- May 10, 2012
This has been really interesting. I don’t think there are a huge number of “bad” dentists around (undoubtedly, some of the stories of botched or unnecessary treatment on this thread prove that there are some) but there are undoubtedly a large number of dentists who are not good with anxious or phobic patients. Even the Tips for Dentists page on this site does have a disclaimer right at the top which says “Firstly I would say, please don’t look to treat nervous patients if it does not genuinely interest you. We all know that for every patient there is the right dentist somewhere. So if you are certain treating very nervous and phobic patients is not for you, please don’t read any further.” My husband’s dentist for example is undoubtedly a “good” and highly skilled dentist. It is clear to me though that this man has no time for anxious patients and is unsure how to deal with people like me. I can only hope that he is not unkind enough to have caused patients to desert him and avoid dental treatment (which is the effect my childhood dentist had on me) but from what I know, my husband is very happy with this practice and the work that has been carried out there even if there is no sense of “relationship” with the dentist. Let’s not forget – a lot of people do prefer it that way also.
I’ve just taken a look around my workplace and with 100% honesty can say that if you were a client coming to our office for assistance, out of the 10 people here, there are 6 that would provide great service and 4 that are permanently grumpy and will either intentionally or not, make life difficult for the client. I would wager that this is indicative of most businesses/industries, sad as it may be, and dentistry is no exception. Thankfully there are great people out there who are effecting change by making it more transparent what patients could and should expect from dentistry. I think any shake-up of the NHS or the dental industry as a whole has to look at a patient-centred approach where communication skills are taught alongside the technical stuff. Do trainee dentists, who may not yet have been let loose on real people, even get told about the impact that even the slightest movement from the patient can have? If so, are they given tips on how to deal with that, to reassure and communicate with the patient? If not I can absolutely understand why this might cause frustration and even uncertainty when dealing with patients.
I wonder if dentistry might benefit from following the Six Sigma approach. I think the standards applied to manufacturing would revolutionize dentistry, or at least make it a much friendlier industry. To be honest, having 6 out of 10 people in your office being actually helpful isn't very good. That's a 40% fail rate. Not meaning to be rude but that to me seems awfully bad. I don't get why offices put up with bad employees. It sounds like your coworkers are kind of difficult to work with!!