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How do you deal with a dentist that belittles patients?

I currently work with a dentist that often badgers and belittles my patients. Often times when the dentist talks to the patients who decline treatment for financial reasons, she often comes off rude and makes the patient feel horrible. For example, a patient could not afford root canal and would like to defer treatment, she often would say, “why wait for the root canal? You have an infection. Just take out the tooth. You clearly do not care about your teeth.” I feel like I’m at an awkward position when the dentist discusses treat planning with the patient. I have good rapport with my patients but, I feel like I need to damage control afterwards. Should I just get over it or would you discuss this with the dentist?



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2 Answers

As healthcare providers it is our job to inform the patient of all options and risks, this makes me sad that a dentist would belittle patients when doing so. This absolutely puts you in an awkward place. Further, it shouldn’t be your job to do “damage control” afterward! Sitting down with the dentist and having a chat would be a good option and is what dental consultants would suggest. However, in my experience, doing this has never changed anything and actually made the dentist annoyed at me. It’s always worth a try as you’d hope the dentist could keep professional about it. The best thing would be for the dentist to hear about it from the patients themselves; having them write a letter or if there are comment cards available to write their feelings that way. Honestly, I wouldn’t feel comfortable working with a dentist like this, I just couldn’t deal with this day in and day out. It’s my philosophy that one should work for a dentist that shares your same patient care standard. You need to go with your gut on this one and do what is best for your patients and you alike. I wish you the best of luck!

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I feel for you, I’ve worked for a dentist like this. Weirdly some pts liked it. Others just knew how he was like. Others didn’t like it but always had the option to leave and see another dentist. You have to remember most have been seeing her long before you worked there and know her even though it doesn’t change how bad it made me feel. Like you I was often stuck doing damage control but it got easier once the pt knew I was reasonable and would stick up for them from the second he walked it. Sometimes Dr.s Like that respect when you stand up to them from time to time. Needless to say I left on good terms, but I’ve since found a more respectful dr to work for…

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