S3 EP02: Sticky Situations: Halloween Edition

From police calls to affairs to cows(?!) dentists share their wildest office stories.

ADA Dental Sound Bites Dr. Simone Ellis

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Episode notes

Sticky Situations: Halloween Edition

Every dentist has a tale that haunts them, whether it’s a ghoulish case, a ghosting patient or just an awkward interaction that made us want to scream. In this special Halloween episode, taped live at SmileCon 2023 in Orlando, we’re confronting those difficult (and sometimes scary) situations and discussing how we handled them, what we might have done differently and what we’ve learned. Dim the lights, grab your favorite pumpkin-flavored drink, and get ready to howl (with laughter)!

Special Guest: Dr. Simone Ellis

“ it is a pleasure for me to work on you. And it is my responsibility to take care of you. However, I don't have to take on anything that I don't want, any type of behavior that's inappropriate. “

Dental Sound Bites Season 3 Episode 2 with Dr. Simone Ellis

-Dr. Simone Ellis

Show Notes

  • This episode was recorded live at SmileCon 2023, in Orlando, FL, in front of a live audience.
  • Our special guest this episode is Dr. Simone Ellis, from Houston, TX. Dr. Ellis runs a private dental practice, and hosts a podcast called Beyond the Chair, among other professional ventures.
  • Dr. Ellis shares hair-raising experiences in her practice, from dealing with challenging patients to life-threatening emergencies in the dental chair. Plus, how she was able to handle these situations and lead her team through them.
  • Dr. Wright shares a wild story of a routine procedure that led to a patient calling the police to her office.
  • Dr. Ioannidou shares the tale of a dental procedure that turned into an unsolved mystery.
  • The hosts and guests talk about the important advice they’ve learned on how to handle and recover from unexpected sticky and scary situations.
  • Dr. Mike Giuliano, a dentist from Chicago, IL, shares a bloody horror story from his dental student days with the audience. His story taught him a valuable lesson, emphasizing the unpredictable nature of the dental profession.
  • Dr. Britany Baker, from Charlotte, NC, shares a bizarre and unforgettable tale of a patient encounter that leaves the hosts and audience in disbelief.
  • Dr. Kim Kutsch, from Oregon, tells us a humorous and unexpected encounter that left him red-faced, and highlights the importance of tact when chatting with patients.
  • All dentists list the most unexpected and surprising bits of good advice they have received in the middle of a difficult situation.


View episode transcript

Wright: [00:00:00] This episode was recorded live at SmileCon 2023. Enjoy! 

Hi, y'all! Hello! 

Ioannidou: [00:00:08] Hey! 

Ellis: [00:00:09] Hello, everyone. 

Wright: [00:00:10] Super excited to be recording in front of a live audience today. 

Ioannidou: [00:00:14] Very, very exciting and very exciting episode. 

Wright: [00:00:17] Yes, very, very exciting episode.

Ioannidou: [00:00:22] We are going to approach some creepy, scary, and very difficult situations and stories from practice. Yes. So we are going to talk about this and let's see how practitioners handle this creepy situation.

Ellis: [00:00:36] Scary stuff. Scary stuff that make us crazy. Yes. Yes. 

Ioannidou: [00:00:39] Unpredictable. So I'm Dr. Effie Ioannidou and

Wright: [00:00:43] I'm Dr. ArNelle Wright and this is Dental Sound Bites. Yay. Let's get into it guys. Love it. Oh, I love the energy. All right. 

Announcer: [00:00:53] 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.

Ioannidou: [00:01:08] So this is supposed to be an episode that I think it's a fan favorite, right? 

Wright: [00:01:12] Yes, yes. 

Ioannidou: [00:01:13] So we are diving right into the sticky situations and the scary stories. So real dentist, real stuff that's not fictional. This is all very exciting because we are recording in front of you guys. Live audience. Yeah, first for us. So we really, really love it.

Wright: [00:01:31] And you know, I'm going to go ahead and welcome our guest today. Dr. Simone Ellis, who joined us all the way from Texas.

Ellis: [00:01:38] Houston, Texas. 

Wright: [00:01:41] Yeeeeessss. Hello. Hello. Please tell us a little bit about yourself. 

Ellis: [00:01:45] Thank you guys. first for having me on. I'm excited to be here with these ladies in the pink. Isn't Barbie fabulous, right?

I love it. I love it. But I'm from Houston, actually born and raised from Kansas City, Kansas. I don't think that they thought this country girl would make it that far, but she is now Houston, Texas. I practice two days a week in my private practice at Missouri City. It's called Smile Design Studios. And I have done all of the things.

