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Casual Toothday- I mean Tuesday

Just another day at the office:

I assisted today while Doc was removing #25 and 26. (Those are lower front teeth in case you’re not a dental person.) While taking out #25 the tooth broke with a snapping sound. The crown of the tooth flew up and hit the ceiling with a click and then landed on the bib on the patient’s chest.

Me: <—just trying not to laugh

Doc: “Well, I don’t think that’s ever happened before.”

Patient: ? (He was fine.)

Change is… good?

We have a new dentist in the office where I work. We’ve only worked with him for a couple days and already our workplace feels like it has been turned upside down. Or, maybe it’s more accurate to say that it feels like an alternate universe. Like, is this really happening? I don’t mean to be so dramatic, but this is a huge change for us all. I’ve worked there nearly nine years and I’ve been a patient there since I was four years old. Everyone else has worked there even longer than me. It’s located in a small town and it definitely feels homey and laid back. Well, at least until recently.

We all know that we need to produce more to keep the practice going and be more successful. But, I think my coworkers feel something similar to what I feel: will reaching for his stated production goals come at the expense of patient relationships? Our schedule generally has one operative chair column with another for work-in patients or to help catch up if we get behind and one (sometimes two) columns of hygiene patients. Obviously we need to grow. He would like three columns of operative and three columns of hygiene. My first question: are there even enough potential patients in the surrounding area to fill these chairs? My second question: if we do actually fill a schedule like this, how will the doctor develop and maintain good patient relationships? Our patients are used to having a dentist who remembers their parents and/or their kids and asks how they are doing. They are used to having a dentist who often has a conversation with them while waiting for the anesthetic to kick in, not one who numbs and runs every time.

I think we all fear that our office is going to turn into a factory. I can’t help but picture patients on an assembly line.

I hope I’m worrying for nothing and we’ll end up with a more modern and successful practice that patients will recommend to their friends and family. We’ll see.

Any comments you have on this will be appreciated.

Random Thoughts on Thursday

It’s so great when good patients want to give you a hug after you’ve cleaned their teeth. And I say “good” patients to distinguish from “creepy” patients. I haven’t had a creepy patient want to hug me. At least not yet. And luckily creepy patients are rare.

I watched The Rum Diary. I want that time back so I can use it to watch something else.

I hate it when someone proclaims that they hate a certain food and they phrase it so that it sounds like anyone who likes that food must be a moron. Especially when that food is common and considered normal. For example, “Ugh! How can you eat that? I don’t even see the point of sweet pickles!”

When I’m picking out greeting cards and come across the ones labeled “Blank,” I still open them and look inside.

Santa, I want one!

How long do you think it will take for this technology to be mass produced as a children’s toy? I want one!

Do you trust your doctor?

I’ve had a casual but persistent interest in the doctor-patient relationship since an assignment I had in dental hygiene school. We had to write a paper on a healthcare topic of our choosing. I chose defensive medicine. Basically, this occurs when a doctor’s fear of litigation drives their decisions: unnecessary tests may be ordered, for example. Or, a doctor may give up some part of their practice altogether, such as obstetrics.

Long story short, I learned that a good doctor-patient relationship can reduce the likelihood of litigation. If a patient trusts his or her doctor, he or she is less likely to sue. Of course, this is not the only reason to have a good relationship with your healthcare provider. With trust and respect, you are more likely to follow your doctor’s instructions and be healthier as a result.

This goes for dentistry, too. Let’s say your dentist tells you that you need a crown while you’re flat on your back with the light in your eyes and then leaves the room. You might think he just wants to make a payment on his Lexus, and you’re probably going to tell the front desk that you’ll schedule it later, and then you probably never will. Now let’s take that same tooth, but change the dentist’s behavior towards the patient. This time, he raises chair back up, pulls his mask down, and shows you a photo and/or x-ray of your tooth. He explains why he wants to crown this tooth and what might happen if you choose not to. Now, you might still be thinking about his Lexus, but I would bet that you would have a much better relationship with this doctor now. And if you went ahead and got that crown, you might save yourself from breaking the tooth, exposing the pulp chamber (where the nerves are), and needing endodontic treatment (a root canal) or extraction (pulling the tooth).

