DMD Check-Up: Booze for Nervous Dental Patients?


Would you ever offer patients at your practice booze to settle their nerves? The Texas legislature is weighing a bill that would ban all healthcare providers from doing so in the state. Apparently, dentists are offering patients booze elsewhere, too. Additionally, in a rather bizarre story, a Washington state-based dentist is accused of drawing a gun on a man in his practice’s parking lot.

It was an interesting week in the world of dentistry, to say the least. A Texas news report indicates that dentists may be taking an unorthodox approach to calming the frazzled nerves of patients. And one Washington state-based dentist allegedly drew a gun on a man in his practice’s parking lot, then proceeded to tell responding officers that he was a trained Navy SEAL and Delta Force soldier. Read on!


It can be difficult dealing with anxious patients. But would you offer them a drink to help settle their nerves? This may be a growing trend in dentistry, according to Dallas News, the web home of the Dallas Morning News.

The news outlet this week reported on pending legislation that would ban all clinicians, not just patients, from giving booze to patients, hitting them with penalties if they do pour one out.

Drinks at the dentist's office? Texas bill takes aim at boozy trend in medicine @SabriyaRice

— Dallas Morning News (@dallasnews) March 10, 2017

Apparently, the practice is not without precedence. Medical Daily reported on a New York Practice that plied patients with wine and cheese back in 2014. A Houston dentist also grabbed headlines in 2011 for offering patients wine or beer in the waiting room.

“There’s nothing in the code that prevents you from doing this, but I think it’s a line that we can’t cross,” said the bill’s sponsor, Sen. Lois Kolkhorst (R-Brenham), in Dallas News’ report.

Dallas News says that the Texas Dental Association is on board with the bill. The website quotes Matthew Roberts, D.D.S., the association’s chair, as saying, “Patient safety must always be first and foremost.”

Using booze as a sedative is not without precedent in the history of dentistry — but you have to go pretty far back to find it. Edgar R.R. “Painless” Parker used a combination of whiskey and cocaine for a sedative and analgesic, respectively. The Kornberg School of Dentistry’s Historical Dental Museum Collection features much information on Parker’s controversial history.

What are your thoughts, on the issue, Doctor? Please email me and let me know, and perhaps we can feature your opinion on Dentist’s Money Digest®. Or, better yet, if you happen to be based in New Jersey and would like to discuss the matter over a craft beer or fine bourbon/rye, let me know! (Outside of the office, of course.)


A New Orleans-based food writer came up with this entertaining read on insights gleaned from conversations in his dentist’s operatory.

Ian McNulty, a writer for WWNO, a New Orleans Public Radio station, writes about how his dentist has taught him about the dangers that fly under the radar. Most patients know by now that they should go easy on the sweets. But seasonal changes in New Orleans also affect residents’ diets.

Where Y'Eat: New Orleans Food Seasons, from the Dentist's Chair

— Dentist Tweets/News (@DentistsTweet) March 9, 2017

Soon, it will be oyster season in Louisana, McNulty writes. Tiny pearls and debris in those delecitble bivalves can crack teeth. The same can be said for the bits of crab shell that make their way into bisques, or directly into our mouths. And with the approach of hunting season comes the added risk of chomping down on a shotgun pellet.

Wisdom worth imparting to your more outdoorsy patients?


In a bizarre story out of Washington state, a dentist has been charged with drawing a gun and aiming at a man in his practice’s parking lot.

KIRO7, a TV station in Seattle, reports that Thomas H. Seal, D.D.S., a general dentist in Kirkland, Washington, has been charged with second-degree assault in the incident. Authorities say Seal pointed a gun with a laser sight at a man in his practice’s parking lot after hearing noise coming from the lot, KIRO7 reports. The man told police that he knew he was in Seal’s sights because he saw the red laser light on his chest and face.

When a #Kirkland dentist who allegedly aimed a gun with a laser pointer at another man is due back in court, next >>

— KIRO 7 (@KIRO7Seattle) March 9, 2017

The man called 911, and that’s when things apparently got really weird. Seal allegedly told police the laser light actually came from a laser pointer, which he handed over to the responding officers, KIRO7 reports. However, that laser pointer had no batteries, and when the police searched the practice, they found a handgun with a laser.

KIRO7 reports, Seal allegedly told the police that he had received Navy SEAL and Delta Force training, and that he was currently employed by a government agency, though he would not say which one. “Then he told police that he ‘knew how to kill someone very easily,’” KIRO7 reports.

Seal declined comment to the news organization.

Got a news tip? See something you’d like to have included in the DMD Check-Up? Email Dentist’s Money Digest managing editor Joe Hannan:

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