I have a podcast myself called Beyond the Chair. Which is, what do we do as dentists outside of the chair to become amazing individuals, right? Because we think about it. We sit and we serve. But what are you doing outside of the dental chair to become an awesome person? And I think that that's important.

I also have Small Design Society, which is a membership group. Okay, that is for doctors, to talk about all things clinical. How do we become amazing providers? And the last thing that I do is, I do coaching. Okay. I have some amazing doctors that we're really working on how to build life first, work second, balance third.

So my goal is all of these.

Wright: [00:02:49] Ooh, I love that. That was big. That was big.

Ellis: [00:02:49] Because come on guys, like. We are people, but if you're not whole, it really makes the industry a lot harder. So that's what I do.

Wright: [00:02:57] Oh my gosh. Yeah. We definitely have to connect on that one. Thank you so much. 

Ioannidou: [00:03:01] So you practice two days a week.

Ellis: [00:03:03] So I went from six days to four days to two.

And I figured if I could be efficient in systems and strategies that I could produce the same  amount of money that I was doing in six days in four, and then four days in two. And so when I am in there, you know, I am in there. These are twenty, thirty thousand dollar days that I have because I'm like, I got to get it done.

So like, my goal is not to make it easier, but become more efficient, more streamlined. So that was what I did. So I'm Tuesdays and Wednesdays in the office and then, as you guys know, creating content, that's not easy. So that is a Monday, Thursday job. And then on Friday, that's for your girl.

That's for me to like, do all the spa things and all the cute things and relax, get into my own space. So that's my life. Yeah. 

Ioannidou: [00:03:49] I'm jealous. I am. I'm jealous of your life. 

Ellis: [00:03:51] No, it's just a system, right? It's just a balance. We just create the strategy and make it executed. 

Wright: [00:03:56] I love it. So, well, this is a topic that we come back to every single season because we really love all of the feedback that we're getting, and you all who are our listeners, y'all really love sharing.

Y'all love hearing all about these sticky situations, the weird things that we as dentists, we've all gone through. Yes. So I cannot wait to get this party started. Dr. Ellis, we're going to just put you right on up.

Ellis: [00:04:22] Let's go. Let's talk about the crazy and the scary. Okay. 

Wright: [00:04:25] So can you tell us one of your sticky situations or any horror stories that you've experienced in clinic?

Ellis: [00:04:30] Oh my God, where do we begin, right? I think like walking into the clinic, it's just scary sometimes as a whole. Like you never know what you're going to get. It's like a Cracker Jack box. And I'm like, what's the surprise that's going to happen today?

So, I mean, I've had the stuff that's been as crazy as dental terrorism, right? You guys know these patients that come in there and like, they're going to rule the whole entire office. And the day you see him on the schedule and they're just like, I don't want to see that person today. Right? The people that have, 

Wright: [00:04:57] this is real, 

Ellis: [00:04:58] this is a real life. So, um, the people that have decided on how they're going to come up with their dentistry and their dental plan, the way that they want it to be.

Right? Yeah. That's horrific for who? The dentist that has to provide it. The ones that get educated on ChatGPT, TikTok, Google, you name it. All of that to me is terrifying. And even the patients where, my team cracks up because I count teeth all the time. I'm like, is this 22 we're working on? Are we 22?

Are we working on, are we working on 22? Because God forbid the scary situation of you pulling the wrong tooth. The time that you work on the wrong tooth. So I think to me, Dentistry is just scary in general, whether it's the patient that's stroking out. Have you had that? I have. I've had a patient in the chair have a stroke.

You haven't had that? That's a classy day. What about the patient that had a seizure? That's happened. I mean, so these are all things that really terrify you as a provider.

Ioannidou: [00:05:55] And I think these things are more terrifying when they happen in a private practice setting. I practice in a hospital setting.

Okay, so it's a completely different, very different security space, right? Yeah, very different. You feel anything goes wrong medically? You are there, you're in the hospital, 

Ellis: [00:06:12] Correct. Private practice. And I started my own private practice one year out of dental school. Oh, wow. 

Wright: [00:06:18] Right? One year out of dental school?

Ellis: [00:06:20] One year. That's crazy. Like, June of 2010, I had my own office, so all of the horrible stories that you could imagine happened in the first year. The first year. It was the first year. It was like, let's mess up everything. And I think that just not knowing what you don't know, even from the standpoint of when the patient had the seizure and yeah, you talk about these things in your morning huddles and in your, your meetings. And then when it really happens, you're like, oh my god, this is go time. Like, I gotta figure out how to get myself, this patient taken care of. But also is my team ok?

