My dentist has always been a kind, gentle man. The last time I went for my check-up, he was completely different. In the middle of my exam he humiliated me. He turned to his assistant and said, “This woman is a perfect example of someone who lies about flossing. Why can’t patients just admit they don’t care for their teeth?” I was so embarrassed I didn’t know what to do, especially since I do floss. I only do it once a day, but I do it. I was determined to never come back, but after he left the assistant grabbed me and apologized. She explained the dentist has a brain tumor and it’s changed his personality. She begged me not to take it personally. I’m worried though. If it changed his personality, does that mean he could do some damage to my teeth? Has it affected his thinking and skill?
Samantha – West Virginia
I wouldn’t feel qualified to tell you whether or not the brain tumor has affected your dentist’s ability to perform his job. Obviously, it’s affected his personality. It sounds like his assistant is on top of things. It might be better to express your concerns with her and see what she thinks. She works with him every day and will know if there is any cognitive decline.
If you’re concerned, you could just temporarily switch dentists, keeping in touch with your current clinic so you’ll know when things have normalized some.
Given the difficulty you experienced in your last appointment, it might be good for you to look for a dentist who’s known as a gentle dentist. Someone with a kind chairside manner to help you in the transition period.
It might not be a bad idea to have the new dentist give a careful look at your gums (though he should do that anyway), given your current dentist’s insensitive comments. It could just be his brain tumor speaking, but sometimes dental problems, including gum disease can sneak up on us. You can do everything right and still have issues pop up. Don’t be too hard on yourself.
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