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Can I avoid a certain hygienist? Looking for advice



Well-known member
Jul 9, 2022
I had an experience just about a month ago that I didn't like with a hygienist at my dentist. This was my first cleaning after switching to this office. Ever since then, I have been troubled by fear and worry I would have to see this hygienist again. At the appoinment since she was making my next appointment, so I felt pressured to request it would be with her. I regretted this badly, so contacted the office and said I needed to change the appointment to another date and time, and requested a different hygienist whose name I knew. I thought the staff thought it was odd, especially since I had never seen the person I requested, but felt like I couldn't say the truth, that I just didn't want that person again. What can I do to avoid this person? Could I be assigned to her somehow, now, because I saw her or requested her once, so I will be forced to see her again? What can I say to the dental office to avoid her that won't be rude? I don't have that much experience with dentists offices because I first went to one in 2016 after not going for 19 years, and also skipped 2019 and 2020, so I feel like I don't know how to interact with them well. Any input would be appreciated!

Description of the appointment I was uncomfortable with here:
You should be able to request a certain hygienist and say you don’t want to see that specific hygienist without it being a big deal. If a dental office tries to tell you can’t, they’re lying.

You’re the customer, you’re paying them for their services, and that includes with what you’re comfortable with. You aren’t comfortable with that hygienist, you would like a new one. End of story. Full stop.

It always feels awkward at a dental office to advocate for yourself because there’s a power imbalance.
It’s especially vulnerable for us, the patients. We often feel like we have to go along with whatever the dental office says because they make it sound like their word is law.

My advice is to just push through the awkward and advocate for yourself. Don’t think about what they think about it, think about how you’re doing this for you.

You also don’t have to explain any more than you want to. “I would like to request to see a different hygienist please for all future cleanings.” is a sentence. It does not require more if you don’t want to give it. If they ask and you’re not comfortable telling them, say so.

They should be understanding of that.

Good luck and I hope it works out for you!
Excellent advice from @APhobicQueen !

It's a bit like a hair salon - if you don't like the first hairdresser you're allocated (either because of the haircut you got or because you just didn't click with them), you'll most likely request someone else the next time, until you find a hairdresser you're happy with. And from then on in, you'll schedule your appointments with them. Yes, it may be a little awkward to request someone else, but it's commonly done, and they're well used to it!

It might be a good idea to let the front desk staff know that you'd like to see a different hygienist for all future cleanings, just to ensure you don't get switched because they're unaware of your preferences. The wording @PhobicQueen suggested is great. You could just copy and paste it into an email to them :)
Thanks for the advice, and explanations, that is very useful! I wish I had done this from the start. I feel like since I got shy and awkward I just made things worse by not being straight up about never wanting to see that person again.

I will use the script about requesting a different hygienist. I will just have to choose the right time. Since I have to get a dental implant crowned and two more extractions before my next cleaning I should have a chance.

I have had to repeatedly confront this dentist office in uncomfortable, awkward ways, and am having a rough time interacting with them. So far since I switched there this May, I had to call them about a billing overcharge, then repeatedly call them over an insurance error which had caused me to be overcharged a second time. What happened during the appointment with the hygienist that made me uncomfortable with her, also made me so uncomfortable about her diagnosis that I had to request my xrays for a second opinion, so I could get a diagnosis from a dentist too, not just a hygienist. When I requested my xrays, they asked why I wanted the xrays and if I was going somewhere else, which made me uncomfortable so I lied and said no. The other result of the appointment where the dentist didn't talk and the hygienist made a diagnosis and chose the treatment, was I followed Gordon's advice and questioned the dentist about whether he agreed with that diagnosis at an appointment I had with him to get some extractions. I was so frightened I had to use a written script on my phone, the dentist was clearly annoyed with my questions, though I think he was partly at fault for me needing to ask . Another miserable, awkward interaction. I feel like I am having more anxiety interacting with these people than from actually having my teeth worked on, and I keep feeling like I am messing up and can't handle myself, and make it worse.

Your advice is really good though, it must be very normal to not want a certain hygienist, and at some point in there I will request a different one for all future cleanings. Thanks again for that advice. This hygienist was also the roughest I have ever had and caused the roof of my mouth to swell up painfully for more than a week, even though she said my teeth were really really clean, so I don't know why she had to be so rough.