One good cleaning?

We were enjoying a meal with friends on Christmas Eve, when one of the 20-something men related the story of his last dental cleaning in the military.  He gave a detailed, and hilarious, description of a painful go-around with the ultrasonic by an unsympathetic hygienist.  He felt it was a torturous experience that was nothing like his previous cleanings in his civilian office. 

We all laughed and commiserated with him over his difficult time, but I got to thinking about it later.   Here’s the question: how does a person in a dental chair distinguish between a thorough, complete cleaning, and an unnecessarily aggressive one?  Is it possible to tell the difference?  Perhaps the previous cleaning wasn’t thorough or complete and tartar and plaque were left.  That would make the better job seem harsh in comparison, wouldn’t it?

There is certainly an issue of trust going on here, too.  If a client isn’t sure his best interests are a priority for the dental professional, he will not be accepting of the treatment performed.

All of this reminds me how important it is to take the time to be attentive to the person in my chair – to check in on their comfort, and to make sure that they understand the reason for the treatment given.  The proper thorough treatment must be rendered, but only in a way that is well received by our precious patients.

Here’s to a happy, healthy 2014!