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Kevin Henry is the group editorial director for Advanstar Dental Media and has more than 15 years of experience in the dental publications field. He can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Also, you can follow him on Twitter (@kgh23).
There are things that happen in a dental practice that would make The Walking Dead seem like a walk in the park. There are stories that could be told that would make Frankenstein think fire wasn’t so bad. We asked dental team members to tell us the stories that still make them shake their head and cringe â¦ and plenty of them answered. We went back and picked out the 13 that made us do a double-take. Here, we present them for you to read â¦ and hopefully learn from. After all, none of these have ever happened in a dental practice where you’ve worked, right?
We asked each team member to leave all names out of their story and give us the state where they worked. Some are funny. Some are strange. Some are downright disgusting. Here's what they told us...
I worked in a small dental office back in 1992-93 where the dentist did not autoclave the instruments. Everything was cold sterilized. Once I came back from lunch and was advised to take the morning instruments out and prepare the trays with them for the afternoon! Once I tried to use the autoclave but was scolded by the office manager! I worked there three months before moving on.
A lady arrives at the dental office and walks directly at me at the "check in" area to ask a question. Willingly and with a smile, I was very eager to help her until she then puts a tooth (root and all) onto the counter and begins to spin it. It was like she was playing "spin the bottle" with her index finger. I awkwardly stared as she said, "My husband's tooth fell off. Can this be placed back in his mouth?" What!? How?! Really?! She was very serious! I stood explaining how that couldn't possibly happen. She didn't quite believe me, so she picked up her husband's tooth and left. I sprayed CaviCide all over that countertop, door handle, window door, and everything she touched. I went back and wiped down all the areas until I started to laugh and explain to my staring coworkers what had just happened.
I worked for a guy who used to put HVE suction tips in the cold sterile! Ugh! I wanted to die! I always threw them out. He never knew.
We had a hygienist who was explaining to the patient how to properly use his electric toothbrush. He just laughed at her and said he never used it to clean his teeth. He told her he only used it to pleasure himself.
Toothbrushes with coarse pumice were used on heavy plaque/food debris in mouths prior to dental treatment (fillings, crowns, whatever) then rinsed, put in the ultrasonic, then in cold disinfectant, and REUSED!!!! YUCK!!! I was reprimanded for throwing some away. Needless to say, I wasn't there long. There was no way I could be a part of that and sleep at night. The doctor felt he was OK in doing this and was not going to make any changes. I cringe at this memory.
How about a dentist finding old extraction instruments at an antique sale bringing them into the office, then soaking them in ultrasonic sterilizing? Even still rusted, they were used on a patient.
I was scrubbing a huge greasy stain on the carpet and the dentist walked in, laughed at me, and told me I'd never get it out because he'd already tried. I asked him what it was. He told me that he and his partner were having sex in the office and the bottle of lube tipped over.
I filled in for another assistant. She had prepped the room before leaving. Well, when the doctor used the mirror to retract the lip for the injection, we both noticed that the back of the mirror was covered with impression martial. The doctor became angry and I had to dodge the instrument as it came flying across the patient’s head and hit the window behind me.
I worked for a dentist who would give a drunk patient nitrous. He said it was OK. One time, she inhaled a crown and gagged on us. Another time, she puked all over me. I left the practice and I heard she died. Not sure of the real reason, but I have my ideas....
My boss was being divorced and was an emotional mess. He hires a woman who said she was a certified assistant with 15 years experience. She was certified to take X-rays, but was insubordinant, incompetent, sexually provocative with our male patients, unwilling to learn, and rude to the hygienists. Ultimately she whispered to a patient that he should leave the office because the doctor was just trying to get money from him. The doctor finds out and fires her. She files suit with the National Labor Relations Board, who found that she was fired unjustly! OMG! I would have fired her sooner than he did!
I once worked in a pediatric clinic that had a dentist who proudly sported a "No crying" button on his jacket and wore earplugs during procedures. One assistant had to leave the operatory in the middle of a procedure because she didn't want to vomit in front of the crying child. Of course, we assured the parent (who was not allowed in the back) that her kid was well taken care of!
An older guy came in and wanted his niece's dentures to be relined to fit him.
The doctor's mother had come in for dental treatment. The patient had generalized advanced periodontal bone loss. To relax while in the chair, she would place moist 2x2 gauze squares over her eyes and meditate. The doctor asked me to obtain a maxillary preliminary alginate impression. As I removed the impression from the patient's mouth, I realized both maxillary central incisors were now missing. I quickly checked the impression, and to my absolute horror, there were the doctor's mother’s two maxillary central incisors, sitting in the alginate impression!