• Welcome! This is a forum for anyone who is affected by a fear of the dentist, dental phobia, or specific dental fears.

    We are lucky to count a number of dentists among our members and moderators. Look out for the "Verified dentist" badges. If you are a dental professional who likes to help, please join our community!

    Register now to access many more features and forums!

How do you address your dentist?

K

kitty

Member
Joined
May 30, 2006
Messages
77
On the day I first met him, my dentist came in and said, "Hi, I'm Alex". I think that was an invitation for me to call him by his first name. I just have not been able to do so to his face. I call him Dr. ----- (last name). But when talking about him with others, I refer to him as Alex. One of these days I'm sure I will slip and call him Alex. I'm in there every few weeks. I doubt he will mind.
 
J

jeanc200358

Guest
Nat, my personal opinion is that it's not a matter of formality, per se, it's a matter of respect. It's not any harder for me to call my doctor by his earned title than it would be for me to call him by his or her first name or a nickname. Again, though, if they ask me to call them by a name other than "Dr. Whatever", then of course I will honor their wishes. But it would be very rude and presumptuous of me (or anyone else, IMO) to assume it's okay to call a doctor by his or her first name. Even doctors typically extend each other professional courtesy (at least in front of patients) and address each other by their title and surname.

I'm not sure what difference it makes whether you're calling them from a distance or standing a foot away from them.

I also don't believe the days of calling a boss Mr. or Ms. or Mrs. Whatever are long gone, either -- at least in my book they're not. (Again, depends on what THEY prefer) BUT, common courtesy, manners and respect doesn't have an expiration date. Unfortunately, though, it seems that that's what many are teaching our children these days.
 
harper

harper

Well-known member
Joined
Apr 28, 2006
Messages
772
Location
west sussex
hi jeanc200358
sorry i have to disagree i call mine by his first name i never used to but that was because i was too scared too speak. it doesnt mean i have less respect for him because i call him c..... rather than dr..... just because hes my dentist we are also really good friends now too. from the very first day i met him the first thing he said was hi im c..... when i go we have a lovely chat he always asks me how iam what ive been doing and usually if we watched the grand prix! i would feel uncomfortable calling him dr.... i have the upmost respect for him hes helped me feel so much better about myself he calls me amanda and i call him his first name. there is another very good reason and thats his dutch surname is well lets say hard to pronounce :D
 
brit

brit

Super Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Mar 23, 2006
Messages
6,963
Location
In My Dental Happy Place
jeanc200358 said:
I'm not sure what difference it makes whether you're calling them from a distance or standing a foot away from them.
It makes a lot of difference. I have never ever called a Doctor of any kind, 'Doctor' you just never need to...there is no need to pepper your speech with constant references to the name/title of the person you are adjacent to. In writing it is another matter,then it is respectful, I agree, unless you are on first name terms.

Quote from Jeanc.....I also don't believe the days of calling a boss "Mr. or Ms. or Mrs. Whatever" are long gone, either -- at least in my book they're not. (Again, depends on what THEY prefer) BUT, common courtesy, manners and respect doesn't have an expiration date. Unfortunately, though, it seems that that's what many are teaching our children these days.

In the UK, I can assure you formality at work is long gone - using first names is part of Team work! My husband and I have both worked for multinational companies - the idea of using formal titles is just ludicrous. He has a Phd - never uses the title.

Still everyone should just do what they are comfortable with of course.
Brit
 
J

jeanc200358

Guest
Well, I won't disagree that they're "long gone", what I'm saying is that it shouldn't be. What's so "ludicrous" about extending someone a bit of respect? If I worked and studied hard upwards of 12 years to earn a doctorate, I'd well expect someone to respectfully address me by that title. However, as I mentioned (more than once, I might add), how you address someone depends entirely upon how THEY want to be addressed. For me, however, until the time comes that I know that, I will respectfully address those who have earned that disctinction with their earned title. I can't see how anyone can possibly go wrong by showing someone respect.
 
harper

harper

Well-known member
Joined
Apr 28, 2006
Messages
772
Location
west sussex
i have a GREAT relationship with c and have loads of respect for him . ive no doubt he worked very hard at uni the ten yrs he was there but it doesnt mean that they are better than their pateints we all desserve respect if we did ten yrs studying or like me suffered bullying at school .what i dont understand is are you saying if we call them by there first name we arent showing them respect?
 