Okay. Yeah So yeah, it's just a lot. 

Ioannidou: [00:06:57] That's really scary. And very responsible. 

Ellis: [00:07:01] Yeah, I think that those, those are terrifying. And then I think the other scary situations are my patients that go overseas. Oh, I love these ones. Oh yeah. These are the ones that go in like, okay, I can't afford your dental work.

And I've already told you what you needed to get done. And you go overseas and get something completely different. And then you're like, Hey doc, can you fix me? Check it? Yeah. I'm like, what is this? Like, I don't even know. I don't even want to touch this exploding bomb that's about to go off in your mouth.

So That's terrifying, too, because, do you decide as a practitioner to take on or inherit a case that you don't know if it's gonna put you in a sticky situation or not. So, I mean, I don't know. Dentistry can just be scary. 

Ioannidou: [00:07:40] Dentistry is scary. And you, you know, you have to balance between the responsibility that you have towards the patient. You know, a patient with a problem that you have to, you feel that you have to treat, but on the other hand, as you said, you inherit someone else's mess. 

Ellis: [00:07:55] And that is scary because you have no idea what you're like getting. I don't know what you put on that. I don't know what is underneath that crown.

Like I have no idea. And then I'm responsible for this. Did I inform the patient ahead of time? Like, Hey, I don't know what I'm about to see. When you're coming right out of school. A lot of times you don't tell the patient enough information, right?

Wright: [00:08:15]Do you feel like it's because you haven't developed that skill?

Definitely. You haven't developed that language. Developed that like it's on auto. It's like automatic for you to think to say, okay, this, this, this, this, this. 

Ellis: [00:08:26] Well, with competence comes confidence, right? And so you're just not competent enough really. Cause you're like, I'm just now getting out of school. I understand the basics, but I haven't had enough of these procedures to be competent. And so therefore I can walk into a room now. I've been 14 years in the game, so my confidence is there, right? 

Ioannidou: [00:08:45] Probably also the training that we get is not that much towards appropriate communication with the patient. 

Ellis: [00:08:52] Correct. 

Ioannidou: [00:08:53] Very technical, but not advanced in communication. So you go out there exposed in the first year and you're like, so where do I start?

Wright: [00:09:00] What do I do? 

Ellis: [00:09:02] And, and the lack of understanding your own personal identity is important, right? And it took me probably till year six, where I went and had the opportunity to shadow one of the top cosmetic dentists in New York. And I got a chance not just to see him technically, but to see how he operated with his patients, his temperament, his flow.

Now, this is an older white Jewish guy, right? So his, his environment, how he interacted with patients was going to be totally different than this black girl from Kansas, right? But what I saw was his authenticity. What I saw was his ability to connect. And what it taught me was is, don't try to be him because he's amazing in his own right.

Become yourself. And that also, I think, helps. You don't know how to be your own authentic self yet because you're just kind of figuring out dentistry as a whole. Right? 

Wright: [00:09:54] Yeah. Like how to be a doctor altogether. Right. A doctor. You know what I mean? Yeah. How to even be a leader, right? 

Ellis: [00:09:59] Correct. Correct.


Ioannidou: [00:10:00] Yeah. I mean, did you have any scary stories?

Wright: [00:10:03] Oh, yes, I do have a scary story. So, um, one that comes to mind very readily. You guys are not going to believe this. So, like, you know how when you have a patient come in, you're doing an exam and you're going to percuss a tooth to see if it needs endo. So, I percussed a tooth.

I told the patient exactly what I was going to do. The patient got irate. The patient ended up calling the cops on me. Yes! So 

Ellis: [00:10:28] for touching the tooth?

Wright: [00:10:30] You banged on my tooth with the mirror! Ad I was like, 

Ellis: [00:10:34] So you were abusing the tooth? How dare you? 

Wright: [00:10:40] But, but listen, okay. So the thing about it is I was two years out.

That, that traumatized me because I'm like, is this what I have to do? So like, it keeps me on edge, even though I try before I do any exams. This is what you should expect. I try to lay it all out which still doesn't always work, by the way. It doesn't matter like how much information you give, you still can, like, fall short of course from a patient's, you know, expectations. It's just that human piece. But it really traumatized me. I was just like, oh my gosh! Like, the patient called the cops on me. Like what's gonna happen? You know? You're new, you think doom and gloom about every little thing. But, yeah, a patient called the cops on me for doing a percussion test, so… 

Ellis: [00:11:22] I have another one that was really good.

