|Subject: Re: On my soapbox regarding dentists
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Date Posted: 07:49:03 07/18/04 Sun
In reply to:
's message, "Re: On my soapbox regarding dentists" on 16:22:57 07/17/04 Sat
I agree -- showing an interest helps. My doc (recommended by our own DrRick) and his assistant are very friendly and outgoing. They also seem pretty busy and like to get you in and out of the chair as quickly as possible without volunteering a lot of explanation. But when I ask questions, they're very good about answering them.
When I went in for my spacers I had written out a list of questions I wanted to ask, and while I was in the chair I whipped out the list and asked them all. The trick is knowing what questions to ask in the first place, and I wouldn't have had a clue without this web site. I even stumped the assistant once -- asked her if they were going to use Damon speed brackets on me and she'd never heard of them. I took that as a 'no.' I also found out they'll be using elastics but there's no headgear in my future.
I wonder if dentists feel patients aren't interested in all the details. When I go in for my braces, I'm going to let him know that I'm fascinated by the details of what, how, why, etc., and I like knowing what's going on in my face. So I'm hoping to get a play-by-play description as they go. My doc likes to quiz the assistant from time to time too, so maybe it'll be a learning experience for both of us.
>I know what you mean. Luckily, my dentist actually
>talks to me about my teeth after I showed an interest.
>He may not be the best dentist and I seriously
>question his ability and his character at times, he is
>very patient. And his corny jokes are appreciated.
>One of my orthos, however, is always in a rush. At
>first, it made me very frustrated, but I realized it
>was my own fault. I should have stopped him. I was
>extremely pissed off for awhile and made a couple
>posts expressing my frustration, but I really do think
>it's my fault.
>I still won't stop him, though, because he seems to
>busy. But his partner, who I think is awesome, is
>awlays willing to answer my question. I think my main
>ortho kind of set it up that way, so he could spend
>more time doing treatment plans and such, or just to
>relax more. I've no idea, but I definitely know what
>When I first went to the dentist after not going for a
>year or two, my dentist also said he was "watching"
>those teeth that did have a cavity. I thought this was
>hilarious, because it was such a blatant lie. I had
>only been there once, so this must be a technique used
>by a lot of dentists.
>>Granted, a dentist needs to have technical expertise,
>>but I am sick and tired of dentists who are lacking in
>>communication skills. I propose that dental schools
>>train students extensively in (1) how to listen to
>>patients and really hear their concerns (2) how to
>>communicate effectively with patients based on
>>attentive listening and speaking truthfully to a
>>patient(3) how to communicate with empathy and (4) the
>>need to base communication on the patient's best
>>interests, not the dentist's agenda
>>Most dentists I have encountered are poorly skilled in
>>communicating simply and directly. Often, dentists
>>will avoid saying anything, then when it is too late,
>>tell you the awful truth: "Oh, by the way, that tooth
>>we've been concerned about for the past year will have
>>to be extracted--and the one next to it as well."
>>What tooth? The dentist never mentioned any tooth he
>>was watching before. And by early intervention, both
>>could have been saved. I was never informed and never
>>given an option until it was too late. And so it goes.
>>I have always, since my youth, done what the dentist
>>told me to do. Brush, floss, come in for regular
>>visits, etc, etc. I've had lousy luck in choosing
>>dentists who really give a damn about me and my teeth.
>> The dentist I finally switched to after my last
>>fiasco, seems to have a conscience, empathy, and
>>expertise. And my orthodontist, bless her, talked to
>>me for an hour about concerns the periodontist
>>expressed about the approach my ortho was using to my
>>teeth (expander rather than jaw surgery) I've never
>>had a dentist talk to me longer than 18 seconds at a
>>I'm sure there are top-notch dentists, orthodontists,
>>periodontists, and other dental professionals out
>>there, including our forum's Dr Rick, who gives so
>>generously of his time and expertise to us, but I
>>think the Dental Schools need to really push
>>communication skills development in school, before
>>they push the freshly minted dentist out the door.
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