Patients freak out over TV shows and media reports

Recently Dr. Oz did a story about dental amalgam and while I haven’t watched the episode many dental patients have. Like half the dentists in North America I still use mercury fillings in situations where conditions are harsh―poor oral hygiene, acid reflux, and with tight budgets. It would be irritating to have to replace some recent restorations if a patient freaked out over a TV show.

Then an oral surgeon somewhere in the U.S. gets caught with sloppy sterilization protocols. The media goes wild again. Dental assistants go into hiding and patients line up in the rain for free Hepatitis and AIDS testing. You do have to run a tight ship these days and the dental associations are trusting dentists and the staff to do what is right.

Even in the best situations there are going to be flaws in the system. Our staff use the word ‘dirty’ as in this room is ‘dirty’ or ‘wiped down’. While it irritates me, I’ve never suggested changing terms. An office that caters to groups of people with higher disease rates will become a carrier, for example hospitals kill as many people as they save.

Ask your staff if they see anything that needs to be improved. ‘Looking clean’ can be almost important as sterilization protocols.