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Confessions of a Bad Dental Patient

Confessions of a Bad Dental Patient
Laura Moriarity

Do you have a patient ranking system in your office? You know, like “A” patients always show up, need extensive work and pay on time; “B” patients usually show up, need some work and pay on time and “C” patients are the ones who just suck.


Here is the deal. I know about these rankings, and my people pleasing personality wants desperately to be an “A” patient; but the woman who is an hour away from her dental appointment might as well be an alien—I don’t even recognize her! Here is the truth behind some of your “C” dental patients: they aren’t bad people, they likely have major anxiety which turns them from an “A” patient a week before their appointment to a “C” patient an hour before they are supposed to come in.  Here is the difference in my personality a week before my dental appointment and an hour before my dental appointment.


A week before the appointment
An hour before the appointment
Always shows up early to scheduled appointments Tries to come up with any reason (broken leg, sick child, etc.)  to call and cancel dental appointment
Thinks going to the dentist is no big deal Panic stricken is texting husband telling him she can’t go…not today…maybe next week
Likes chit-chat and making small talk Can’t stand trying to discuss an upcoming vacation when there is a tray of sharp things next to my head
Thinks my mouth is probably fine, no need to worry What if I have mouth cancer, or need 10 fillings or they need to pull my teeth or they find out I only brush once a day and I will be in dentures by the time I am 40?!?!?!
Sleeping normally, having regular dreams Can’t sleep, having nightmares about all my teeth falling out
Encourages family and friends to be proactive and take care of their dental health like they should Decides having teeth is overrated
Never drinks alcohol before 5 pm Decides one shot before a 9 am appointment can’t hurt anything…right???


Like I said, I don’t know what happens to me as my appointment nears, but it is definitely out of my control. So if you are a dental provider and a 30-something woman shows up a few minutes late to her appointment, smelling a little boozy, she understands why she is a “C” patient, but trust me, a week ago she would have be “A” all the way.


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