Dental Cyberweb/Dentists: Tales From the Dental Crypt
Through Doctor Doty's years of practice, he's had quite a few gut-busting experiences without the aid of nitrous oxide. Each month he'll share a gem with the Dental Cyberweb.
If you've a humorous anecdote, please contact us at the Dental Cyberweb! We'd love to hear it and will credit your submission.
Please, please, PLEASE feel free to send me your funny stories. All contributors will have a chance to receive a dinner for two and of course a byline on their story (unless they would rather remain anonymous). Please include in your email submission your Snail Mail address so we can send the dinner prize.
- December 1997
Young woman, slightly overweight, well endowed, scoop neck blouse scaling max anteriors, nicked the papilla.... patient jumped, and we all know where the scaler went, right? All she did was smile at me and say,'You want to go get that, or do you want me to go get it?"
<"So, who got it?" -Ed.>
- December 1997 (Christmas Bonus)
My first prophy patient was a woman. I did not tell her that she was my first. After I finished she remarked that she was my first patient. I was concerned that I had done something wrong or hurt her. She reassured me that everything was fine. Later I asked my clinical instructor how she knew. He said "women have a way of knowing when it is your first time". :)
- September 1997
Contributed by Patrick J. Meaney
In my 5th year, on my first day in the new clinic and the new hospital, I sculled a small container of yellow liquid I thought must be Cepacol, a proprietary mouth rinse. Couple of dental assistants had indescribable looks on their faces, probably wondering for the rest of their lives why the dental student swallowed the bur disinfectant...
- May 1997
Contributed by Doctor Doty
Early in my practice a funny thing happened on the way to quitting time. My assistant and I were diligently working away doing some fillings on a middle aged women patient. The assistant was suctioning and retracting and I was using the high speed to remove some old restorations. We paused for a moment for a needed rest for all concerned. As the assistant removed the suction from the patient's mouth she passed fairly close to the patient's eyelashes. Well one of the fake ones must not have been glued on real well and, you guessed it--right down the old suction hose. The patient wasn't really sure what happened. I wasn't sure what to do.
Speaking of suction stories...
One day we had a fly in the opertory that kept annoying us by buzzing around our heads. They don't teach this in dental school but the suction tip can be used to vacuum up flies at will! I think the state dental board would insist that you change the tip after fly catching is complete!
- April 1997
Contributed by Dominic
In the very early days of practicing. I wanted to quote a fee to a patient for a crown, but the patient kept calling the crown a cap. So, not wanting to confuse patients, I often use their vernacular. But this time I tried to say crown and cap at the same time. It came out "The fee for this CRAP is..." I was glad the patient wasn't a psychologist.
A good example of why dentists should never be quoting fees for anything.
- December 1996
Contributed by <name withheld to protect the innocent>
I have been a dental assistant for my current doctor for 12 years...(professional spit sucker I am I am.)
Geesh where do I begin for my "Tales of the Crypt" LOL....
We have a patient (I'll call him "Joe") who is 79 years old and a dirty old man in the eyes of the other staff members and myself-- the "don't turn your back on this one" type of guy. We always grimace when he comes into the office and makes his usual "Hi Honey" remarks.
One day Joe had fallen asleep in the dental chair in our front operatory, snoring away. ("Gone with the wind", so to say.) I was at the front desk talking to the office manager and glanced in to make sure the old coot hadn't died and was still breathing. Joe must've been dreaming about one of his "honeys", as he had a large erection.
I dropped open my mouth and poked the receptionist, pointing in Joe's direction. We both immediately went to the hall and literally rolled on the floor. Of course, we had to tell all the staff and even blamed it all (Joe's condition) on the "newer" assistant. Funny thing though-- the doctor didn't seem to find the humor in Joe's situation as much as us girls...
- November 1996
Contributed by "George"
When I was at NYUCD, the policy for second year dental students in the operative department was... go to a mannequin head and jaw if your appointed patient fails to show up. The student in the cubicle next to me was in that situation so the instructor told him to set up his mannequin. As the instructor was busy talking, the student's "bald" patient showed up. The student sat him down and went back to the instructor for a start up signature. Still deep in his conversation, the instructor did not turn around but began to "fondle' and generally mishandle the patient's head.
When it got to be too much, the patient objected strenuously. By that time the entire floor was paying attention to the event. The instructor almost jumped out of his skin! We are still laughing about it.
