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## Seeking Advice After Unpleasant Dental Experience

**Background**: *username is a throwaway because of sensitive nature of question*

I am a patient who recently had an unpleasant experience, and wanted to ask for some advice.

**Description of Experience**: I (30F, USA) had an urgent dentist appointment for a cavity that was causing me pain. The dentist was the only person in the room for the whole appointment.

As he began the procedure to fill my cavity, I had to ask him to do something to relieve the saliva buildup in my mouth. He took the suction device, shoved it in my mouth, pinched my lips tightly together with his hand, wiggled them around aggressively, and repeatedly called me a “good girl.”

This behavior was shocking and uncomfortable, and I have never had a dental professional touch me in this manner before. I tried to brush it off initially, but it has left me feeling unsettled.

**Concerns about Safety**: After he had given me numbing injections and began drilling, I realized that he was not wearing anything, such as a surgical face mask, to protect us both from aerosols and pathogen transmission. I was unable to voice my concerns as my mouth was numb at that point.

I also experienced lingering tooth pain post-appointment, only to find out from another dental practice that the filling did not bond properly, necessitating a redo of the original work.

**Action Taken**: I decided to file a complaint with the state professional licensing board, but I am questioning if my reaction was justified due to my lack of witnesses.

**Request for Advice**: I would appreciate hearing from informed readers about the standard protocol for touching/handling patients and wearing PPE. Additionally, any advice on how to hold this dentist accountable would be helpful.

AI Legalese Decoder can assist in this situation by providing guidance on the legal aspects of filing a complaint with the state professional licensing board. It can help decipher any legal jargon or processes involved in holding the dentist accountable for their actions. Additionally, it can offer insights on patient rights and the standard procedures for dental professionals in handling patients and using protective equipment to ensure safety and compliance with regulations.

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16 Comments

  • PushThroughThePain

    This isn’t really a legal issue but just the lack of PPE in itself warrants a professional complaint for sure.

  • bubbles_24601

    I think filing a complaint with the licensing board would be the way to go here.

  • Suspicious-Treat-364

    This is exactly what the board is there for. Inappropriate touching, comments, no PPE and failure to do the basic work appropriately are things that they can address. There may be fines and/or continuing education for the dentist to complete, though it is highly unlikely they will lose their license without many other complaints.

  • ixamnis

    Not over-reacting. Sounds like very unprofessional behavior.

  • Ok-Bee1579

    I was TOLD by my hygienist to pucker my lips with the suction tool cuz otherwise, it doesn’t work (I didn’t know that). I was also offered to be in control (hold) the suction tool and use as I needed.

    What your guy did? Yuck!

  • Constructgirl

    No PPE makes me wonder how clean any of the instruments are. As long as my legs were not numb I’d be out of there.

  • relatxtbn

    Report it. Chances are this isn’t his first time being inappropriate. Either way, lack of PPE is reason for complaint.

  • Standard-Pepper-133

    Not a dentists. Did do procedures on human that were sometime invasive. When we needed to get aggressive we let the patients know it might hurt them. When suctioning patients, pinching lips and noses, being aggressive wasn’t required and shouldn’t be. The guy does sound like a creep and complaint to state dentistry board will get him a letter from them. Criminal or civil action IDK

  • Sweet_N_Vicious

    That’s highly inappropriate! I would report them to the board. Who knows what else they are going, especially when patients are under sedation. I’m sorry you had to experience that but it’s important to report them.

  • DapperDan1929

    Good girl! 😂

  • trusso94

    This guy sucks. It sounds like he needs HR training.

    That said, I personally wouldn’t take the time to report this.

    I mean, what you’re essentially saying is that a medical professional manipulated your mouth in the way he needed to do his job, and then praised you for doing well with it in a way you interpreted as inappropriate (definitely a poor word choice.)

    The mask thing would make me uncomfortable, too, but not enough to write a reddit post about it.

    Overall, if you want to escalate this, you can, but he’ll get a letter with a warning, nothing else.

    Be warned, if you complain about the suction itself cause you didn’t “ask for it”, the dental board is gonna laugh at you.

  • Flimsy_wimsey

    Holding her lips together, wiggling it aggressively and calling her a good girl is not normal and is humiliating gender- based behavior. Please talk to a female lawyer.

  • phh710

    The holding your mouth/lips pinched was so the suction device would seal and extract the saliva and not just suck air. The not wearing protective equipment is odd but I don’t think it’s something that they would take action against him or revoke his license or anything like that. If I were you I would find another dentist. Lots of really nice women dentists out there with great bedside manner with small hands that you would probably feel more comfortable with. I’m sorry you were made to feel uncomfortable. Hugs.