Dentaltown March 2020 - 40

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Patient's Mom Upset That I Diagnosed
Caries in Her Adult Child
A Townie who recently took over a practice wonders how to deal with patients (and their parents)
who don't agree with her diagnosis

drsstein
Member Since: 10/23/10
Post: 1 of 42

I recently took over the practice of a retiring dentist. From what I have seen since taking over
a few weeks ago, the retiring dentist was "very conservative," e.g., didn't diagnose early occlusal
caries, as in this example. The patient (age 20) was in hygiene recall. Upon examination, I found
occlusal caries in all eight molars, as well as one interproximal lesion. I informed the patient of
the caries, and discussed caries developing in grooves. Patient seemed fine with me and with the
hygienist.
An hour or so later, her mom called me. (I think she said she used to be a dental assistant
but I'm not sure, because she was yelling at me.) She said she was very upset that I had told her
child that she had so many cavities; her child had called her, crying. I tried to discuss the issue
with her, but she continued to cut me off and yelled that they were never told that she could
get cavities in the grooves of her teeth. (She was a dental assistant?) I finally told her that she
was welcome to get a second opinion. Just wondering if anyone else has had this situation. Any
suggestions on how to handle the situation better? Because I am new, I know the patients don't
know and trust me yet. ■
12/14/2019

omaralt
Member Since: 06/10/04
Post: 2 of 42

First off, the "child" is an adult. Do not discuss his/her treatment with somebody else without their consent. This is a great time to pull out the intraoral camera and show them the "nasty"
black stains.
Also, when taking over from an older, conservative dentist, do not go in there and start
diagnosing like crazy right off the bat. At the first recall, show the patient the dark areas on the
intraoral camera and inform the patient you are watching the area. At the next recall, maybe tell
them you want to start filling a few to prevent them from getting bigger. Obviously, if there is
some massive area of caries, then this is different. ■
12/14/2019

Couver
Member Since: 05/05/14
Post: 3 of 42

This situation has everything to do with you being a new doctor they are suspicious of.
They probably trusted the old doctor and because he didn't diagnose any decay, they don't
really believe you. Intraoral cameras are your best option. I bought my office from a major
underdiagnoser, but with photos, no one has anything to doubt and you can actually build trust
with pictures.
I have MouthWatch cameras in every room. Get whatever kind you want, but they need to
be relatively cheap so that you can have one in every room and also be replaced when someone
breaks them. They are easily the best ROI of anything in my office. ■
12/14/2019

BuckeyeBrownie14
Member Since: 05/30/18
Post: 4 of 42

40

Dismiss. ■
12/14/2019

MARCH 2020 // dentaltown.com

DT0320_MB2_Mom_AG.indd 40

2/18/20 2:21 PM


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Dentaltown March 2020

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