Thursday, July 10, 2014


A very strange thing has been happening in the dental office where I go to have my teeth cared for. This is not a new dentist nor is it a new office,  But over the 4-year span that I've been going there, I have noticed that either the dentist is getting crotchety or the office staff is trying to change the office ambience.  Either way, it's bad enough to have to go to the dentist, but when you start finding the office becoming oppressive, it's more than a little bit disconcerting.

The outer office is quite small, I'd say possibly 12 feet square.  There is room for 5 people to sit. There is a large corner table between two sofas, a coffee table stacked with magazines, a television set high up in a corner, a door to the outside, a door opening to the patient rooms, and a counter, behind which the office staff works.  It is a single dentist office.

When I went for my first appointment I noticed two signs: one was scotched taped to the TV set and said "DO NOT TURN THE CHANNEL".  Understandable, I thought.  Someone might not like what was being shown, but it was not their decision to make.  Leave the TV set alone.  There also was a sign near the counter that said "We do not take Credit Cards."  OK, I thought.  A bit strange in this day and age, but I could live with that.

Yesterday I walked in and the proliferation of signs just hit me smack in the face.  It was not like I had not seen them before, but for some reason yesterday the negativity of these signs -- all done by the computer, plain heavy black lettering on white printer paper, and either scotched taped or pinned to the wall -- just jumped out at me.  OH, SO MANY SIGNS!

 I counted:

No food or drink allowed - 1 sign.
No credit cards accepted - 1 sign
Payment must be made before treatment begins - 1 sign
Restroom not available to non-patients - 1 sign
No changing of TV channel - 1 sign
Seating is limited so do not bring non-patients with  you - 2 signs.
No smoking - 1 sign
Take crying children outside - 1 sign.
Right to refuse service to anyone - 1 sign

and worst of all........
No cell phone use while in this office - 5 SIGNS

Let me be clear, what I have listed above is just the "gist" of the signs.  They are all forcefully stated and are written in a very authoritarian way:  YOU ARE NOT ALLOWED TO HAVE FOOD OR DRINK OF ANY KIND IN THIS OFFICE AT ANY TIME!  

Considering there are 4 walls, and all are fairly close to where patients sat, you can imagine how it wouldn't take a person very long to see that apparently this is not a happy office.  Whether the signs are the idea of the dentist or the staff, there really is just too much NO, NEVER, STOP, FORBIDDEN, DON'T, etc.

Although re-wording the signs would be helpful to take away some of the negativity (i.e., Please step outside if you find it necessary to use your cell phone.) I'd guess someone doesn't want to be bothered.  And my feeling is that if it is necessary to continue putting up cell phone signs, those signs just aren't doing much good!  FIVE CELL PHONE SIGNS!  For crying out loud.

I am not likely to change dentists.  My strategy is to get either the first appointment in the morning or the first one after lunch, so I don't get caught having to spend much time in the waiting room.  But frankly, I just shake my head at how some people go about trying to solve a problem.  Hitting people over the head with another sign is certainly not the answer.


Olga Hebert said...

And we all know just how effective such signs tend to be. That must just add to the discontent. I would hate to go to that office.

Anonymous said...

I left a dentist because they let kids run wild, the music was loud and the hygienist was always late and more importantly the dentist tried to have patients in for more procedures than any insurance would ever cover!!!!!!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

I would leave that place, dentists here cost a bundle if they don't treat you like a queen or a king forgettabout it..the ambiance is really everything in a dentists office, it shows just how much the fellow or lady dentist cares about his staff and his practice, scram from that place they don't care about you as a person/client...I would find myself another place of business to get my teeth fixed up...

mine az said...

Yeah it is true that the dental surgeries are very costly nowadays. My Torrance dentist has suggested me to have dental insurance. Now I am reviewing some good dental insurance plans. Can you help me guys?