Okay. Let me share this one. So I'm first out of school, right? Okay. And I am working at this office where he has a 10, 000 square foot practice, right? 

Wright: [00:11:32] 10, 000 square feet? 

Ellis: [00:11:34] 10, 000 square feet. So I mean, it was every specialty you can imagine, like amazing, right? But he wasn't a great doctor, and I'm not just saying that because, like, I'm, I'm judging.

It was really like, I would just go into the office and be like, I don't know what, this is going, what is going to happen. He was also not only sleeping with the patients, but sleeping with the team as well. Oh! Okay, so this is the drama, guys. You guys are ready for this? You guys are ready for the juicy, yes!

They're into the juice! Alright, it's crazy, right? That is, it's going. Y'all are into the juice. Right, so, and I'm sitting here, I'm, I'm just out of school. This is why I opened my office a year out, because I was like, I can't go through this, this is crazy. No ma'am. So all of a sudden I hear, What is going on?

And it is this husband of a patient that he’d been sleeping with, coming into the office in the Pedo department and destroys the whole Pedo section. I mean, when I tell you it was like the scariest thing to be on that side of dentistry, while there were Pedo patients there, This was like, it was horrifying.

So... Jerry Springer, yes. Completely. 

Ioannidou: [00:12:44] That's like a live TV. 

Ellis: [00:12:45] I could not put in my notice fast enough, guys. Like, I was like... This is crazy. The office got shut down. I mean, it was... It was wild. And I was like, this can't be dentistry.

Wright: [00:12:58]It's hard to, it's hard to hear, but it's like grateful, you know, like, I don't know.

I celebrate sometimes when, when proper treatment happens or whatever. Because you know, our goal is to take care of our patients.

Ioannidou: [00:13:10] There are scary, really, really scary situations you can face. I remember my first year out of residency. Okay. I, you know, I had my own practice. I was, like, super confident. I'm ruling the world.

I know everything. I can place implants left and right, right? I suppose. So, yeah. So, I'm supposed to place an implant on a missing 27. Took all the x rays, studied the area, you know, mental foramen's far away. Right, right. Straightforward case, plenty of bone. 

Wright: [00:13:40] So we thought. 

Ioannidou: [00:13:41] Yeah, yeah. Everything was perfect.

Textbook, right? Perfect. Flipped the flap, everything's going great. Placed the implant, and then, then it... Take a PA after the surgery, no issues with the patient. Everything went smooth. And then at the PA, I see a radiolucency at the apex of the implant, and I'm like, where is the mental foramen? Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Where, where is it? It, was it there or here? What happened? So I go to the pan, I see that it was between the premolars. I'm like, what the heck is this? Yeah. So I still played cool, of course. 

Wright: [00:14:13] Right, right, right. Yes, yes.

Ioannidou: [00:14:14] Cold sweat. Yes. And I said, when you go home and you recover from the anesthesia, call me please.

So they called. They were fine. Who? To this day. I don't know what it was. It was not the foramen for sure. It's crazy. But oh my God, I was

Wright: [00:14:32] You were freaking out. Oh, 

Ellis: [00:14:33] you're talking about it. 

Ioannidou: [00:14:36] You should never, never have been. Oh my God. Always. 

Ellis: [00:14:39] Wow, and you still don't know what it is? It's still a mystery to this day.

Mystery unsolved. 

Ioannidou: [00:14:45] The good thing is that everything functions. Everything works well, lips are felt. I love it. It's great. I love it. It was unbelievable. 

Wright: [00:14:55] Very unbelievable. I was gonna say, um, one thing that's really important to help some of our listeners is how we handle those situations. So, Dr. Ellis, we know that you, in one, one instance, you put in your notice real quick.

Ellis: [00:15:08] Real fast, like, this is not for me. 

Wright: [00:15:09] And that's a way to handle a situation. Like, let's be real. That is a way to handle a situation. For sure. And with your other experience, how would you recommend for listeners to handle sticky situations if they're ever in something like that? And, and Dr. Effie, you can, you can comment on that too.

Ellis: [00:15:25] Well, I think that a lot of times as doctors, we get very focused on doing the work, but not the training, the team. Love it. Okay. Oh, I love this. I think that's important, right? We got to train the team properly when those sticky situations happen, right? So the patient or the assistant, if their face is sweating blood, sweat and tears, right, while something is going on, that's alarming to the patient, right?

