Let’s be candid—COVID-19 has definitely made our lives as health-care providers interesting over the last year. And, as you all have likely experienced, patients will say the darndest things. This particular situation was no exception.
A well-established patient in my practice called the office asking about the COVID vaccination status of my hygienists, because she DID NOT want to be seen by anyone who had been vaccinated. Yes, you read that right. Her reasoning: she had read that individuals who received the vaccination shed live, infectious particles through their skin, breath, and various “excrement” modalities, and she didn’t want to get infected. True story.
So, while we have patients on one hand only feeling safe when we have been vaccinated, we get someone else who is just the opposite—she doesn’t want any of us to be vaccinated because of her interpretation of the news and social media platform spins. I can’t make this stuff up.
My office manager, with her ever-quick wit and professionalism, replied that the vaccination status of the staff is a private matter and can’t be shared with anyone without permission. If the patient didn’t feel safe coming in, we would be more than happy to refer her out for the recare appointment. My office manager emphasized that we follow infection control protocols in the office and that dentistry is—as it always has been—safe.
But wait; the head banging doesn’t end there. How about the patient who came in for her cleaning/exam complaining of dry mouth and perpetual headaches? Come to find out, she was wearing her mask 24/7. Yes, 24/7. Bedtime included. Again, I can’t make this stuff up.
And my favorite, “Can you just cut a hole in my mask to do my fillings?”
Am I making fun? Perhaps to some degree, but I’m just telling you like it is. This drives home the point that as health-care providers, our decisions and the care we render are based on science and fact—not on news and social media forums. We need to be rooted in our conversations and educate, educate, educate!
Let’s put our stories out there for our colleagues. Shoot them my way because I’d love to share the real, raw, and unfiltered dentistry we all do every day.
Looking forward to reading your stories.
Cheers! Dr. Stacey
Stacey L. Gividen, DDS, a graduate of Marquette University School of Dentistry, is in private practice in Hamilton, Montana. She is a guest lecturer at the University of Montana in the anatomy and physiology department. Dr. Gividen is the editorial codirector of Through the Loupes and a contributing author for DentistryIQ, Perio-Implant Advisory, and Dental Economics. She serves on the Dental Economics editorial advisory board. You may contact her at [email protected].