a dental hygienist that never sits still.
I've been a dental hygienist for twenty years...with quite a few side gigs. All of those hustles came from a genuine curiosity about the world around me and a fascination with people and technology. #YOLO

A patient walks in the front door late... The Conclusion

1/18/2014 8:11:28 PM   |   Comments: 2   |   Views: 51576
THE PROBLEM Click here for part I

Now keep in mind we are creeping up to a half hour past this patient's appointment time.  Although I appreciated the phone call to let us know he would be late, I also was keenly aware that in order to clean his teeth, I would be in a rush.  His lack of an apology and presence of a sandwich had the most negative effect on my temper.  As you can imagine, the thought bubbles were loud at this point.  

Glancing at the printed schedule taped to the light switch, I didn't see how x-rays, medical history updating, full mouth periodontal probing AND a cleaning were supposed to happen and I knew he was a tartar builder.  Oh, did I mention he'd been away from the office for quite some time? When the words "But you're going to clean them" came out of his mouth, I was really perturbed for a millisecond but I soon realized by the innocent look on his face that he didn't mean disrespect.  I somehow understood that he really thought a cleaning was just a cleaning.  (I still wanted to gag at the thought of removing suction-clogging bread and meat pieces)


I suggested we take advantage of the time we had by getting a full set of x-rays and completing an exam with the doctor.  That way we could come up with a treatment plan for any work that might need to be done. I also pointed out that although I could try to hurry through a cleaning only, I didn't feel that was fair to either of us.  While I took the X-rays, we had a nice discussion of how brushing one's teeth benefitted all of us.

As dental health specialists, I truly believe we need to stay patient focused.  The risk for oversights and left over calculus didn't make sense and even though this patient was a little annoyed he had to come back, chances are he will better understand the value of visits with the hygienist in the future.  

As it turns out, he did have a couple minor restorations that needed to be done, so a return visit killed two birds with one stone and still turned out to be more profitable for the practice!

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