Bones Aren’t Just For Dogs

New patient exam.

Patient has worn, broken teeth.

They hurt.

Patient asks:

“When you fix my teeth with fillings will they last forever?”

“Well fillings can last forever if you take pristine care of them and your teeth.”

“Oh okay because I like chewing on BONES!”

“. . . . . ”

“Is that okay?”

“Eating bones, ice, rocks, or concrete isn’t good for your teeth. I doubt your teeth are going to last very long eating on things like that.”

“Oh. Haha. Okay. Hopefully they will last then.”

Well at least I have job security . . .

Patients. . .

Beyoncé Made Me Do It

Just did an exam on a patient with severe periodontitis (bone loss around the teeth). Most of the teeth were naturally mobile due to the lack of a foundation to keep them stable.

She said that one of her teeth recently turned pink and even more mobile after she got into an accident. After examination, the tooth was indeed swollen and even more loose than the surrounding teeth.

When I asked her what happened, she replied:

“Well I blame it on Beyoncé. I was doing one of her dances while I was in my socks and I slid and ran into a wall.”

. . . I’m pretty sure Beyoncé made you have periodontal disease, put socks on your feet, and slid you into a wall.

Though I’m pretty sure Beyoncé would tell you to brush more often.

Patients. . .



Open Wide. Or Not.

In our profession we have to look in tiny spaces to see even tinier teeth to find even tinier problems with them.

It doesn’t make it any easier when you give us an opening the size of a walnut to look through.

When we say “open as wide as you can for me” that doesn’t translate to “as wide as you feel like it at the moment”.

According to the Journal of Maxillofacial Surgery, the mean maximal mouth opening for males was 51.3 mm (SD 8.3) (Range 39–70 mm). The mean maximal mouth opening for females was 44.3 mm (SD 6.7) (Range 36–56 mm).

What does this mean?

It means that on average most people can open 1.75 inches (or the amount to fit a tangerine in their mouths).

(*Footnote. This means that your significant other might be lying if they say it’s too big to fit if you are below or at the average. . They may just be tired that night. Or you need a shower?)

Imagine a valet opening your car door a quarter of the way and telling you to get inside. Think of how much you’d have to squeeze into that small space. Not fun.

Not fun for us either.

Please open wide so we can do our jobs. It’s not that hard.

Patients. . .

My Tooth Hurts.

This was a fun one.

Patient came in because their tooth hurts.


“So does your tooth hurt when you bite down on it?”


“So does it hurt when you drink hot or cold things?”


“So when DOES it hurt?”

“Nah I dunno I mean like it’s almost like it’s connected to a nerve or something.”

. . . .

Yes . . teeth have nerves. . teeth are connected to tissue that is connected to nerves . . nerves are everywhere . . why is this so surprising to you. . .

Patients. . .


Just had a person come in who wanted a comprehensive exam as a new patient.

He stated he had chickened out the last time he scheduled to come in but was READY this time.

He was not ready.

I mean, pretty much everywhere you go for services (the bank, a massage, buying a piece of furniture, even out to eat) requires you to read and fill out/sign something.

Why would coming to a dental office when we’ve never seen you before be any different?

Patient stares down at the paperwork and then back at the receptionist in a “how dare you hand me this nonsense” look and says:

“I can’t read this. I don’t have my glasses with me. I mean all I can see are straight lines.”

He continues to stare at the receptionist like he’s expecting her to solve his problems and magically produce a pair of glasses for him. She says

“Ok? Well we can just have the staff read over it for you then. . ”

Then he proceeds to hand to hand the receptionist his “insurance” card.

It was his pharmacy card.

If you can’t see, bring your glasses. Don’t even know how you’re driving here like that.

Patients. . .


Patients come to see us when they’re in pain. That’s great, let me help you with that.

They also come to see us when they’re not in pain, but claim they’re in pain.

I’m not an idiot.

I love the patients who come in to the office and have a whole skit prepared. They know what to say they’re allergic to, what area is hurting, and seem to have practiced the facial expressions to express how much they need pain medicine.

I offer them a solution.

“I’ll get rid of your pain today. We just have to do X.”

“Oh no I can’t do it today I just want to get something to get me by until maybe next week.”

“Ok, then I’ll get you some anti inflammatories and antibiotics to help with the swollen tissue and we will see you next week.”

“Oh no the only thing that works on me starts with a P. . Pe. . Per? Perc. . ”


“Yes that’s the one. That’s all that works on me. I’m allergic to the other things.”

“Sorry, we’re a non-narcotic office. I can treat the cause of your pain and make the pain go away that way. Otherwise it’s just masking the source of your issues.”

“You mean to tell me I’m supposed to be in PAIN until I come back next week because you won’t give me pain medicine?!”

“No. I’m offering you a better solution.”

“Fine I’ll just go to another office.”

When you come in on a Friday demanding pain medicine instead of actually wanting to fix your problem we can tell you’re just fishing for a weekend fix. We weren’t born yesterday.

Patients. . .

Welcome To The Funpark

I don’t know what world we live in where parents think that wherever they take their children it’s okay for them to run loose and make whatever space they are in and turn it into their personal playground.

Does the grocery store let your kids stack up their canned goods into a fort and knock them down in battle?

Does the car dealership let your kids climb all over their cars and jump on them because they’re there?

Then why do you let your kids jump all over our furniture, drag chairs across the waiting room, and climb into our fireplace to throw around the wood and stones that were so nicely placed there to promote a calming ambience only to ruin it for your kids own demonic pleasure?

Then when we call you back into the room for your appointment you ask the front desk

“Who is going to watch my baby while I’m back there?”

Seriously? Doesn’t sound like you’ve ever watched them anyway. We aren’t a free day care. Pretty sure the assistants and front desk aren’t paid to watch your children and play with them while you kick back and get your dental work done.

Teach your kids proper public manners. Hire a babysitter. The world isn’t made to cater to your children.

Patients. . .