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S2 E2: Sticky office situations #2
Handling those awkward moments with patients and peers: how to show compassion, stay professional, set boundaries and more.
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Uncomfortable moments happen. Here’s how to manage them.
We had such a great time with this topic in Season One that we wanted more! We’re talking awkward, strange, sticky situations with patients or peers in the dental office. We’ll dice into the stories and the strategies on how to stay professional and compassionate in challenging situations, how to set boundaries, and ensure safety for all. This episode features guests Dr. Stephanie R. Ganter and Dr. Robert McNeill.
As Dr. McNeill explains: “There have been so many times in many patient interactions, I'll walk out and go, ‘Oh my gosh, I wish I had not done what I just did.’ And to have a ‘sit down’ with your staff and say, ‘This is what happened, quite frankly, I may have done something different if I had to do it over again’ … I think it's great to cast light on some of those issues.”
Dr. Stephanie R. Ganter
Dr. Robert McNeill
- Ganter and McNeill are dentists and hosts of the podcast and YouTube channel “Between Two Teeth.” The purpose of their podcast is to connect, discover and inspire. They love sharing their personal and professional stories with their audience.
- Each doctor takes turns sharing sticky situations and awkward moments from the operatory. Podcast host Dr. Ioannidou, who has a European accent, shares a story of a patient discriminating against her at the UConn dental school clinic where she is faculty. The patient turned away from Ioannidou and asked a dental student to find a faculty member who “really speaks English."
- The situation was awkward and surprising, but the patient later apologized after Ioannidou walked out of the room to give some time and space to herself and the patient.
- The dentists agree that walking away for a minute to think and give space to a situation can help defuse awkward situations.
- McNeill shares his experience of feeling overwhelmed during his first interaction with a patient in dental school and nearly passing out. He also talks about failing his board examination due to a backup patient ripping off a rubber dam. However, he has now become a board examiner for the same examination.
- McNeil also shared his personal experience of burnout and how he struggled to balance his personal and professional life. While going through a divorce, he felt like a failure, despite his professional success and sought help from his friends and colleagues.
- Ganter got married in residency and divorced soon after starting her first job. Patients knew her as Dr. Briggs initially, but, after six months, her name changed to Dr. Garner, her maiden name.
- Patients congratulated her on her wedding, which she found challenging to handle. Her name changed because of a divorce, not a wedding.
- Another story Ganter shared was when a patient made a sexually suggestive comment and grabbed her leg before a procedure. She felt angry and embarrassed in front of her staff but continued on and did the procedure. She later talked to staff to make sure they knew they could handle such situations differently in the future.
- Finally, Wright shares a sticky situation with a patient who returned to her office after getting an upper denture stating that she had “been told” a future extraction of teeth would be done free. After some heated discussion, Dr. Wright did the extractions for free to avoid further arguing. She documented everything, including the treatment plan, and got all parties involved to sign a consent form.
- Dr. Wright was frustrated because the practice was a startup and she needed to produce and that is why she took this route.
- The show ends with a rapid fire discussion of dental-related topics. Throughout the show, the guests agreed that sharing awkward moments and sticky situations is important in dentistry, to cast light on the many aspects of the profession that can cause stress and burn out and to help fellow scientists come up with solutions and feel less alone.
- Find out more about the podcast and YouTube channel “Between Two Teeth”
- Explore ADA wellness resources for dentists
Wright [00:00:00] We really want to know what's the weirdest thing that's ever happened to you as a dentist? Hello. Hello, everyone. I'm Dr. ArNell Wright.
Ioannidou [00:00:08] And I'm Dr. Effie Ioannidou. And this is Dental Sound Bites. Today we will be talking about awkward, strange and very sticky situations in the dental office.
Announcer [00:00:22] From the American Dental Association, this is Dental Sound Bites, created for dentists by dentists. Ready? Let's dive right into real talk on dentistry’s daily wins and sticky situations.
Wright [00:00:37] Back in season one, we got a great idea from a fellow dentist and a listener to do a show on dentistry's tough, odd, and awkward situations. It was such a fun and interesting show. We couldn't get enough.
