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Celia Burns
Clinical Director

How to lose friends and influence nobody

Celia Burns By Celia Burns on 8th October 2013

I often find myself sitting next to someone at a social event and being asked what I do for a living. When I answer I am a dentist, there is usually an interesting conversation that follows, which more often than not contains some comments about the things that my companion dislikes about visiting a dental practice. The same things crop up again and again and here are some of them:

Dentists: How To Wind Up Your Patients

When they tell you it hurts, tell them it doesn’t.

Keep your patients waiting 20 minutes for their appointment. However, when they are 15 minutes late for their visit, refuse to see them. This makes it clear your time is much more valuable than the patient’s. And whatever you do, don’t warn them if you are running late when they arrive.

Talk to them when they have a mouth full of dental stuff.

Use lots of jargon.

Forget they are there while you treat them. Discuss your dental nurse’s holiday and her child’s verruca in depth while digging around in their mouth.

Waggle that pointy metal probe as hard as you can in any cavity you spot. You will know you have done this right when the patient screams.

Of course, in the company of dentists, a somewhat different conversation tends to occur. If you are a patient, have a count of how many of these you may have done!

Patients: How To Wind Up Your Dentist

Walk in and say “I hate the dentist”. For maximum effect, say this before you even say hello.

Cancel your appointment the day before because you now have something else you would rather do. This makes it clear that your time is far more valuable than the dentist’s.

Eat crisps in the patient lounge while you wait for your appointment.

Open your mouth just wide enough for the dentist to get their fingers in, then use said fingers as a nice bite rest while they try to do your filling.

Ask them if your bill is paying for their Porsche.

Decline any recommended treatment then demand to be booked in immediately when the tooth is hurting three months later.

At the end of your check up, wait for the nurse to put everything into the steriliser and the dentist to remove his gloves, mask and glasses, then ask about the chip on the lower molar you wanted their advice about.

So now you know!

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About the Author

Celia Burns
Celia Burns - Principal Dentist & Clinical Director

My first love isn’t teeth; it’s people. That’s why I love being a dentist. It’s the best feeling in the world to be able to help an anxious patient, who has possibly avoided going to the dentist for many years, build their trust in me, and I get a real thrill from helping someone achieve the confidence in their smile that they want.

Six Month Smiles BACD - British Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry British Dental Association The Oral Health Foundation GDC