Crown This Lady “Worst Patient Of The Day”

, , , , | Healthy | CREDIT: EWhiskeyM | July 13, 2021

I’m a dental assistant for a private practice. Most of our patients are wonderful people — friendly, happy to see us, respectful of our professional opinions and recommendations, etc. But today, I had the most entitled jerk in for what should have been a simple appointment.

When we do crowns — or caps, as some people know them as — we prep the tooth beforehand and take an impression. Then, that impression goes to a lab and the techs there make the crown. It takes two or three weeks for them to send the crown back.

When we deliver the crown to the patient, the doctor and I try the crown in first to see how it fits. It is VERY rare that it fits perfectly. We almost always have to make some adjustments — shaving down the crown here and there, checking the space between the teeth, checking the bite, etc. All of this is standard. The main thing we use is called “articulating paper”. When the patient bites down on it, we can see heavy blue markings where the bite needs adjusting. The more we adjust, the lighter those marks get, and it even stops marking altogether sometimes.

Most exchanges with the patient are like this.

Us: “How’s it feel?”

Patient: “It’s a little high.”

Us: “Okay, we’ll adjust that.”

We use the articulating paper and then grind the crown down a little.

Us: “How’s it feel now?”

Patient: “Oh, that feels much better.”

Us: “Okay, cool. Let’s cement it in.”

This takes maybe five minutes AT MOST. This lady we had tonight was having none of it.

Us: “How’s it feel?”

Lady: “Ugh, it’s way off.”

Us: “Okay, we’ll adjust it. How’s it feel now?”

Lady: “The same.”

Us: “Umm, really? No change?”

Lady: “The same.”

Us: “Okay, no biggie. Let’s adjust more.”

Over and over, she kept insisting that it was exactly the same, no change, even though the marks were gone at this point, meaning that her other teeth were no longer even touching the crown.

At this point, we had a couple of options that the doctor presented to her.

Doctor: “I can keep adjusting the crown. The only issue is that if I keep reducing the porcelain on top, the metal underneath might end up showing. Are you okay with that?”

Lady: “No.”

Doctor: “Okay. Well then, I need to make a small adjustment to the tooth above this one so that they don’t touch. It’s very superficial.”

Lady: “No! Don’t touch my other teeth!”

Doctor: “We do this all the time, ma’am. It doesn’t harm the teeth. We’re basically just polishing it.”

Lady: “No! That’s a lie! If you guys did it correctly the first time, you wouldn’t have to adjust it at all!”

Doctor: “Ma’am, we do this for everyone. The lab almost never makes them perfect. We either have to adjust the crown itself or the opposing teeth.”

Lady: “No, you screwed up.”

Doctor: “We have to adjust one or the other, so which would you prefer? Do you want metal showing?”

Lady: “No!”

Me: “So we can polish the opposing tooth?”

Lady: “No!”

Me: “It’ll literally take a few seconds.”

Lady: “No, you’re lying! It’s gonna harm my teeth!”

The doctor suggests getting our office manager to talk to the patient. Our office manager is an awesome lady. She’s old — two years away from retirement — and doesn’t give a f*** anymore. I tell her the situation and she laughs.

Office Manager: “Okay, let’s make her wait another month. I don’t give a s***.”

I laugh as she marches right in there.

Office Manager: “Okay, ma’am. Since you don’t want this crown, we’ll send it back to the lab and have them redo it.”

So, instead of just waiting the sixty seconds for us to adjust, she now had to wait three weeks to come in again. And that was just to RE-PREP the tooth. Then, she had to wait another three weeks for the crown to come back from the lab, again.

She had every right to request that the crown be redone. That’s not my issue. My issue is that she accused us of lying, screamed at us, wouldn’t tell us why it felt “exactly the same,” and didn’t want any solutions we offered.

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Anchors Aweigh… And Aweigh, And Aweigh…

, , , , , , , , | Healthy | June 26, 2021

I was a new sailor, getting ready to report to my first ship. My wife and I had driven all the way across the country to the base where my ship was home-ported, so we were totally unfamiliar with the area. We got a hotel room while we looked for apartments, but the next day I got really sick. Two of my teeth on my upper jaw hurt so much I couldn’t sleep, so we grabbed my medical and dental records — this was a long time ago, when sailors hand-carried their records between assignments — and managed to find our way to the local Navy hospital. I checked into the dental office, and they got me in very quickly because I was obviously in a lot of pain.

The dentist, a Navy Lieutenant, poked and prodded a bit, had an x-ray taken, and then told me there was nothing wrong with my teeth. She said I probably had a raging sinus infection and had one of the nurses take me to the emergency room on the ground floor.

An hour or so later, I was diagnosed with a sinus infection, given a paper prescription, and sent to the on-site pharmacy. I grabbed a number and waited, still dazed by the constant pain in my face from the infection. My wife had to tell me when they called my number, and she escorted me to the pharmacy window. The pharmacy tech rattled off a bunch of stuff about the medicines I wasn’t coherent enough to follow, but I did make out that I needed to start taking them right away.