Ioannidou [00:00:50] We are diving back to our stories and we try to understand how to stay professional, how to stay compassionate in the face of the most challenging situations.
Wright [00:01:01] We are super duper excited to welcome you to Dental Sound Bites, Dr. Steph Ganter and Dr. Bobby McNeill, who are both dentists, motorbike aficionados and hosts of the podcast Between Two Teeth. Welcome. Welcome, guys.
McNeill [00:01:15] We are so excited to be here.
Ganter [00:01:17] So excited.
Wright [00:01:19] We are so excited to have you here.
Ioannidou [00:01:21] Tell us more about yourselves, your work and your YouTube channel.
McNeill [00:01:26] We have a YouTube channel Between Two Teeth and Steph, what are we about?
Ganter [00:01:31] So maybe 6 to 12 months ago, we started looking at purpose and direction and we kind of came up with a purpose statement kind of for our show, and it's to connect, discover and inspire. We want to connect with as many people as possible, discover things about the world, about experiences and stories, and then ultimately inspire ourselves. And hopefully, if we're lucky enough, inspire someone else just to do the most good in the world.
McNeill [00:01:56] Yes. And we want to live our best lives and we want to push others to live their best lives, too. So that's what we're trying to do.
Wright [00:02:03] Yeah, I love that, don't you?
Ioannidou [00:02:05] Sounds very inspiring. I'm very inspired already.
Wright [00:02:08] And we haven't even gotten started.
McNeill [00:02:10] Yes, it's working.
Ioannidou [00:02:12] It's working. I can't wait to get started soon. I start with sharing my awkward, weird story. I have so many. I have to pick one.
Wright [00:02:21] Same. Yeah, Yeah, Let's hear it. Let's jump right in.
Ioannidou [00:02:25] So, you know, I mean, obviously you can tell that I don't have any accent, right? I speak like, you know, clearly this is a Connecticut accent. I have been a faculty member at UConn Dental for more than 20 years, actually, at this day. And last year, like 19 years into the job, right? I was going to take on some type of scaling root planning after the students completed the procedure and I sat by the patient. I started giving some additional oral hygiene instructions, how you can browse your back. You know, you're in the indo proximal areas between your molars, blah, blah, blah, and the patient turns to the student and says, "Can you bring a faculty that really speaks English?"
McNeill [00:03:10] Oh, wow.
Ganter [00:03:11] Yikes.
Ioannidou [00:03:12] It was super surprising to me. I was really shocked and I really didn't know it got me into that. Oh, my God. I'm like, What am? So I walked out of the room. I gave some space to the patient. I think she was probably, it was a bad moment. I returned a few minutes later and she apologized. Everything was back to normal. But that really few seconds when she turned and hit me with this, it was like, Oh my God.
Ganter [00:03:36] Wow.
Ioannidou [00:03:36] Such a weird and awkward situation that can very easily turn to become confrontational. Right? But by walking out and giving it a minute.
Wright [00:03:46] Absolutely.
Ioannidou [00:03:47] To kind of think what she just said and I think the student also turned to the patient and said, I don't think this was a very right comment to make. So a serious thought, what she said and everything turned out to become very nice and happy ending in the story. But it was a very, very awkward situation.
Ganter [00:04:05] I think one of the smartest things you did was to walk away and give that time.
Ioannidou [00:04:10] Yeah.
McNeill [00:04:11] In my MBA program we learned about the concept of amygdala hijacking and when something happens and emotions get high.
Ioannidou [00:04:20] Sure.
McNeill [00:04:20] Realistically, both sides are really having a hard time thinking logically about things. You step aside, you let the endogenous epinephrine and norepinephrine everything kind of settle down and then you go back in and have a reasonable conversation.
Wright [00:04:34] Yeah.
Ioannidou [00:04:34] Yeah. Because, you know, if you become defensive, this can turn very ugly. So I really didn't want to create a scene out of this. And I have to say that it has to do with the level of insecurity. You know, if you are comfortable in your skin, you know, and they say, let them in, it's fine. Let's turn the page, move on.
McNeill [00:04:52] And we often see people at a bad time in their lives. You know, they're in a spot where they, they don't want to see us. You know, you're a periodontist. I'm an oral surgeon. They don't want to be in our office. And it's stressful for them.
