The Pain of the Dentist

I visit every four months. I haven’t had a cavity in ten years, my gums are in good shape, and thanks to the wonders of cosmetic dentistry, I have very straight, white teeth, which my parents couldn’t afford to provide way back when.

Yet, there apparently is no business input into dental office management or experiences.


  • The receptionist doesn’t greet you kindly, simply says, “Okay, take a seat.”
  • The appointment starts slightly late, no one apologizes or acknowledges it.
  • There is no music in the room.
  • The hygienist berates you about your dental regimen. In fact, I’ve never met a hygienist who wasn’t a zealot. They are unhappy with you if you’re not devoting 90 percent of your waking hours to examining your teeth, cleaning your teeth, and then thinking about your teeth.
  • You don’t get to see the dentist. It’s the cleaning and that’s that. You feel like a horse, really.
  • Speaking of which, in a high tech age, the hygienist noisily and manually scrapes gunk off of teeth with a primitive metal instrument.
  • Most hygienists choose to use your chest as a work bench, and place their primitive instruments there.
  • Your mouth is never irrigated properly, so you swallow some gunk or feel like you’re being water-boarded.
  • The receptionist never has change. How can a business that can be paid in cash not have change? She makes no apologies. Of course, by forcing clients to make a credit card purchase, the dentist is encouraging about 3 percent in fees which are right of the bottom line. (She has a worn, white envelope that is empty—that’s their fiscal management system.)
  • Many dentists advertise by showing their exam rooms, chairs, and instruments, when they should be showing their patients’ smiles and/or happy lives.
  • The staff never gets the follow-up right for the next appointment.

Note: Dentists have the third highest rate of suicide among all professions according to Business Insider. It’s a wonder their patients don’t.

3 thoughts on “The Pain of the Dentist

  1. You need a new dentist. Those primitive metal hygiene instruments are unnecessarily painful and slow compared to the ultrasonic vibrating piks in use today, if you can stand the irritating fingernails-on-blackboard screeching.

  2. Get a new dentist. My dentist is under 40, came out of Army dentristry, bought my old dentist’s office and completely modernized. None of what you describe happens with this office, although some of your experience did happen with my old dentist, who retired.

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