- October 1996
Contributed by Walter Kent
A rather diminutive person shows up in the office wearing greasy workboots, denim work pants that look like they could stand up by themselves, a jacket to match, red bandanna, and a cap down to the ears. Looks like a highschool kid on his first job as a grease monkey at the local garage.
I say, "Yes, sonny, what can I do for you?" Response: "I'm Mrs. Schmidt and I've come to pay my husband's bill." It's hard to say which of us was more surprised, but the next time I saw Mrs. Schmidt walk past my office she was wearing high heels, a dress, earrings, necklace and carrying a pocketbook. In those days, and in our town, that attire unmistakably spelled "woman".
- September 1996
Contributed by Adrian Rose
I bought my first office in the heart of London, in a place called Soho. I realized quite quickly that it was also the heart of the red light district. Many times I did not know whether I was treating a sir or a madam.
One fine day I had a young lady arrive wearing a long coat. We seated her and asked if we could hang up her coat. "No" she replied, "I am in between shows and have nothing on under this"
Of course I fully believe that at least half of my earnings then were derived (indirectly) from illegal activities, prostitution, gambling, and escort services. I took great delight when walking the market during lunch time in waving and chatting to the various bouncers, tarts and ladies I knew from the office, much to the chagrin of my future wife (who still is my wife!)
When we were married and she was working for me (yes, even back then) and was about 8.99 months pregnant, a kindly old man took pity on her and gave her a five pound tip (a large sum then) as she never wore her rings when assisting. She was too embarrassed to tell him she was my wife and kept it.
- August 1996
Contributed by Walter Kent
We've all had the experience of not being recognized by our patients if we meet outside the office setting, but how's this for a resolution: We're in a crowded family restaurant, the most popular place in town, and I greet a young female patient there with her husband and three kids. She looks at me puzzlingly for a moment or two and then blurts out, "Oh, Dr. Kent, I didn't recognize you with your clothes on."
- July 1996
I have one very, very nervous patient ( actually I have many more then one). She is in her 50's and divorced, very nice person. She is so nervous when she comes into the dental office you can feel her trembling as she sits down. She actually makes me jumpy just from the body language she sends out in waves of terror. Poor thing! I was trying to make some small talk so I asked her what was new in her life?
"Well", she said, "I just got a new condom" Nervously glancing at all the equipment. It registered with both of us at the same time. I couldn't hold back a smile biting my lip and she blushed and was all embarrassed. I wasn't sure what exactly to say next but I blurted out "Well I guess that means you have a new boyfriend!" Well she laughed (Thank God) and went on to tell me she meant a new condominium!
- June 1996
Our office is totally computerized, including the appointment book. When patients call in for treatment not yet planned (say, a broken filling, extraction, or sensitive tooth), the receptionist is to enter the reason for the visit in a small text box that appears on the screen with the appointment information.
Well, one of our patients called for a visit and apparently wanted a filling done for her son and her bleaching tray checked at the same time. The receptionist put a note on the appointment: Patient's mother wants you to do her.
Of course I broke out laughing when I read the note just before the child was seated for his appointment. The mother asked me what was so funny. I really couldn't tell her now, could I!
- May 1996
Spring is the time of year when many nursery school children visit the office. They enjoy the puppet show and office tour my staff puts on for them. The children and the groups vary widely in personality and their questions never cease to amaze me. The tooth fairy is the main character in our little play. Yes, full sized and in person. One of the children's frequent requests is to see the tooth fairy fly! After one of the shows I suggested that I too wanted to see the tooth fairy fly. Maybe we could go out on the roof and have a demonstration. Well you guessed it! The tooth fairy has such good manners she wanted me to go first!
- April 1996
Contributed by Ray Moy
Living on the Banks of the Mojave River
Where the Fish Are Always Biting
There were many "screwups" in dental school that I remembered, some of them were my own. However, I have one that I remembered of a good friend of mine that still makes me chuckle.
I was sitting in my room at the dorm one night when my friend burst in and yelled out "What the *!!* am I going to do?!". He was practically in tears and holding his articulator with our first full denture case mounted on it. Our first denture that we had slaved over for weeks in lab was due in the next couple of days. I looked at his denture and it looked kinda' pecular. It had a strange pinkish transluency and a rather dull glazed appearance. Remembering this was a violation of the first cardinal rule of lab work, "If you can't make it fine, make it shine." I said helpfully, "ehhh, can't you shine it up?"
"NO, that's not the problem! Besides I can't, it doesn't polish. Look at all the bubbles in the denture base."