J

jeanc200358

Guest
What I am saying is it's presumptuous to think it's "okay" to call a doctor by his/her first name until or unless they give you the go-ahead to do otherwise.

If they PREFER to be called "Joe" or "Jane" for example, or "Doc" or whatever, that's one thing. And I don't think that extending someone the courtesy of addressing them in a respectful manner is in any way, shape, form or fashion suggesting that they are "better" than you.

It's a simple matter of courtesy and respect. I find it interesting that people seem to have a problem that I prefer to treat people with at least enough respect to address them by their earned titles.

Do people in England walk up to the Queen and say, "Hey, Liz! Wassssssssuuuupp, my main Majesty?"

;-)
 
J

jeanc200358

Guest
P.S. I'd even address George Bush as "Mr. President", although I'd be gritting my teeth while doing so. ;-)
 
brit

brit

Super Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Mar 23, 2006
Messages
6,963
Location
In My Dental Happy Place
jeanc200358 said:
What I am saying is it's presumptuous to think it's "okay" to call a doctor by his/her first name until or unless they give you the go-ahead to do otherwise.
Yes, it probably would be a bit presumptious but as I said, I am not actually doing that ....I repeat I never have to call them anything. You can greet someone without using their name or title. You can thank someone without using their name or title.

However when dentists have chatty 'first name' informal websites, their staff all refer to 'your appt with Chris next week', when they introduce themselves with their full name but no title.....sign off their e-mails with no title, I think you are probably on safe ground to be a bit presumptuous, if you are the kind of person who likes to throw names about in conversation.

Saying Dr at the end of every sentence would be like 'forelock tugging' or 'doffing your cap' and implying you are somehow an *inferior human being when in fact you are the 'paying customer'- so they should ideally go along with what you the patient/customer is comfortable with - especially for phobic patients.

As well as being an 'age' thing - I think some cultural differences are coming into play here. My sister briefly had an American boyfriend in England, who insisted on calling my father 'Sir' and my Mum 'Maam' as in 'Yes Maam' at the end of every sentence. My parents thought this was quaint to say the least and quickly persuaded him to desist. *

The other cultural difference is that traditionally dentists in the UK have not had the title Dr. As Dental Surgeons , they have been Mr/Mrs/Miss xxxx BDS or whatever. *We don't even really think of them as 'doctors' they are kind of a breed apart.

Do people in England walk up to the Queen and say, "Hey, Liz! Wassssssssuuuupp, my main Majesty?"

In general no, but probably only because she might have them thrown in the Tower of London if they did!!! *;). Please don't get me started on people who are born to their lofty positions....


All the best
Brit
 
Last edited:
J

jeanc200358

Guest
Yes, it probably would be a bit presumptious but as I said, I am not actually doing that ....I repeat I never have to call them anything. You can greet someone without using their name or title. You can thank someone without using their name or title.
Brit, my posts/opinion on the subject were not meant for you specifically. I never said anything about addressing them as "Dr." at the end of every sentence, either. That would be as ludicrous as calling anyone by their name or title at the end of every sentence would be.

I also didn't say you had to greet them every time by using their title, either, or using their title each and every time you speak to them. I'm just saying, for me, I think it's a matter of respect to address a doctor by "Doctor" until or unless he/she requests otherwise. This goes for anyone who has earned a doctorate, regardless of what profession/distinction it is.

Again, it has nothing to do with me thinking they are better than me. I show them respect as a human being because they are EQUAL to me, not BETTER. I don't like it when some people presume it's okay to call me by my first name either, if they don't know me well enough to do so. It's a matter of respect. The only dentist I ever called by his first name I was also sleeping with, and oftentimes I called him by other names as well. But that's another story altogether.

:cheers:
 
harper

harper

Well-known member
Joined
Apr 28, 2006
Messages
772
Location
west sussex
people in england dont usually get close enough to the queen to speak to her!
i actually think that it would be worse to call mine dr.... because i cant pronounce it and i hate it when people get my surname wrong and mines easy to pronounce
i dont have a prob that you prefer to treat people with at least enough respect to address them by their earned titles. i have a problem with that it sounds like your saying i or others on here dont respect him because i call him c...... rather than his title . i respect and trust him with my life he has helped me SO SO MUCH and we are great friends. i went to see him and he spoke with me for over 2hrs making sure i was okay .its taken me all afternoon to write this because i dont want to put the wrong thing and offend you, but i will say i told c that i wanted to see him as a friend rather than the dentist and he said we are friends amanda!
 