Fine. No problem. We sat back down and I read the labels. The largest bottle said I had to take four pills right away. I staggered to the water fountain in the lobby and swallowed one of everything, plus four of the pills from the big bottle. I walked back to where my wife was sitting, and she started putting the bottles of pills in her purse, giving each bottle a quick look to see if any needed to be refrigerated. Then, she paused and said, “Oh, f***!”

She dragged me up to the prescription drop-off window and hollered for help. An older man came to see what was wrong, and my wife showed him the large bottle and my ID card. The pharmacy tech turned white as a sheet and said, “Oh, f***!”, and then called for a gurney and a doctor.

The next couple of hours were a blur of activity I don’t remember much about, ending with me admitted overnight for observation. It seems the pharmacy tech who’d handed me my pills had also grabbed a bottle intended for another patient — the large bottle. I had taken a quadruple dose of a major blood-pressure medication and my blood pressure was dangerously low by the time the ER managed to get me hooked up to an EKG.

Even in military medicine, almost killing the patients is generally contraindicated. I recovered fine, but there was a major investigation at the hospital, and the pharmacy tech who handed me the wrong pills ended up demoted or transferred someplace unpleasant — perhaps both. The pharmacy at that hospital changed their standard operating procedures to require careful verification of the name on every label and to cross-check every prescription issued with the patient’s medical record.

That’s how the US Navy nearly got me killed before I set foot aboard my first ship.

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She’s Parking Mad

, , | Right | June 15, 2021

I work in a dentist’s office, mostly booking appointments. I have a mum on the line, telling me she is bringing her autistic son to an appointment.

Mum: “Is there parking?”

Me: “There is opposite us, but it can get full quite quickly.”

About two weeks later, her son’s appointment comes up. She doesn’t turn up, but ten minutes later, she calls.

Mum: “We can’t make the appointment. I was promised parking but no parking was available.”

Me: “Ma’am, you were not promised parking.”

It turns out she drove past the clinic, couldn’t find a driving spot, and drove to the other side of the city, to park, to call to cancel!

Mum: “You lied to me. How dare you do this to my autistic son?! I want to make a complaint as you’re discriminating.”

Me: “I’m sorry that you feel offended.”

Mum: “That’s not an apology. I want an apology.”

Me: “I will not apologise for not living up to a promise that was not made.”

Mum: “I want your manager’s name. You need to go on a customer support course!”

She hung up. Never heard from her or my manager.

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Brace For Impact!

, , , , | Healthy | March 6, 2021

I got braces a week ago. It’s a rather boring day, so my friends and I decide to goof off on the trampoline. While doing a flip, I fall and faceplant, and my braces get caught in the mesh.

We’re all laughing like idiots until it becomes apparent that I cannot free myself. One of my friends runs and grabs a pair of wire cutters and uses it to remove the wire from my braces, freeing me. In the process, a few brackets pop off, but it’s far better than having to call emergency services for help.

A few days later, I’m at the orthodontist, getting the wire and brackets put back on.

Orthodontist: “Good lord, what did you eat?”

Me: “Uh, actually, I got my face caught in a trampoline.”

Orthodontist: “What?”

Me: “Yeah. My friend was doing flips and I tried to copy them and landed on my face. And, uh, we had to get me free somehow.”

Orthodontist: *Laughing* “That’s a new one.”

There was no permanent damage and my braces ended up working out perfectly. But I wonder if anyone else has ever had that happen. I can’t be the only mega klutz that’s had to be freed from a trampoline.

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Nope, Still Terrifying

, , , , | Healthy | January 28, 2021

My wife has had some persistent issues with gum infections ever since having an extremely severe jaw injury. It was probably about as bad as a jaw could be injured. Despite this, she had relatively minor scarring, and many people do not immediately realize that she has major injuries just when looking at her.

The two of us go to the dentist together, each with our own appointments. I just have a basic cleaning, but my wife will be having a root canal done. The dentist, who we have been going to for years now, has a new assistant. She finishes with me fairly quickly, just in time to witness the dentist go straight from talking to drilling into my wife’s tooth, without the use of any anesthetic whatsoever.

She is immediately horrified. I think the dentist decides to mess with her a bit, as he just tells her:

Dentist: “[Wife] is pretty tough. She can handle it.”

My wife responded with a thumbs-up.

The dentist initially just went back to work, but relented after a few seconds and let the assistant know that my wife actually had no use for local anesthetic for this because she’s actually already completely numb. The root canal was in her lower jaw. The jaw has a nerve running through the bone on each side, and her injury had completely destroyed these nerves, leaving a complete lack of any sensation from her lower jaw including gums, lower lip, and part of her cheeks and chin.

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