Ganter [00:05:04] And just kind of listening to your story. Oh, my goodness. I can't imagine the mix of emotions that were probably going through your head at that very moment. For me, I think I would be angry and just frustrated because they're yeah, they're picking on a part of you that you didn't wake up this morning and say, okay, I'm going to make this more difficult for this patient. You are authentically being you and you're there, you're showing up and you're showing up in the best version of yourself.
Ioannidou [00:05:28] Right?
Ganter [00:05:29] And you're trying to help somebody, let alone be a mentor and a role model for the dental student. All of that's frustrating.
Ioannidou [00:05:35] Yeah, that's exactly right. And. You know, it's sad because if, have this happened 25 years ago, our society was different. We have evolved so much and we are so open. Diversity has really become a central piece of our lives in higher education, even more. Right. So it was very, very weird to me. In 19 years into this job, I have never, ever experienced something like this. And I think it was a bad moment. And you're absolutely right, Bob.
Wright [00:06:01] And so you were able to just kind of, like, recover really quickly, huh?
Ioannidou [00:06:04] Yeah. No, I do recover quickly. Yeah.
Wright [00:06:07] Like, imagine if you had been super easily offended type of person. Oh, like, you would have, like, dragged that entire situation on way longer, and then nobody would have accomplished what they came into the school for that day, for sure.
Ganter [00:06:19] ArNell, Now, I love what you just brought up. As far as how long does this affect you? You know, for me, when, I when I'm in the clinic and we have certain situations that are emotionally charged, right. Sure, we can get back at it superficially and say, okay, that happened. We're going to move on. We're going to get through this procedure this day. But the tough part is people that tend to suffer in silence later on. Yeah.
Wright [00:06:44] Mm hmm. Or how many times it replayed in your head. You know what I mean? Yeah.
McNeill [00:06:47] See, I like to, I love to pivot. I compartmentalize everything. I put it in a little box, and then I turn, and then I'm on to the next.
Ganter [00:06:55] Man, and that's. I'm so happy for you.
McNeill [00:06:57] That has served me well. And that has served me poorly at other times.
Ganter [00:07:02] I'm so happy. That's a superpower.
Wright [00:07:03] Yeah. Yeah. Definitely a blessing and a curse at the same time. Yeah, all in one.
Ganter [00:07:07] Oh, my.
Wright [00:07:08] Well, Dr. McNeil, what's your tale from the offertory that you're willing to share?
McNeill [00:07:12] You know, as I looked at some of these clinical situations, my very first interaction with a patient in dental school, I almost passed out. That was a weird situation. But then I said, No, that's not enough. And then I went to, when I was taking my board examination, I had to use a backup, backup patient. That patient ripped off the rubber dam. I failed the exam. Now I'm a board examiner with the examination. And part of that was just don't let failure stop you. But then I thought about it and I said, realistically, the message that that was tough for me. I got to a point in my life in 2017, where I was appointed by the governor to the state dental board. Professionally, I was on my peak, but personally I had a hard time going into the office each day. I was burned out. I had a marriage that was not working out and it was super duper tough. And I talked to my staff. I was not the person I wanted to be just in the office. And I said to them, I said, you know, this is I'm having some challenges. I had a group of friends around me that was a group of dentists that kind of help me. And I just sat down with them and I said, Man, I am burned out. And I felt, I felt somewhat like, a like a fraud or a failure because professionally, I was like way up here. And then personally, the other stuff wasn't working out and it wasn't fun going to the office, and I didn't want to be in that spot. And that's part of probably why I do what I do now. Yeah, I think that's in part why, you know, the ADA Wellness Initiative has such a pull to me because I've been in a spot that I think so many are, and I was so fortunate and blessed to have people. I had a group, I had connections. I was able to kind of open up to appropriate people to help me out in a I that was sticky because it could have gone different directions. And certainly as a state board regulator, I'm still on the state board and I see challenges where people don't get the help they need.
Ganter [00:09:23] Wow.
