The Ickiest Things You Can Do at the Dentist

Putting Your Finger Inside Your Mouth

It always hits me with surprise how clueless people are about transmission of infections. In the middle of the treatment they might show with their finger which tooth feels sensitive. That’s when I say Eew in my mind. Why would you put your finger inside your mouth? And it’s always the index finger which we use to operate our smart (and dirty) phones and push the elevator button (I don’t actually, I use the proximal interphalangeal joint (PIP) of index finger because of my fear of bacteria – read more about it here) that gazillion people have pushed before you with their dirty index finger. Some even do grosser things with their index finger.

So please, do not put your finger inside your mouth. Your tongue is able to do the job instead.

Carrying Your Toothbrush Without Cover

Some people are obsessed about brushing their teeth prior the dental visit. They might do it at the practice’s toilet just before they come in to the surgery. No problem with that, but when you walk in to the surgery with the toothbrush, your car keys and wallet in your hands and place them on our office desk, that’s when we go Eew again. Especially if the toothbrush doesn’t have any travel case. We don’t wipe all the practice’s surfaces after each patient, so there will be germs on the table surface where you leave your stuff. And where are you going to put it when you get back to your car?

Equally gross thing is to put your toothbrush inside your handbag without travel case. But at least then we are not able to see it.

“Sucking the Sucker”

By far the ickiest thing to my mind are the patients who close their lips around the saliva ejector or the high volume suction. I was horrified for the first time it happened with my patient. To be fair, it’s not their fault. They do this probably because some of the dental professional advise patients to do so. Honestly, fellow dental professionals, do your research and stop advising to close the mouth when the suction is inside the mouth.

Why?

It’s because of the backflow of bacteria and viruses. When patients close their mouth and form a seal around the tip of the saliva ejector, a partial vacuum occurs. That’s when the nasty stuff in the tube of the suction start travelling backwards – blood, viruses, saliva, bacteria, debris. They might travel as far as into the patient’s mouth. If you don’t believe me, read this.

If you are a patient and your dentist or hygienist advises you to close your lips around the suction, don’t do it. You don’t need to. This might of course mean that you need to swallow tiny amount of water, but the water is cleaner (or is it?) than the stuff that comes out from to suction with the backflow.

It is also absolutely your right to ask if they take care of the suction tube cleaning. They should answer you that

Yes, we flush the lines after each patient with clean water (this will take the nasty staff further away) and at the end of the day we flush the tubes with disinfectant. Also once or twice a week we use special cleaner for the suction lines.

Ok, there it was. Three of the ickiest things patients can do at the dentist. Do you know even grosser thing? Feel free to share it on the comment box below. Let’s see if it gets an Eew -reaction.


You might also like

It’s ok to swallow, it’s only water… Or is it?

Are Your Dentist’s Tools Clean?

Have you dropped your dentures in the toilet?

Advertisements

Yet Another Anti-Patient

Dental Revelations Blog-24982

How on earth did I not remember this type of Anti-Patient? I guess it is all coming slowly (but surely) back to me after returning to work.

Before you read any further, it might be good idea to read my post Anti-Patient so you know what I am on about.

Anti-Local Anesthesia

Now, this type of patient is not so uncommon in the dental chair. Let me tell you about the two of the most typical situations I face.

Patient Case I

I am about to start the scaling and root planing and I can tell from the looks of the gum that it is going to be painful. I offer local anesthesia (LA) but the patient declines by saying:

“I once had such a bad experience with LA that I have not taken any since..”

Or

“Oh, I never take any LA, not even when I have a filling done.”

I explain that it will most likely hurt but the patient does not change his mind. Not even when I explain we could use topical LA (I use Oraqix) which would not require needles.

So I begin the treatment. The sonic scaler goes relatively well but when I begin to scale those deep pockets the patient is jumpy (as if somebody was poking his limbs with a needle), turns his head suddenly (exaggeratingly) and is kinda slowly sliding towards my lap as he’s pushing from the handles of the chair.

After I have nearly injured my own finger and patient’s lips for the third time because of the unpredictable motions and after I have three times asked patient not to move his head, I stop the scaling and tell the patient that I won’t be able to carry on unless he keeps the head absolutely still. Because it’s not safe. I offer the LA again and usually at this point they agree.

Patient Case II

The patient (who also just declined LA) keeps still throughout the treatment (scaling) and says she’s fine when I ask her if she’s ok  (multiple times). So naturally I carry on to finish the treatment.

Once the patient gets up from the chair she does not look happy and says

“It hurt a lot.”

Or

“Oh I hate having this done.”

Or

“It’s never hurt before.”

Soooo annoying! Did I or did I not offer you LA? Of course it hurts if you decline LA when it is recommended. And why would you say you are fine when you are not?

What is the most annoying in all this is that she will go and tell ten of her mates how horrible experience it is to have the teeth cleaned. Simple marketing rule – bad experiences you tell to ten people, good experiences to one. So unfair!

Waste Not Want Not

aiezz8Gi4

Is there something in dentistry that could be recycled?

I have had this great idea for ages and I just realised this blog would be just perfect channel to get it out in the open.

I am into recycling and saving our planet in my personal life and because of this it is sometimes hard to work in a profession that produces lots of waste every day. Waste that we do not sort in any way (well clinical waste and domestic waste in UK but that’s not really sorting in the matter of recycling). 

It has forced me to think that could dentistry be more sustainable? 

Don’t be alarmed. I’m not going to suggest that we start to wash our gloves and saliva ejectors.

Expensive Business

Materials and equipment are very expensive in dentistry. Sometimes we order equipment that for one reason or another lays in the storage shelf nearly unused.

Sometimes we use only half a pack of costly composite filling material before we order a new one – the one that just came out in the market and is supposed to be better than the previous ones. The old half-a-pack composite filling material stays in the shelf until it is out of date and is thrown away eventually.

That is just one example. Let me tell you another one. Somebody in my current workplace thought it would be a good idea to buy the EMS Air-Flow S1 for soda whitening. Then she changed jobs and the brand new Air-Flow was forgotten. The two hygienists and four dentists in the practice did not think there was any benefit of using the Air-Flow. Money wasted.

One more. The root canal files. Our practice has so many unused packages of root canal files that no-one uses. Perhaps because of the Wave-One that is easier and more user-friendly than traditional files. But I’m sure there is somebody that still uses these traditional files? 

THE Grand Idea

Could these unwanted materials and equipments be sold second-hand to the practises who need them? The price would be lower of course than when buying new ones.

I think they could. It would need a website for sure. Some kind of dental online flea-market. And if it was global it would be even better. But then again it’s not about saving our planet because of the carbon footprint. So let’s do it locally so that we will maintain our humble idea of recycling (but I still want my share of the advertisement income the website will have because of its popularity).