Some time ago, having visited a hygienist as part of my dental examinations, I faced what I can only describe as prejudice. My Dentist had already mentioned to me that there was evidence of reflux on my teeth.

I have suffered with reflux since the age of 28, I think it’s partly because I was premature, I also have Cerebral Palsy and having a baby can cause it. I had never had this particular hygienist before. From the minute I stepped into the room, she worked on the assumption that I wasn’t looking after my oral hygiene.

She also didn’t ask if there was anything that I was dealing with that might have presented itself. Her body language, her words and the verbal abuse although comical, was pathetic. At that moment, she asked her assistant to go and get a toothbrush, so she could show me on a tooth model how to brush my teeth correctly.

She also gave me some disclosing tablets to take home and insisted that I use them periodically. She started to scrub my teeth without any thought, as to how uncomfortable it was. Initially, she insisted that I come back after 3 months and then by the time she had finished cleaning them she backtracked and told me I could come in on the 6 month inspection period instead.

I was spoken to like a child and by the time I had finished, I felt as though I had been in the ring with Mike Tyson. I subsequently wrote to my dentist explaining my experiences with her and decided it was easier if I left the practice, after outlining my dissatisfaction in a letter.

I am just wondering if anyone else has had to face prejudice on the back of what they deal with.

10 Jul, 2010

5 thoughts on “Prejudice

  1. That totally sucked, no wonder you left the practice. How insensitive of her to assume that you weren’t taking care of your teeth.

    The hygienists need sensitivity training, I’ve never been treated like that before. The only thing they get on me for is flossing, which I do occasionally, but not nearly every day as they ask us to.

    So sorry you went through that berating, by that idiot girl.

    1. Everyone needs an advocate. Someone to stand by and defend us, someone to advance our case when we are not able.

      Your story reminds me of my son with CP. I was his advocate, doing everything he could not do, which was just about everything. He was totally involved. I learned to be his advocate. He needed me to protect him in a twisted world, a world that didn’t take him into consideration, a world that really didn’t even care if he lived or died. I was his reluctant knight.

      When I read about the dental hygienist my blood boiled. The old feelings came back. If I’d have been there I would have laid her flat out and carried you away, even if I didn’t know you.

      I see this site as being that in a way. It is a place where you can come and be validated… be heard… be nurtured… be loved. This is a place where people can escape to, a kind of shelter in the storm of life.

      1. Terry, you did such a wonderful job with Jesse. He was so lucky to have you as his Dad, just as much as I am lucky to have you as a friend.

        Thank you too for your validation on my struggles with this particular hygienist/dentist and for your wonderful comments about the site. I like it that you feel it is a place where you’re validated, heard, nurtured and loved. It works as a team effort though, without everyone’s wonderful comments and support of what I do on the site, the site wouldn’t work as well as it does. Please continue to respond.

  2. I find it very difficult to floss my teeth. I had issues with my dentist but they were related to his bed side manner, which everyone thought was really bad. I just stopped going as a result. The hygienist don’t seem to realize that it is more difficult for people with CP to care for their teeth, especially flossing. You cannot really have a conversation with stuff in your mouth. Not a great decision but I have not regretted it yet. That was about 15 years ago.

    1. Randy I hope you find the courage to go back into the Dentist’s chair. It mustn’t have been an easy decision to make and you probably didn’t make the decision lightly, but oral health is so important, it would be good if you could go back. Maybe someone you know could recommend a caring dentist who will take the time to listen to your needs and concerns.

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