Wright [00:09:24] You know, I have a question for you. Like while on this topic. Imagine had you not been able to identify that you were burnt out, like I think that a lot of people, they they postpone or they don't get the help that they need because, one, they can't identify it. Or maybe they are like all of us here. We're very well educated. We're very successful in our careers, in our lives, and we may turn a blind eye to it. Can you like what's what's your thoughts about that?
McNeill [00:09:52] Well, I love to control things. I think, Steph, she will say that.
Ganter [00:09:56] True story.
McNeill [00:09:59] I'm a hard working dentist and, you know, being in practice is very difficult. And this is just the way it's supposed to be. And you just show up day after day after day and you don't realize there's got to be something better.
Ganter [00:10:12] Right. And on that note, and thank you for sharing that, it's actually when we talk about vulnerability, authenticity a lot on our show and it's, it's easy to talk about. It's really tough to share your personal story. One of the things that I think about when I hear you tell that story is that this concept, this notion that we have to show up on our, our strong horse every day, we have to be that, that knight in shining armor for our patients, for our families, for our friends. And the truth of it is, that's not where connection lies. That's not where wellness lies. Wellness lies and the cracks. Wellness lies where we are authentically burned out and saying, Hey, it's almost like it's okay not to be okay.
Wright [00:10:58] It is okay to not be okay.
Ioannidou [00:10:59] But I think very frequently we are, you know, we kind of walk the thin line in this dilemma between the high responsibilities that we carry.
Wright [00:11:09] Yes.
Ioannidou [00:11:09] In our professional lives and then, you know, the vulnerabilities, the moments that we are like we really want to sit down and take a breath. And many times in many minds, those two cannot reconcile. It's really hard to. So I definitely give you a lot of credit for sharing with us, first of all, and also going through this experience. That's not an easy experience.
McNeil [00:11:30] Yeah, and quite frankly, it's made me a better board member. I think I've just gotten more involved with the ADA Wellness Initiative and I think help me from that component. We also talk about, you know, we're driven individuals as dentists, but you really have to be intentional in how you recharge.
Wright [00:11:48] So not only are we talking about sticky situations, we have also incorporated a little bit of wellness, resiliency and mental health into this episode. I love the direction that this has gone in.
Ioannidou [00:12:01] So, Dr. Ganter, what's your story?
Ganter [00:12:03] Oh, buddy, buckle up. So.
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Ganter [00:12:40] So I got married when I was in residency and probably too young for me. And I got a divorce right when I was getting out. The challenge is with that, your, your name. Right when I had graduated, so when I first started my first job, my name was Dr. Briggs, and so all my patients knew me as Dr. Briggs for that first, like six month period. And then it changed to Dr. Garner once the paperwork went through. So unfortunately, I got a lot of congratulations when that happened. So, I would go in and I would say, Oh, hi, Mrs. Jones, how are you doing today? And she goes, Oh, my goodness, congratulations to you. How was the wedding? Tell me all about it. And inside I was like, Oh, what do I break it to her? Is this something that I need to go into right now? My staff is kind of, you know, like, oh, I don't know how you're going to handle this one. And so, of course, you know, I'm just like I yeah, it was, it was great. But then, you know, you have the, the little lady that's going, oh, no, tell me more and more about it. And at some point you got to say, Hey, it was actually the other way. Oh, sorry about that. She was just like, Oh, no, I part of the reason I bring that up is that one, we talked about failure earlier. Failure is a part of life. Embrace it If you've haven't been touched by it yet, it's come. And I promise you that. And for me, with this story and specifically, I was a little angry about how, the, this is part of the way the world works. You know, for women, they have a choice to change their name when they get married.
Ioannidou [00:14:16] Or not.
Ganter [00:14:17] Or not. They have a choice.
Ioannidou [00:14:19] Or kind of this nightmare of a last name, but with conviction. I said, I never change my name. This is who I am. Whatever I said, no way. This name, the three vowels, will follow me for life.
Ganter [00:14:33] Oh, I love that. That's fantastic.
Wright [00:14:35] I didn't change my name either, actually. Right is my maiden name.
