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Thursday Troubleshooter: How should dental staff handle threatening visitor?

April 12, 2018
This dental staff has received regular visits from a threatening character. They became scared, but did the doctor handle things in the best way? Here are some thoughts from a practice owner.

Nearly everyone has problems and concerns on the job, and sometimes you're just too close to a situation to solve something yourself. Share your concerns with Team Troubleshooter, and the experts will examine the issues and provide guidance. Send questions to [email protected].


QUESTION: We have an urgent matter. A man who works in a nearby store in the complex where our office is located came into our office. He smelled heavily of smoke and sat in our waiting room and kept talking to the front office staff, despite their attempts to ignore him. He used vulgar language and talked about how he uses drugs and has been shot and stabbed. We’ve told him that he cannot come into our office, and we’ve posted a sign that states, “No soliciting. Waiting room for patients only.”

The doctor went to the store where this man works and told the manager that he needs to speak with his employee, and the manager assured the doctor that he would. But the man proceeded to call the office four times the next day. He was mad that the doctor talked to his boss, and he threatened to come back to our office. We told him we would call the police if he entered our office again, to which he replied that the consequences would be worse for the doctor than for him.

Our staff is all female and I’m concerned for everyone's safety. Is this something we can report to our local police department? How do we protect our staff and office? Any ideas would be greatly appreciated!

ANSWER FROM CHRIS SALIERNO, editor of Dental Economics:
There are probably several ways to approach this very touchy situation. As a dental practice owner, here’s how I would approach the situation. What would you do in a situation like this?

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Don't be shy! If YOU have a tough issue in your dental office that you would like addressed, send it to [email protected] for the experts to answer. Remember, you'll be helping others who share the same issue. Responses will come from various dental consultants, as well as other experts in the areas of human resources, coding, front office management, and more. These folks will assist dental professionals with their problems on DentistryIQ because they're very familiar with the tough challenges day-to-day practice can bring. All inquiries will be answered anonymously each Thursday here on DIQ.

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About the Author

Team Troubleshooter

This weekly column on DentistryIQ features questions from everyday people who work in dental practices, who have issues they would like addressed by the experts. Those who regularly take the time to answer questions include Rebecca Boartfield, Patti DiGangi, Dr. Chris Salierno, Laura Hatch, Karen Daw, Jill Townsend, Lisa Marie Spradley, Shelley Renee, Judy Kay Mausolf, Robin Morrison, Paul Edwards ... and the list is growing.

Send your question or issue for an expert to address to [email protected].. You'll be glad you did.