Have You Hugged Your Dentist Lately?



Do you like to go to the dentist? Once you make an appointment and get it on your calendar, does it stick out like a countdown to a jury verdict. Making the appointment to the chair and getting in the chair are not high on most people's make it fun list, but in the spirit of my motto, Make it fun and it will get done! we can try to stay cheerful through the process, twice a year.

After a recent appointment, I got an email from my dentist with a questionnaire attached. I’d gone in to get my teeth cleaned and it seems they wanted to know how they had done. I answered the various questions with a rating system that gave me a range of choices from excellent to lousy and I rated my dentist and his staff in the excellent range.

However, I did have a problem with the email itself. The cover note said, “Hello, we had Pam in our office for a check-up and we’d like to know how we did.” Who were they writing too? My mom? The health advisor at the old age home? It made me mad. I don’t like people who speak in the first person and this almost made me want to write, “Pam thinks you did just fine.”

At the end of the questionnaire there was a place for me to expand my thoughts, something every writer loves to do. I took the opportunity to expound on an issue I had with the receptionist of another dentist in my past. She was way too friendly! When you’re going to the dentist to have a tooth pulled or a root canal, you don’t need to be greeted by a perky, cheerleader type like your checking into some resort on vacation.

“Hi there doll, how are you today?”

“Just peachy.” I was there to get a root canal.”

“GREAT. What’s your name?”

“Pam Young.”

“Okay, GREAT Pam! Doctor will see you in just a few minutes. Like your shoes!”

I think it’s tricky being a dental receptionist. She shouldn’t be too friendly or too gloomy. She needs to be somewhere in the middle, between welcoming a tourist to Disneyland and welcoming a griever to a funeral home.

I read some time ago that dentists have the highest suicide rate of any profession. Think about it, they spend most of their time staring into someone's mouth, with little else to do in their job. Despite earning a lot of money, this must not make up for the little job satisfaction.

It made me stop and think about my dentist, bless his heart. It struck me that I need to be receptionist friendly and kinder than I’ve been to him in the past. I’m really glad there is someone who is willing to look into my mouth and get spit all over him. The last time I went in, there was a photo of my mouth up on the computer screen by the chair I was put in. It grossed me out! How would you like to spend most of your days pushing a big tongue out of the way, drilling and chiseling out decay, rinsing out bloody mouths and sucking it up with a hose?

When was the last time you hugged your dentist or just thanked him/her for what he/she does for you? And maybe, if your dentist has a receptionist that is too friendly, you could tell her to turn that charm on her boss. God knows he could use it.

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