Ganter [00:14:38] I love that. And I have several colleagues that have never changed their name, but I also have several colleagues that have changed their name. Yeah. And everyone has their own reasons for or for not doing it. And the reason I bring it up is because it's kind of crazy, because if you do change your name and you're trying to, whether you're whatever for whatever reason you're doing it for, you're kind of exposed. If you go back the other way, I guess it's almost a red letter A. When you're walking around, I've had to read to say, Oh my gosh, congratulations. And I'm like, oh gosh, I don't know why it's the congratulations. And no one thinks, Hey, maybe it's the other way.
Wright [00:15:16] Yeah, yeah.
Ganter [00:15:17] But that's, my that's my first sticky situation. I want to kind of segway into one that's a little bit more close to home for me. And it happened a little bit more recently. So when we're in a lot of, our a lot of our procedures, we're doing them under IV sedation and I'll have the, the patient will kind of stretch out their arm. And a lot of times our chairs, they don't get over far enough. So I'll have the patient rest their arm on, on my legs so I can start the IV. Pretty standard set up and their palms facing up. This one gentleman decided to once, his the back of his hand, which, touch was touching my leg the other, this guy decided to turn his hand over and actually grabbed my leg. And then he had a very sexually suggestive comment right afterwards. I froze. You know, they talk about fight or flight or freeze.
Wright [00:16:03] Right. Right.
Ganter [00:16:04] I really didn't know what to say. I had two young dental assistants in there and they were just kind of watching. And one of them couldn't even control or expression. I won't say what he said, but it was very inappropriate. I ignored it. I started the sedation, we started the procedure. And the tricky part was the human in me was so angry. There was so much anger there. How could this guy just say this and violate a professional our professional relationship like that, what gave him the right to come in there? I don't go into a doctor's office and say whatever I want. What gave him the right to do that? And, and also it embarrassed me if I'm being completely honest in front of my assistant.
Wright [00:16:46] Absolutely.
Ganter [00:16:47] And I said nothing. And so there was a little bit of guilt there, little anger. And I and all the, all the while, you still need to do your absolute best to provide care to this patient as you start your procedure. So we finish up the procedure, dismiss the patient to their ride so they can go home and afterwards I have my assistants come in and they're both in their early twenties and these two assistants, one's a female and one's a male. And I said, Look, I'll never be upset if you stand up for yourself and say, Hey, that's not appropriate. That's not right. Even if it means that money walks out the door, I don't care. I want to make sure that you guys feel protected at this office.
McNeill [00:17:29] How would you do things differently if you had to do it over again? So that patient situation.
Ganter [00:17:35] You know, I've actually gone round and round. I mean, what can you do? I'm a, there's so many things here to unpack. One. Is it worth it? There's a voice in my head that saying, look, we're set up. You're going to sedate him. He's probably nervous and he's just having this nervous chatter. It's not right. But what do you do here? And, you know, the other thing is, like when you're new in practice, when you have these big cases, this case is unfortunately a high dollar case. And one of the thoughts I walk through my head is I don't want to embarrass him. That's crazy. But that's one of my thoughts. Like legitimately, I don't want to hurt his feelings.
Wright [00:18:12] But then what happens if, when you have to see that patient at a follow up, like, how was that interaction? You know, when you continue to manage them, do you chart this in your note? Do you, you know, alarm the whole team like, hey, be on the lookout for this, Right? Because I think about those things like a falling down the line of I have to see them again. Yeah.
Ganter [00:18:29] For him, there is no evidence that he would have even thought anything was wrong. He. He just goes about his normal way. It's not that it makes him. You know, we try not to have a female only in there with him. We always try to do the buddy system. Absolutely. And I pose this question, that same question. I was part of a Harvard surgical leadership program, and we had a women's surgeon group on the side here. And I posed this. I said, told the scenario. And shockingly, my scenario was the most G-rated of all of the stories that I heard from some of these women. Yeah. And it's not just in America, it's in Italy, it's in the U.K. It's all over the world.
Ioannidou [00:19:12] In Europe, this is the mainstream. That's not the point, don't even go there. But I want to say that you're absolutely right. And you knew it was your practice, It was your decision. You, you read the room, you made your decision. And, you know, if you are comfortable with it, that's perfect. It's a great resolution. The problem that I see is when those things happen in dental school and they do happen, they do happen to female dental students. And and then, you know, as a matter of fact, we started in many schools, including UConn, we started developing policies to protect students from this, because when the student is exposed to behavior like this, you know, and again, they are conflicted because on one hand, they want to complete the case for credit.