It really has to be a flow as far as when we get ourselves in situations where we're like, I don't know what the next step is. What does the team know to do as far as their responses, right? So have conversations in morning huddles, have conversations in your team trainings to know. Hey, if we have a patient that has a seizure, what is gonna be our standard protocol?

Wright: [00:16:05] What's protocol? Right? Yeah. I love that. 

Ellis: [00:16:06] Yeah. So I think that that's really what I would say is for the most part, and then for doctors who are uncomfortable with procedures and things that maybe make them uncomfortable, like get, become competent. And how you become competent is through training.

Wright: [00:16:20] Training. Yeah. There you go. Yeah. Yeah. 

Ioannidou: [00:16:21] And refreshers. Yes, refreshers. 

Ellis: [00:16:23] Oh my God. If we're not students of learning, like, I mean, we're here, it's like. I take learning so seriously. It's a thing, right? 

Wright: [00:16:30 And I love that. Even after 14 years of practicing, I just want to give you all the flowers. Like, I love that.

Ellis: [00:16:35] Thank you. Thank you. No, for sure. I mean, we gotta be hungry, right? Technology is kicking our butts left and right. Yes. I gotta beat it at some point. We gotta beat, yeah. So, you gotta train. For sure. 

Announcer: [00:16:47] Anyone can listen to Dental Sound Bites, but we have a secret just for ADA members. You get access to exclusive bonus content in the ADA member app. Unlock it today at ada.org/app. 

Announcer: [00:17:02] Let's be honest. Networking events can be intimidating. Lunch meetings can be awkward. Now you can connect with dentists from anywhere using messages and calls in our ADA member app. Download in the App Store, Google Play, or visit ada.org/app. 

Wright: [00:17:19] I hear we have some guests. 

Ioannidou: [00:17:20] We have guests, yeah.

Wright: [00:17:22] Yeah. Love it. All right. Who have some chilling stories to share? So we do have a microphone right here. Um, where is Dr. Mike Giuliano? Hey, come on up to the mic. Can you please tell us your story? 

Giuliano: [00:17:36] So my name is Dr. Mike Giuliano. I practice in Chicago, Illinois. I graduated from UIC and in 2021. So let's take you back to when I was in school.

There you go. I was a D3. And you're getting into your, you know, your cases, you're feeling a little bit better, you're working up on your confidence a little bit. And so, I'll never forget this story, uh, at UIC we have operatories. And so, you know, you can kind of see in, see across, um, our, our faculty walk up and down the halls.

And so, we have, I have a patient, I'm, I'm working on the lower left side. A couple fillings, number 19, number 20, um, straightforward stuff. Um, and I'm getting ready to finish up, you know, and I, this patient's amazing and I'm going in there and, and we don't have assistance. So I got the slow speed evacuation, hanging out the patient's mouth.

I'm trying to block the tongue and, uh, the filling's pretty much done. I got to go in there with, like, a little polishing tip. Okay. So safe, right? As you would assume. And so I'm blocking the mouth and blocking the mouth wall. You know, I had, I've been polishing and this patient swallowed, floor of the mouth came way up and over.

I still have yet to see this in, in my couple of years since and I'm glad, but, uh, it came over number 19 and, um, and that tip got wrapped up in the floor of the mouth. So naturally I didn't realize how big of a deal was it at first, until all of a sudden there was a lot of blood, and it wouldn't stop, and so I'm grasping at, you know, the gauze, I got the slow speed, I'm trying to, again, you guys mentioned it before as well, trying to keep that cool face so the patient doesn't really understand exactly what's going on, so that I can get a faculty over, so I managed to flag one down, and, uh, and then you know, naturally we went into the Perio department, we got someone to suture it and all, all turned out all right. So, but I'll never forget it. And I'm glad I made that mistake in dental school and we learned from it and we move on. 

Wright: [00:19:46] Yeah. And you mentioned something so great: that you learned from it. Yeah. I wouldn't even call it a mistake. I would call it. A learning opportunity. Yeah. You know what I mean?

Yeah. What would you say? 

Ioannidou: [00:19:55] I would say that, thank God, there are periodontists out there. There, exactly. 

Giuliano: [00:19:58] I know, I know. Says the periodontist, by the way. I know, you guys are life. No, I completely agree. 

Wright: [00:20:05] Yeah, yeah, yeah. 

Ioannidou: [00:20:06] It's an opportunity. I think it was, it was the right moment for you to learn, to have this experience in dental school.