J

jeanc200358

Guest
If you're taking it that way, I cannot help that, because I never implied that. I said over and over again that if the doctor prefers you address him or her by a name other than "Dr. (Whatever)", then of course it would be okay to do so.

I'm speakng of generalities here, not of individualized situations in which a person may actually be on a first-name basis with their doctor, either because they are friends or business/social acquaintences or what have you.

I'm talking about just extending someone the courtesy of addressing them by their title until they give you the go-ahead to address them otherwise. For example, I wouldn't look up up "Dr. William Smith" in the phone book and say, "Hey, is Bill around, by any chance?"

I'm not sure how I can put it more succinctly. Sorry.
 
brit

brit

Super Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Mar 23, 2006
Messages
6,963
Location
In My Dental Happy Place
jeanc200358 said:
The only dentist I ever called by his first name I was also sleeping with, and oftentimes I called him by other names as well. But that's another story altogether.

:cheers:
Hey tell us more ;) - is that why you are anxious/phobic? The best I can manage is 'going out with a dentist's son!' - I'm willing to bet, no one else who posts on here has 'slept with a dentist'.
 
J

jeanc200358

Guest
LOL..no, I've mentioned that I have a panic reaction to lidocaine.

The reason I slept with him was cuz he was my boyfriend. I didn't pay my dental bill that way, if that's what yer thinkin'! lol

:jump:
 
J

jeanc200358

Guest
P.S. And he wasn't my dentist, either. During the time we were seeing each other, he was a professor at a dental school, the same dental school, in fact, where I just had my oral surgery done. (But he left there and moved to Texas some 10, 15 years ago.)

:)
 
B

BabySteps

Member
Joined
Jun 28, 2006
Messages
28
The only doctors I call by their first names are my brother (LOL not a dentist though) and my friends husband who IS a dentist. It took over a year before he said calling him Dr. "G" was nuts as our children sleep over their house and his kids at ours too. So, I too waited for the go ahead to call him by his first name also.
 
brit

brit

Super Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Mar 23, 2006
Messages
6,963
Location
In My Dental Happy Place
BabySteps said:
........my friends husband who IS a dentist. It took over a year before he said calling him Dr. "G" was nuts as our children sleep over their house and his kids at ours too. So, I too waited for the go ahead to call him by his first name also.
If he wasn't YOUR dentist, then I really don't understand that at all. Your phobia getting in the way maybe?
 
B

BabySteps

Member
Joined
Jun 28, 2006
Messages
28
No, I was calling him "Dr" out of respect. I didn't even call my neighbors by their first names until we got to know each other & went on a first name basis. I guess it was just how I was brought up. Some of my parents friends are still Mr and Mrs to me. It's not a dental issue but a title issue.

My current dentist is "Dr. M..." which is her first name. That is how she introduces herself so that is how I address her.
 
F

freakout

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 26, 2005
Messages
1,719
It's funny here in the US doctors and dentists are always referred to as "Dr.". But thinking back to my first appointment, the dentist introduced himself using his first and last name, without Dr. in front of it. I think it was, because my sister used to work for him. I have heard him introduce himself to other patients as "Dr. ...". I have never actually had to address him. He usually comes in the room, asking me how I am using my name, and I just say Hi and reply.

I used to work for doctors and never used thier first name. Like many have said...it is a respect issue. Even when I didn't have alot of respect for them as a boss, it was always "DR. bad name" lol.
 
brit

brit

Super Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Mar 23, 2006
Messages
6,963
Location
In My Dental Happy Place
Oh well, I'll just have to conclude that some Americans are much more formal than I ever imagined.....you learn something everyday as they say.

So can I just query something....my parents ran a tennis club for years as volunteers - and everyone from whatever walk of life...doctor, dentist, solicitor, office worker etc, teacher etc were all just known to each other by their Christian names and were addressed in that way by all the children at the Club too. One of the members was one of my teachers - we were on first name terms outside school - would that just not happen in your neck of the woods? I'm talking over 30 years ago too.

To me as soon as something is on a social footing, the equality of the relationship is apparent and not interacting on first name terms would come across as very unfriendly.

I find it strange because it flies in the face of my impression of Americans as very open and friendly, willing to talk to strangers etc.

Not got much to do with dental phobia this - so I'll try to make this my last post on the subject!
 
Top