Dr Mark HassedAs I mentioned last week, when you're a young dentist starting out you are desperate to be successful. You take on any and every patient who comes along.

Children — no problems. Dentures — bring 'em on. Phobic people — step right up!

But, when you gain a few years of experience you realise that some people cost you a lot of stomach lining. In fact, there are some people you'd be wise to avoid.

Here are the next two of my list of six dental patients to avoid.

Patients who hold the mirror very close to their mouth when pointing out aesthetic problems.

Patients who are aware of tiny problems are almost impossible to satisfy. The closer they hold the mirror, the more they should be avoided.

I once had a lady who was convinced that the lengths of her two front teeth was unequal but I could not see it. I even got a ruler out and held it across the edges of her front teeth — it was perfectly straight as far as I could tell, and the nurse too. The woman didn't agree.

Taking on such a patient is a recipe for disaster. Suddenly you are on your third remake and losing the plot.

Only take on people with big, obvious cosmetic problems that you can easily see from conversational distance. Anything that you cannot see at a glance will be too much trouble.

Patients who, the moment you start to put the chair back, say “don’t lie me back too far”.

Nothing gets your back and neck sore quicker than working at a strange angle where you struggle to see.

Some patients don't even get to 45 degrees before that start complaining. Yet, the vast majority of them can lie flat in bed at night to sleep.

I'm sympathetic to the rare few patients who have a peculiar medical condition that prevents them lying flat but for the rest I think they need to get over it.

Spending an hour at a strange angle may well mean a trip to the physiotherapist for you as well as compromising the quality of work.

Upcoming Seminars

The Art of Case Acceptance

Learn how to explain proposed treatment to patients in a way that is quick, easy, successful and low stress.

Perth 2 December

Perth 2 December

The Art of Efficient Dentistry

Learn how to get more done in less time with less stress and consistent high quality. Create the high-performance team.

Dates to be advised.

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