Yeah. So, you know, if something like this similar happens the first year you're out, you've seen it. You've seen what they did. And you, you know how to stop the bleeding. Yeah, absolutely. So that, that's perfect. 

Giuliano: [00:20:23] Yeah. So that's my story, not that's perfect for the patient and for you. Yeah, yeah. Yeah. 

Wright: [00:20:27] And Dr. Simone, what are your thoughts?

Thank, because you have an associate, right? Yes. Like you have been in, been there to help, you know, situations. 

Ellis: [00:20:34] Oh, yeah. Talk to us about, she breaks teeth all the time. I love her , right? Yes. I know she's somewhere here. But I mean, yeah, we're just, that's what, that's what our responsibility is, is that as the associate, I mean the mentor to the associate, that's what I consider it.

Sure. You're not just doing a service for us. Like I gotta guide you. And so I think for the scary situations, those are the ones that you never forget. Yes, you always remember and like you said you're always empowered to do better by that, right? I can't. I count teeth because I saw one of my colleagues pull the wrong tooth. Yeah, and forever in a day.

I'm like 21. Yeah, 21. Are we working on 21? Are you sure today is 21, you know? Or cutting the tissue? Like who hasn't done that?

Ioannidou: [00:21:16] Everybody. 

Wright: [00:21:16] Yeah, yeah, yeah. I mean, the tissue just gets in the way.

Ellis: [00:21:20] It's just annoying. It's like, why are you there? It's in the way. Why are you there, tongue? Why did you need to be there?

You didn't ask for that tongue to be there in that space, right? So disrespectful. Like, the audacity of that tongue. Yeah. I love the fact.

Ioannidou: [00:21:31] I have to admit that there are some people that have so powerful tongues. What is it? And you're like, you're trying to retract. 

Wright: [00:21:40] And then they oppose you, right? 

Ellis: [00:21:41] You just know they're cussing people out all the time in life.

They're just, that muscle is always moving. 

Ioannidou: [00:21:46] Oh my God, this drives me crazy. I'm like, relax your tongue. Like, relax. And they resist. 

Ellis: [00:21:51] Oh my God. And the cheek. No, I love the mastodon muscle. The one that's like really tight. Not only, I'm pulling here, and I'm pulling here. I didn't work out today, guys. Leave me alone.

Like, I'm not that strong. 

Wright: [00:22:00] Sometimes you do have to eat your Wheaties. 

Ellis: [00:22:01] Yes, I agree. I agree. 

Ioannidou: [00:22:04] We have one more story. Yes, we do. Britany Baker. Where are you, Dr. Baker? Come on down. 

Baker: [00:22:13] Hello. 

Wright: [00:22:14] Hey. Tell us your story, Dr. Baker. 

Baker: [00:22:16] Okay. It's a little bit crazy and bizarre. 

Wright: [00:22:19] We love crazy. And that's what the audience loves, right?

Baker: [00:22:23] Alright, so basically my patient came in for a limited exam, never met this patient before. The assistant was taking the chief complaint and the patient believed that they were part cow. So cow, like C O W. Cattle. So, claimed that half the DNA in their body was part cow. Dead serious. 

Wright: [00:22:46] I can believe that.

Baker: [00:22:47] Which is like funny, it's like funny to laugh at, but then whenever you're there and you're at work and the patient's paying to be in the chair telling you that they're a cow, like what do you say? Right. You know? 

Ellis: [00:22:58] So basically at any point, 

Baker: [00:23:01] we're kind of explaining, they were saying, you know, all of the men in my family, whenever someone is birthed, we go out to the yard and we graze on grass and the patient had very large buckle, um, exostoses, lingual.  And they claim that their previous dentists had cut off their gums.

They didn't have teeth before, but yeah, we still don't really know why this patient came in, um, what they really wanted. We were like, that's just really normal anatomy. 

Wright: [00:23:28] Yeah. But you know what? 

Ellis: [00:23:31] Oh my God. All I was just thinking was that mental health is a real thing.

Wright: [00:23:34] That’s where I was going to go with that. It’s like, we see some strange things in our practices and sometimes we're faced with like What do we do?

Do we proceed with this relationship? Do we cut it off? Like, like,

Ioannidou: [00:23:49] it's a balance. 

Wright: [00:23:50] Yeah, it's a very sure because you have to take care of yourself too. Like when the wellness piece comes into play, like we have to take care of ourselves. 