Apparently, to try to get ahead, my friend had gotten some denture acrylic and tried to pack and process the denture himself at home over his stove that weekend. He didn't use enough acrylic and the denture base came out with thousands of tiny bubbles! Holy Don Ho!
I tried to be helpful again and said "Well, at least the occlusion looks good." Where upon my friend soaked the dentures in water and placed them back on the articulator. Damn, the dentures had sopped up the water and the vertical dimension had increased by two mm raising the pin off the incisal table. The world's first sponge dentures!
- March 1996
Ah yes! I have been dreaming about summer lately. Along with summer comes relaxing on the backyard deck. Probably reading a good book, noting that all is right with the world, and nodding off for a nap.
This dreaming of summer tranquillity made me remember a long past summer. Yes, I was sitting in my lounge chair on the deck just staring out into the backyards of my neighborhood. Suddenly, I noticed my neighbor a few doors down and his daughter running, seemingly, in my direction. As they approached the Dad motioned with one hand. You know the motion, a hey Doc can you take a look at something. When they arrived on my deck I could tell they were rather upset about something. I didn't see any blood or bruised face so I was wondering what the problem would be. They both seemed rather reluctant to tell me the problem but finally the Dad kind of blurted out, "Jenny has a worm caught in her mouth."
I was thinking, this is definitely not in my dental textbooks. She came over to my chair and opened wide. Fortunately, I saw right away what they were talking about. Jenny was in the process of having her lower first permanent molars erupt. A thin piece of tissue (very worm like) remained on the occlusal surface. I explained to them what was going on, they were a little uncertain at first but gradually accepted my diagnosis. I went back to wasting time on my deck feeling good about being able to solve two people's crisis for the day!
- February 1996
This story from Dr. Steve Schonfield (staying dressed) Behind the Redwood Curtain.
I am reminded of a story told to me by a former dental assistant. She once worked for a DDS in Texas whose father was a proctologist; they were located in the same building. Seems as though the MD and DDS both had a new patient exam on someone named Smith scheduled for the same day and time. Well, the dental patient Smith walks into the proctologist's office, fills out some forms and is escorted into a room where he is handed a paper gown and told to disrobe. "You don't understand... I'm just here for an exam," he said. To which the assistant told him, "Don't worry, that's what we do here." The mix-up was uncovered when the real proctology patient arrived.
My assistant swears this really happened!
- January 1996
We routinely use nitrous oxide for many of our young patients and some of our adult patients, as well. After I explain the procedure and what to expect from the nitrous oxide to the patient I place the mask over the patient's nose and my usual little speech shortly there after is "When you start to feel it, let me know" Meaning that when the patient starts to feel the effects of the nitrous oxide let me know so I can start the procedure.
Well one day my tongue was slightly twisted. Instead of saying the above I said "When you start to fart let me know." Well I could only imagine what the patient was thinking at the time. "He is filling me up with gas; when I am too full he wants to know!" I had to duck around the corner and laugh at the thought. I definitely had a hard time being serious the rest of the procedure. I am sure the patient thought he hadn't heard me correctly!
At least I hope that's what he thought!
- December 1995
We do a lot of orthodontics in our office. Most patients handle the office visits very well. There are a few that take the pushing, twisting, and pressure of engaging ortho wires in such a manner, as to cause themselves, and any people administering treatment or watching treatment severe stress.
We had one patient in particular that was extremely hyper-reactive to anything done in his mouth. He was so extreme that we all dreaded seeing the young man. Just the sight of his name in the book made us all feel like calling in sick for the next day.
Believe it or not, he finally reached the point where his braces were ready to be removed. Well, removing the braces is more traumatic than a normal ortho check visit. We could only hallucinate how wonderful the experience was going to be for both the patient and us. The dental assistant that was to work with me made a comment before the patient came, about how difficult this would be. I, trying to be reassuring, (envisioning a total nightmare in my own mind), told her he would probably react better than we expected and the procedure would go smoother than we anticipated.
Actually, the debanding went rather well. All parties were very happy that treatment was complete. I was rushing around the office treating patients while the assistant finished up on our super-hyper-drive patient. As I came into the adjacent opertory, just after the legend patient had left, she softly mentioned to me. "It was good for me, was it good for you?"
Now maybe I have a devious mind, but that remark just might be heard by the patients in both rooms that definitely were in ear shot from where she made the remark. They may just read into the remark something different from what was really being said. I could just imagine the rumors that would fly about my relationship with that young and very pretty assistant!
Next month's story will be about combining Nitrous Oxide with a slip of the tongue! NO you dirty minded people, it's not what you think, but funnier than this month's story.