All of this came to mind because of this video of the author of Cutting for Stone, which I recently finished and recommend.

Abraham Verghese: A doctor’s touch

Modern medicine is in danger of losing a powerful, old-fashioned tool: human touch. Physician and writer Abraham Verghese describes our strange new world where patients are merely data points, and calls for a return to the traditional one-on-one physical exam.

In our era of the patient-as-data-point, Abraham Verghese believes in the old-fashioned physical exam, the bedside chat, the power of informed observation.

Books and Blooms

This blog is starting to turn into a book blog. Oh well, that’s what’s going on with me right now. Like I’ve said before, reading is cheap. Luckily, about a month ago, the hubby found a full time job after over two years of being out of work. It’s not the greatest job, but it has been sorely needed. So, at least money is not quite as tight as it was recently.

I finished all the Stephanie Plum books. I didn’t know what I was going to read next. It’s always a disappointment to come to the end of a series, or wait for the next book to released. The same friend who recommended the Plum books recommended Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese. I linked to the Wikipedia entry in particular because it didn’t give away as much in the summary as other sites. Personally, I don’t like to know that much about what happens in the story before I read. I think all I knew about this book was that the story was set mainly in Ethiopia and covered more than one generation.

I tend to enjoy novels that span many years. We see what happened before a person was born, then their whole life, and then maybe their children’s also. I think that’s why I like the Follet books I’ve read and also biographies.

I just finished Cutting for Stone today. Next: maybe Darkly Dreaming Dexter?

P.S. The amaryllis bloomed. So freaking cool.

Couch Potatoes

My office is closed this week so it’s sort of been a mandatory vacation. Not that I’m complaining. I’d been working more hours than normal lately so it’s a welcome break. As this week was getting closer I was thinking of all the things I would have time to get done. Like finish painting my kitchen cabinets, for instance. Of course I’m the Procrastination Queen and  it’s already Thursday night so that’s not gonna happen. I did get the grass mowed. And I chopped down some weeds around the backyard bushes that were taller than me, so at least it doesn’t look like our house is occupied by meth addicts.

So what have I been doing with all the other time? Mostly reading, eating, and sleeping. I think I subconsciously decided to embrace the vacation vibe and before I knew it, it was suddenly Thursday.


The mini-potato crawled under the cushion on her own during one of the few times it was not occupied by yours truly. The rest of the time she was on my lap or near my feet. Cats are great. Please ignore the hideousness of the couch as it becomes holey and falls apart.

I’m currently reading Eleven on Top. Yes.

Plum Fun

click photo for source

Since I have to wait until September (!) for the next book in Follett’s trilogy, I’m glad a friend told me about the Stephanie Plum series by Janet Evanovich. They’re just so fun. I’m ready to start Seven Up.

Can’t get enough of Morelli, am I right?

It’s ALIVE!!!!

Not much going on around here. Still not tiring of my cheap entertainment: reading. Although I have added some new cheap entertainment: watching my amaryllis grow. I got it a year ago during the sale after the holidays. Then I kinda forgot about it for a couple months. I wondered if it would still grow so I followed the instructions and planted the bulb. It didn’t do much for a while but then finally started to grow two freaking huge leaves. They grew so fast you could practically watch them get taller by the minute. But that was all it did. No flower at all. When the leaves died I trimmed them off and left it on the counter (partly out of laziness but I think mostly because I was curious to see if it would come back). I watered it occasionally and then a few weeks ago… lookie here!

I was glad it was a persistent little bugger. But then it got even better.


This is what it looks like today. Nature is so cool. And I am easily amused.

You know you’re loved when…

Romantic Potato

Romantic Potato (Photo credit: only_point_five)

You know you’re loved when they jump at the chance to pick at your skin imperfections.

Ah, love… trust… blackheads. Don’t get all weepy now as this cup of romance runneth over.