Ioannidou: [00:23:56] Yeah. Oh my God, this is

Ellis: [00:24:00] I can't get it together. 

Wright: [00:24:02] Well, moving, moooo-ving right along.

Got that? That is good. Right. Is there anyone in the audience who'd like to share a sticky situation or a story with us? 

Ellis: [00:24:14] I see him back here. He's looking like I see him. I see he wants to share. He wants to share. He's been practicing. He knows. I see it. Yay! Good! 

Wright: [00:24:24] Okay,

Ellis: [00:24:28] So we have a sticky situation.

Kutsch: [00:24:32] I've got, I've got a bunch of good stories. I practiced dentistry for 42 years, clinical practice. I've been retired for four years. My name is Kim Kutsch. I'm from Albany, Oregon. As you were telling these stories, I was young in practice. And I had a family of patients, uh, all girls, they were like 14, 18, and maybe 21.

And the 14 year old came in one day, it was in the summertime, for some restorative work, and I noticed she, she had like tattoos down her leg. And I was like, oh man, this kid's 14. I don't know what she wants to do as a career someday, but that could be a problem, right? And this is like years ago. Tattoos today, everybody's got a number of them.

And so, like two weeks later, her oldest sister, this is summertime, comes in for some treatment, and she's sitting in my chair, and she was wearing a tube top. And I said, um, so guys, you know, I saw your younger sister. I was kind of surprised, quite frankly, to see these tattoos down her leg. And then, not thinking very clearly, I said, because she seemed a little offended, right?

You know, I could tell something was wrong. And I said, oh, so where's your tattoo? And she looked at me. And then,

Ellis: [00:25:52] and I, 

Kutsch: [00:25:53] and I immediately turned my head and I cannot believe I just said that and that, and my assistant is sitting there, her jaw dropped and I, I'm I don't know. I get up and leave the room like I do not know what to say, but come back in. I'm coming back in when she's got a bib on and we're not going to talk about tattoos and I've never asked anybody ever again where their tattoo was because if they have one, they're going to show it to me.

Wright: 00:26:22] Thank you so much for sharing that story. Oh my God. Oh my God. It is so amazing to have seasoned dentists in the audience. Yes, that right there. It was a word. 

Ellis: [00:26:34] That's a classic story. Oh my God. Yeah, 

Wright: [00:26:37] that was amazing.

Ioannidou: [00:26:39] But you know, these are scary and difficult situations and funny. Some of them. Yeah. You know, I mean, we, we definitely, as you said, we need to have the skills to bounce back and keep coming back.

Yeah, right. 

Ellis: [00:26:54] Yes. Yeah. You cannot be better. The alcohol. 

Wright: [00:26:59] That's me.

Maybe not. 

Ioannidou: [00:27:05] So have you guys received any important advice to help you manage or recover from these sticky, difficult situations and go on? 

Ellis: [00:27:18] I think meeting people where they are. Right. I think that that's important. My goal. Yeah. So I think that understanding that people have a lot going on, that people have a lot, they make mistakes too.

Right. And I think that just meeting people at a very safe space to say, Hey, if you mess up, you know,  I own that. Like, oh, if I nick the tongue, I'm so sorry that that happened here. This is what happened. This could happen here. Properly informing. So meeting people where they are and then psychologically not trying to overextend yourself when people are somewhere that you're not. Right? With the cow situation.

I'm not about to start mooing or even try to justify what's the logic behind it. That might, that is something that that person is dealing with. And we can move on if it's related to teeth. I also am a big proponent of, if something is scary and not related to something that I've done, but something that they're bringing in, we have to think as healthcare providers that we are providing a service.

Yes, okay. Right? 

Ioannidou: [00:28:19] Sure. 

Ellis: [00:28:20] And so what I mean by that is, is that it is a pleasure for me to work on you. And it is my responsibility to take care of you. However, I don't have to take on anything that I don't want, any type of behavior that's inappropriate. 

Wright: [00:28:34] Yes, correct. 

Ioannidou: [00:28:34] Very right.

Ellis: [00:28:35] Right? And I think that we forget sometimes of being people of

service that, you know, we don't have to accept everything, you know, when you feel like things are happening to you and it's, you know, disrespectful or not in a place where you can't meet that person mentally. It is okay.

Ioannidou: [00:28:51] And if they make you feel uncomfortable. 

Ellis: [00:28:52] Right. It's okay to let them go. It's okay to say that I'm not able to serve you.