Ganter [00:20:01] Yes, of course.
Ioannidou [00:20:02] And on the other hand.
Ganter [00:20:03] They're trying to get out of there.
Ioannidou [00:20:04] Exactly. And on the other hand, they feel very uncomfortable and they don't know if this continues outside the school. So they are even more vulnerable. So it's such a complicated situation when it happens at their school level.
McNeill [00:20:20] Into Steph's point, Yes, people are always watching you. Yeah. And there have been so many times in any patient interaction, I'll walk out and go, Oh my gosh, I wish I had not done what I just did.
Wright [00:20:32] Yeah.
McNeill [00:20:33] And to have a sit down with your staff and say, this is what happened, quite frankly, I may have done something different if I had to do it over again. You know, not expecting a perfect decision when something like that happens. That's such an unusual thing. And I think it's great to cast light on some of those issues.
Ioannidou [00:20:53] Oh, absolutely. Transparency.
Ganter [00:20:55] It's the transparency and it's also the discussion point. And I also talked about this situation with a group of female dentists in my area. And I was just trying to, I don't know. And it wasn't, I didn't want to suffer in silence if I'm being completely honest. This hurt. Yeah. I don't know why comments like that have to hurt, but they do. And I think for, it hurts my ego and it's frustrating because I don't know why it always has to come back to that point. I don't know where that, that's just kind of those comments, the sexually suggestive comments. Why is, that have to be the end all? Why is it the last little zinger that, you know, you fall kind of subject to? And I guess my frustration is that more women don't kind of speak up about it. And I was actually inspired to start talking to some of these different groups because of some of the books I've been reading from some female athletes and their stories. And so I absolutely love it. And I'm encouraged by some of the women who kind of refused remain silent.
McNeill [00:21:52] And I would say, Steph, it's super important for women to hear these stories and it's super important for men to hear these stories as well.
Ioannidou [00:22:00] Absolutely. And I agree with you. We always have this conversations in the dental school when we bring gender issues and equity issues and harassment discussions. They used to be perceived as women's problems. They are not women's problems. They are society problems. And if men are not in the conversation, we will never change the situation. I really appreciate the fact that you share this story. This is huge and amazing, the way that you transparently share the story with your staff and you, you know, allow them to space, to if this happened again, how to behave and how to react and how to feel free to express themselves. That's great.
Ganter [00:22:38] Thanks.
Wright [00:22:38] Yeah. So speaking of frustrations, we've talked a little bit about that. We've talked about communication, we've talked about burnout, all of these things. My story kind of encompasses a little bit of all of those. So I have this one particular case where I did a consultation with a patient who needed an upper denture. They needed some teeth extracted on the lower they had some perio involved, teeth, excuse me. And they came in. They were by themselves the first go around. It was a female and I did the treatment plan and we were going to just start with the upper, but I made sure that I shared that sooner than later those lower teeth were going to be coming out as well. Right? So I took care of the uppers, delivered the denture. It was an immediate denture. Right. And then I did my post ops with the patient. You know, I saw them, did adjustments, blah, blah, blah. So then a month or two goes by and then the patient comes back. This time she's accompanied by a family member. And so I was just like, Oh, okay. And I am like crazy when it comes down to documentation, at least, you know, I really, really try. And so in this particular instance, I'm super duper excited that we had some documentation on file. So and what I mean by documentation is like, if I present a treatment plan to the patient and they verbally decline, I still present that treatment and we scan it in like even if we change it and give them something else on paper because the patients want to see something different on paper. And if they accept that treatment plan, I still scan in or make sure that it's a recorded what I offered the first go round. So this was all on file, right? So they were just like, No, someone told us. Someone told them that I was going to be doing the extractions for free. And I was just like, I have no idea who said that.
Ganter [00:24:24] I'm going to pause you right there.
