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Doctor nitpicking xrays

I’m not sure what to make of this situation. Today in a staff meeting the doctor called out “everyone” (read: myself and his assistant) about our xrays, suggesting we are taking undiagnostic radiogrphs.
While I haven’t been privy to his interactions with the assistant regarding this issue, I can say that he has made me aware on several occasions of my own xrays being less than perfect, even going so far as to dissect them in front of a patient.
Now, I have only been at this office a few months, but I’ve been a dental professional for almost 20 years (as an assistant, then as a hygienist). I’ve been taking xrays for a long time. While I know that not every single one is textbook perfection, this is the first time it’s ever been insinuated that I take bad radiographs!
He went on to quiz and lecture us about proper placement and technique. I felt like I was back in school! He even told us to take “5 or 6” if need be to “get it right”.
When I raised the question of unnecessary exposure to patients, he made a comment about how these “sh*t xrays” he has been getting are keeping him from properly diagnosing things.
I am taken aback,and frankly, a little insulted. I have no qualms about retaking radiographs that are legitimately undiagnostic, but it’s as if he wants every xray taken in his office to look like it came from a textbook, otherwise it’s unacceptable. Maybe I’m totally wrong here, but this seems like an unrealistic expectation. Thoughts?



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Wow! Not a good wow, though… It’s one thing to pull you aside and privately point out an issue with a radiograph, but doing so in front of a patient is simply unprofessional. It makes the doctor look less than professional, makes the clinician look incompetent to the patient (what do they think about the care rendered if the radiograph is so bad?), and it’s degrading to you.
 
I agree with you; it’s one thing to retake a radiograph if its not diagnostic, but 5-6 retakes is overexposing the patient. Perhaps the doctor should take his own radiographs if he’s that concerned. Don’t get me wrong, radiographs need to be diagnostic to provide quality care and so patients receive the treatment they need, but there’s a point where asking for extreme perfection goes overboard, all at the expense of the patient (overexposure). And let’s be honest, not all patients have perfect, textbook anatomy and a “perfect” radiograph might not be obtainable.
 
I understand being a “perfectionist.” I think many dental professionals are, which is what makes them so good at what they do, but demeaning you in front of patients and making you feel insulted doesn’t seem right to me. Is this an ongoing trend? Or was the doctor having a bad day? If this is an ongoing trend, this office may not be a good fit for you. Have you privately spoke to the doctor about your concerns (how this looks to patients and perhaps how you feel degraded)? I would suggest a chat to see if things change. The office should work as a team and lift each other up (this includes the doctor), not bring each other down. After expressing your concerns, if things don’t change, unfortunately, it might be time to move on. Simply put, constructive criticism is one thing, degrading is another.
 
By the sounds of it, I don’t think you are wrong in thinking this is an unrealistic expectation. You have to ask yourself, what’s next? What if you accidentally miss a granular of supracalculus on the lingual of #24? Is the doctor going to rage on you in front of the patient over that? No one is perfect, not even the doctor. Trust your gut. If this doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t. I really do hope this gets better, but if not, do what feels right to you and perhaps move on.

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