And I want to empower more doctors to feel that way. You got into this to be of care of health. Yeah. Yes. And I serve purely from that. That means that I  do that with all the love in my heart. If my patients can't meet me with that same type of love back for what I'm doing 

Ioannidou: [00:29:14] and commitment. Commitment 

Ellis: [00:29:15] and commitment, 

Wright: [00:29:16] reciprocate.

Ellis: [00:29:16] We may not be. Yeah. We're the 95 that doesn't belong together. Yeah. Yeah. we're the 95. 

Wright: [00:29:24] The 95. Ah, well, last question. What was the most unexpected or surprising bit of good advice you received when you were in the middle of a hard situation?

Ellis: [00:29:35] It's called practicing dentistry. Love it.

Yeah. Right? Yeah. We are practicing every single day, every day I'm getting better. It is literally practicing. And so when I take it from that perspective of some days at practice. I crush it. Yeah, I'm killing it. I'm successful at practice. And other days I may not be the best. 

Ioannidou: [00:29:58] That's right. 

Ellis: [00:29:59] And that's okay.

That's okay. It's okay. Because every day Michael Jordan didn't have the best day. 

Wright: [00:30:06] correct. 

Ellis: [00:30:07] Um, whoever you follow from us, like they're every day is not 100%. I do my best to be 100%. 

Wright: [00:30:12] Exactly. We strive for perfection. 

Ellis: [00:30:14] Correct. Yes. But it's okay on those days that I don't. And for the crown that didn't sit properly and I seated it and then I see them six months later and I'm like, Yeah.

Wright: [00:30:23] Like who said that? What day was that? 

Ellis: [00:30:26]I have no problem of redoing it at no charge. I own it. I don't like how that sits. And I'm a person that wants it to be better. Right. So I think understanding that you practice dentistry every day. That's the best advice the doctor gave me. And I said, from that moment on, I understood that.

Wright: [00:30:40] I love that. 

Ioannidou: [00:30:41] And I think it's really important to having said all this. You know, it's very important for us, deep in our core, to think about, you know, all these feelings, all these, you know, small failures, difficult, sticky situations, will, will pass. And, you know, 10, 15 years from now, you won't even remember.


Ellis: [00:31:01] Unless it's somebody showing you there. Oh, this is your mentor. Right? That's unforgettable. 

Ioannidou: [00:31:07] He's not going to forget that ever.

Ellis: [00:31:10] That's unforgettable. 

Wright: [00:31:11] I was going to say one of my mentors gave me some pieces of advice just to celebrate the wins. Yeah. Because oftentimes we focus on what we perceive as failures or losses or, you know, things where we need improvements, but find the win and celebrate that.

And I think that does us all good. You know what I 

Ioannidou: [00:31:28] mean? 

Ellis: [00:31:29] We're way too hard on ourselves in this industry, and I love that we are, we have to love on ourselves because if we don't do it, yeah. As RuPaul says, if you don't love yourself, how you gonna love anybody else? Yes. Okay. For all my Drag Queen fans.


Announcer: [00:31:47] on the next Dental Sound Bites. 

Wright: [00:31:49] We're diving into solutions tailored specifically for dental students and professionals. Strategies, tips and resources designed to help you plan for and conquer the financial challenges that come from launching your dental career. 

Ioannidou: [00:32:06] It was so nice having you here.

Ellis: [00:32:12] Thank you 

Ioannidou: [00:32:12] I learned a lot.

Ellis: [00:32:13] I think that scary situations, you guys have made them less scary. You made them cute. Cute, scary, creepy situations. 

Ioannidou: [00:32:22] That was creepy. So, we thank you so much, Dr. Ellis. It was great having you here. We learned a lot. I loved being on. We enjoyed the stories. 

Ellis: [00:32:31] You guys are doing an amazing job.

So thank you for continuing to promoting that information. 

Ioannidou: [00:32:35] Your whole profile with coaching and social media presence. This is amazing. Very energizing. 

Ellis: [00:32:40] Thank you. I don't know when I'm sleeping, but it won't be today. 

Wright: [00:32:45] Thank you so much. 

Ioannidou: [00:32:46] Thank you to the audience. Also, so that they brought up so many nice stories. Yay. If you like this episode, then go ahead and share it with a friend or with a colleague. Then for sure subscribe to our podcast wherever you're listening. Yes. Hit the button so you can get the latest episodes. 

Wright: [00:33:10] Yes. You can also rate and write a review and follow us on social media. 

Ioannidou: [00:33:16] And don't forget the conversation continues on the ADA member app. The best app. 

Announcer: [00:33:23] 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.