Wright [00:24:25] Awkward, as you know. Listen, I was so, I was frustrated because, well, so, so all of this happened with I was actually seeing other patients right in the office. Right. And so then my manager comes to me and is like, okay, doc, I need to kind of pull you in the office for this. And I was just like, okay, what's going on? And so I kind of remember the situation. I go back through the computer and I'm just like, Well, the treatment plan for those teeth are right here. Long story short, I did end up doing those t I did end up extracting those teeth for free. And I know the world is probably going to slaughter me about this, but what I had to think about was what was more important in the situation. And here I am, you know, I'm like the teeth were waving in the wind. It was literally like, you know, it was one of those situations where it's like, it's not going to take me any time. The patient could literally just.
McNeill [00:25:14] Even I could have taken them out.
Wright [00:25:16] You could have easily, could have taken them out herself. And I did decide. I said, you know what? I'm not going to argue back and forth because I'm really solution oriented. And if we would have just continued going back and forth, then a whole bunch of other things I feel could have happened because it did get really heated in the four walls of that office, right? So I ended up doing those extractions for free, but I made sure that the patient signed documentation that I had given them the treatment plan. The person like I went into my office and I typed up, you know, a different type of consent. I made sure that I explained the situation and that all parties involved, like the family member, the patient and myself, the manager, we all signed on the dotted line at that time. And so that's my sticky situation. And as a new dentist, yeah, it was really, really tough because for me it was like, yes, I could have made money off of those. But at the same time, I also have a reputation to uphold this person who they named, who was not there. I wasn't in on that conversation, whether it happened, whether it did it. But at the same time, I was like, I'm not going to argue about this. So like, let's just get it done. You have the denture already, let's just deliver it, and then it was over with from there.
Ioannidou [00:26:30] It's good that it was only the six teeth and not an implant supported over denture.
Wright [00:26:34] Yeah you know right now. Oh no. Now if it was that, then that would have been a completely different story. Yeah. And then, oh, I didn't add that we were, we were a startup, so it was literally within the first month or two of the office being open. And so then on the one hand, I'm like, All right, you know, I'm like, I really need to produce at this time. But then on the other hand, it's just like, I don't want to be the doctor who was a jerk and you know, there was somebody who made this promise. And then I don't deliver on the promise because it doesn't fall on that individual. It falls on me. You know what I mean?
Ganter [00:27:08] I love what you're talking about as far as you see in the forest. Yeah. You're not just seeing the individual trees here. Yeah. And even though you may not have had the production from those six teeth you may have won five more cases of a positive words from those patients.
McNeill [00:27:24] Steph, it makes me think about, Do you want to be right or do you want to be in a relationship? And from a state board regulatory hat standpoint, you would be amazed, the number of complaints that are filed over a $100 bill.
Ganter [00:27:39] Oh, yeah, I'm sure.
McNeill [00:27:41] A consult fee or something else. And the time out of your practice, your interaction with malpractice carriers, your own mental well-being, you're.
Ganter [00:27:51] Yeah.
McNeill [00:27:51] Leaving some money on the table.
Ganter [00:27:53] I was in, say, your, your, your old partner in practice, Ronnie used to say that he say don't be afraid to leave money on the table.
McNeill [00:28:00] And leave money on the table. There are times.
Ganter [00:28:03] Ronnie Rogers.
McNeill [00:28:04] Other dentists have thrown me under the bus clinically and unnecessarily, and I have given back money with a signed release after interacting with my malpractice carrier.
Wright [00:28:16] I do that too.
McNeill [00:28:17] And just say I did this stuff. There's nothing wrong with this. But ,but you know, you have another clinician say something and that throws everything. It doesn't happen very often. But when it does.
Wright [00:28:30] But when it does, yeah.
McNeill [00:28:32] It wears you down. And that's where talking to other people, having connections, saying, Hey, how would you handle this situation? That's why I'm glad you guys are doing this Sticky Situation webcast so people will hear this kind of stuff.
Ioannidou [00:28:45] And I think Dr. Wright's story is amazing because it's really, you know, like that. Exactly. You hit the logistics and the economics of their practice now.
Wright [00:28:54] Well, so we have a little thing that we like to do here on the show where we ask a question and then we go around with rapid fire answers. Is that okay with everybody?
