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Doctor did her own hygiene (lots of burnished calculus), doctor chit chats with patients eating up a third of my appointment time, ultrasonic doesn’t work, I’m being told to pick up the pace… I’m a new grad, what should I do?

I am in a bit of a conundrum. I have a question. I am a new grad and my Dr. is asking me to pick up my pace (I am often late starting appointments due to her chit chat with her patients) I was scheduled an hour and a half for SRP’s (I started 20 minutes late and had to probe), and do not feel I did a very thorough job at all. This patient has NEVER been to the dentist before and is 48 years old. What do I do? 2nd: The dentist I am working for had done all her own hygiene before hiring me and I am running into burnished calculus, a lot. I think this is due to her crappy ultrasonic. It is cordless and heats up super hot super fast…. sometimes I have to put it down cause it is getting hot for me to hold, even with the water on full blast drowning the pt. I turn the power down and the dentist told me if I don’t have the power on full blast I will burnish calculus… Go figure! I have tried different tips and I don’t have a lead foot, actually with the cordless one you don’t have to keep your foot on the pedal. What do I do?Oh and I have mentioned the ultrasonic heat to her, and she says that she doesn’t notice that at all.



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One of my biggest pet peeves, dentists playing hygienists… First, regarding the 48 year old patient with no previous dental visits: You have to figure that this patient has missed 96 cleanings; that’s adding the number if the patient began seeing the dentist at age 1, twice per year (even if we just added visits since permanent dentition the number would still be up there). While an hour and a half is a good amount of time, sometimes a patient simply needs more (especially if your doctor takes a big chunk of time talking). Don’t get down on yourself. Does your office schedule a tissue check after SRPs? If so, that’s the time to go back and get any thing you missed. Even though we try to be, we aren’t miracle workers and we can’t always be perfect. It would also help if you had working equipment, which brings me to your second conundrum. It may be worth a sit down with your doctor explaining why you can’t “pick up the pace.” You need working equipment. There’s no excuse not to have it; for the dentist, it is simply a cost of doing business. You cannot be efficient (which can cost the office money), you aren’t doing the patient any justice, not to mention it can actually put you at risk for musculoskeletal injuries and shorten your career. As you probably know, if the tissue heals around calculus it can lead to a perio abscess. It would not be fun explaining to a patient why they have an abscess – faulty equipment didn’t allow you to do your job to the best of your ability. When talking to the dentist, describe the issue as a concern for the office so it doesn’t sound like you are just complaining. Chit chat and building patient rapport is great but taking 20 minutes from an SRP patient, like the one you had, is simply not an efficient way to run a business. If you turned the tables and did this to her patients I bet it wouldn’t fly. So I would also mention to her that it would be more efficient (and money saving) for the office if you could get the full appointed time with the patient, which in turn could help you pick up the pace.

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