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Substitute Hygienist

Taking radiographs and seeing suspicious areas but the doctor says everything is fine.



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Author Note:
Any suggestions on how to approach the dentist when I am in this situation?

10 Answers

If there is a way to review the radiographs not in front of the patient, before the exam, you can point the suspicious areas out. (In my office we actually do this.) If they aren’t addressed during the exam, afterward, you can always ask the doctor why they weren’t addressed. You would want to inquire like you are trying to learn, not questioning the doctor’s diagnosis outright. I feel that if it comes off as you are questioning the doctor’s diagnosis, especially as a temp, it tends to be awkward and can come off very unprofessional. If the dentist fails to diagnose decay, it’s his/her license on the line. This does not dismiss the moral and ethical issue you feel though. It’s really a tough situation to be in! If you really feel strongly the doctor is committing neglect, and you have clear proof, you can consider turning him/her into the State Board. The decision to do this should not be taken lightly though!

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Good and smart idea actuashley! If it’s not charted it didn’t happen!

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I always document that certain areas are areas of “concern” and then document what Dr’s recommendations are. If Dr not concerned I record..areas of concern okay per Dr. Whatever.

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I agree with Kara, I would approach him under the guise that you’re trying to learn how to properly read films! Sad that you have to make yourself look like you don’t know what you’re doing when that’s clearly not the case, but it is probably the easiest, less offensive way to approach a dentist you don’t know that well.

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I’d make sure that I wrote it in my notes though.

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I’m not sure how he gets the opportunity to say everything is fine? …When my Dr comes in the room I give him a quick review of my findings, gum health, etc etc…everything is fully charted in red to be done, and treatment plan is outlined….He barely has to look 😉 🙂

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I like the idea of being able to review the radiographs not in front of the patient. However this particular dentist/office is double booked hygiene. Therefore, I’m not in the op during the exam. I write down my concerns on the tray cover but I can overhear the doctor from the other op tell the patient everything looks great.

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Many good points here. I make a list of areas I want Dr to check. I think this helps bring there attention to them. If he doesn’t think they are in need of restorations I then ask him if he would like me to mark incipiency’s in the patients chart.

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I have this same problem where I work and it is very frustrating. I make sure to make very thorough notes that I clearly believe there to be decay but the DDS evaluated radiographs and found no pathology present. Very difficult since ‘legally’ we can’t diagnose.

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I’m in the same boat My doctor always places “watches” on areas of decay when it definitely needs a restoration. Also the quaility of the doctors work is below average. Overhangs and open margins on crowns. So hard to even try to bring this subject and concern up!

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