Ganter [00:29:02] Love it.
Wright [00:29:03] Okay. So I want you guys to go around really quickly and complete the sentence. So the best thing about dentistry is., Steph.
Ganter [00:29:11] Freedom.
McNeill [00:29:11] Mandible.
Wright [00:29:13] Doctor Effie?
Ioannidou [00:29:14] Protecting oral health.
Wright [00:29:16] There you go. All right, so you go.
Ioannidou [00:29:18] The academician.
Wright [00:29:20] Said, So what?
McNeill [00:29:21] My answer was terrible. But that was the first thing that came into my head.
Wright [00:29:27] I love freedom. That's actually that's something. Freedom is something for another, another time. Actually, I.
Ganter [00:29:32] I say I could go off on that so much. It's, there's so much freedom within dentistry that and I love it.
Ganter [00:29:37] Okay so more quick fire. Bobby, you're going to start. What's the first word you think of when you hear dentist?
McNeill [00:29:42] Freedom.
Ganter [00:29:43] Stop.
McNeill [00:29:44] You just took your.
Wright [00:29:45] Strike it.
Ganter [00:29:47] Take it out of the reel or whatever. Stop it.
Wright [00:29:49] No. All right. So what about yours? Y'all have had 2 seconds to think of it now, so you should have an answer.
Ganter [00:29:54] Connection.
Wright [00:29:54] Connection. Dr. Effie.
Ioannidou [00:29:56] Fun people.
McNeill [00:29:57] Yes.
Wright [00:29:57] I was going to say type A. So what's the first word ,when you think of when you hear smilecon?
Ganter [00:30:04] Amazing.
McNeill [00:30:05] Fun.
Ioannidou [00:30:05] Smile. I smile, smile, smile.
Wright [00:30:09] Smile. Nice. Okay. What's the first word you think of when you hear candy?
Ganter [00:30:13] Hershey's.
McNeill [00:30:13] Caries.
Ioannidou [00:30:15] Oh, caries too. Or you know, something bad.
Wright [00:30:17] I was going to say sweets.
McNeill [00:30:20] Dental caries.
Ganter [00:30:20] You guys are not chocolate loving. Oh, my gosh.
McNeill [00:30:24] I'm an oral surgeon.
Wright [00:30:25] All right, last one. Let's see. What's the first word you think of when you hear sticky situation? Steph, you go.
Ganter [00:30:31] Opportunity.
McNeill [00:30:33] Challenging.
Wright [00:30:34] Dr. Effie.
Ioannidou [00:30:35] Resilience.
Wright [00:30:36] Resilience. I was going to say awkward moments.
Announcer [00:30:40] On the next Dental Sound Bites.
Wright [00:30:42] Difficult conversations in and out of the dental office. We're talking about the importance of mastering communication skills and how to tackle tough conversations. Get the tools and the knowledge to communicate effectively with your team, learn from crucial conversations, and set your practice up for success. Well, you guys, this has been such an amazing episode. It has been great to have you all here. And we want to just say thank you. Thank you so much for your time and for all of the wisdom and the stories that you shared with all of our listeners and with yours as well. So can you tell everyone where they can find you all? Go ahead and plug all of your channels. Your show. Let everybody know where they can get more of this.
Ganter [00:31:29] YouTube app Between Two Teeth. Our Instagram is at B, the number two teeth. I would have to say from Bobby and I, Dr. Wright, Dr. Effie. Thank you guys so much for doing what you do. It is tough. We know how tough it is to show up every day and do things just like you guys do. You got to be on. You got to have a smile. It doesn't matter what kind of day you had. You got to get that call. Thank you, guys.
Ioannidou [00:31:54] We love it. Thank you so much.
Wright [00:31:56] Thank you. So if you like this episode, go ahead and share it with a friend or a colleague.
Ioannidou [00:32:01] Subscribe to this podcast wherever you are listening so you can get the latest episodes. You can also rate and review and follow us on social media.
Announcer [00:32:11] Thank you for joining us. Dental Sound Bites is an American Dental Association podcast. You can also find this show, resources and more on the ADA member app and online at ADA.org/Podcast.