Leave A Black Mark On That Patient’s File

, , , , | Healthy | June 13, 2019

(I work as a dental assistant. After doing some fillings for a patient, I walk her out to the front desk and she stops in the bathroom first. I notice our receptionist is busy with a call, and the dentist doesn’t have another patient for about 15 minutes, so I decide I’ll help out at the front desk and see the last patient out. She comes out of the bathroom and we have this conversation at the desk.)

Patient: “The dentist put a black filling in my mouth!”

Me: “I’m sorry, but there isn’t any such thing as a black filling. I can assure you [Doctor] only placed white composite fillings that match your tooth shade.”

Patient: “It’s right here! It’s black!” *points to a tooth on the opposite side from what we worked on*

Me: “Ma’am, [Doctor] placed fillings on the other side of your mouth. He didn’t touch the tooth you’re pointing to. What your pointing to is a silver amalgam filling that has aged and is no longer shiny, causing it to appear almost black.”

Patient: “No. This was not here before!”

Me: “Ma’am, where is your mouth frozen?”

Patient: *points to the side opposite of tooth she is complaining about*

Me: “That’s the side [Doctor] worked on, not the tooth you notice the dark spot on.”

Patient: “No, he did both. Go check with him or the nurse that was working with him.”

Me: “I am the assistant that was working with him. I’m just helping our receptionist, as she was busy with a call when you first came to the desk, and I can assure you that we did not work on that tooth or that side of your mouth. That is an old silver filling. If it bothers you, we can have the dentist look at it and see if he can replace it, but we’ll need to book you another appointment for that.”

Patient: “No, it’s fine.” *pays and leaves*

Receptionist: “I’m so glad that happened to you and not me.”

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