Saturday, January 9, 2010

You know the drill

I switched dentists recently, from a guy in Revere to a woman in Malden. Before either of them I had a grad student at the BU dental school. I'd returned to East Boston from Maine, where I'd had dental implant work done that totaled $8,000. The cost and the duration -- about a year -- of that work were more painful than the physical discomfort. I went to BU because the prices are lower, and I was assigned a student named Kevin, with whom I had a wonderful rapport over the course of a year or so.

When Kevin graduated I decided to move back into the world of professional dentists, and I looked online and found someone nearby. I was his patient for not quite a year, but I actually saw him for only a brief period of time. He was always rushing in and out of the room, obviously tending to other patients. Even when he had to fill a cavity he did it in a hurry, and I felt as though I had little opportunity to actually talk to him. So recently I decided to find a dentist who moves at a more relaxed pace -- and who actually listens to me.

Maybe this is foolish, but when I am someone's patient, I like that person to talk to me, to know me and -- yes, I have to admit -- to laugh at my jokes. Is that strange? I tend to babble on and to make humorous remarks when on an exam table or in a dentist chair or an optometrist's chair. In fact, my eye doctor and I have a wonderful conversation whenever I see her. I've remained her patient for more than a decade despite her relocating twice, and she was my eye doctor when I lived in Maine for two years.

I want the same from my dentist, and the woman in Malden listens to me and laughs at my often self-deprecating jokes (as I am terrified of the dentist office -- especially the implement I refer to as "the pointy thing" the hygienist uses during cleanings). I'm happy to have found a dentist I feel comfortable with. Some friends laughed when I told them my criteria, but it works for me.


N.starluna said...

I'm still looking for a good dentist. It's like treasure hunting.

Helaine Smith, DMD said...


You are not wrong for wanting a dentist that doesn't rush through your appointments or who takes the time to listen to you and laugh at your jokes.

Dentists do use "pointy" instruments that do sometimes look scary -- and making you feel comfortable and relaxed through cleanings / procedures is part of a good dentist's job.

I'm glad you found someone with whom you feel at ease.