As a dental assistant, you spend a lot of time conversing with patients. You chat with them about practically everything, from the importance of oral hygiene to topics such as the weather outside. And you often hear from patients that they are grateful that you take the time to talk with them.

But dental assistants also know that not all talks with patients go as planned and stay positive. In fact, occasionally, a patient will say something negative. Or something that throws off your schedule. Or something that has you thinking, “Huh? Did they just say that?”

Below are just a few of the statements that you’d probably add to your list of dental assisting pet peeves. Have you heard any of them before from patients?


1. ‘I Don’t Like Going to the Dentist’

For some patients, visiting the dentist isn’t their favorite thing to do — and they may tell you this right away. While it’s understandable that patients may feel apprehensive about going to the dental office, you’ve told us that you wish all patients would stay positive and give the dental team a chance.

“My pet peeve is when a patient says to me right away, ‘I hate the dentist!’” — Kimberly F.


2. ‘I’m Late. Can We Make This Quick?’

We know that everyone is busy and that sometimes lateness happens. But when patients are late, this often has a ripple effect and can cause delays in the dental team’s schedule.

Another common pet peeve among dental assistants is when patients tell you they have somewhere else to be and ask whether the appointment can be quick. This could affect the tone of the appointment and the patient’s overall experience. When patients are focused on leaving the office, they’re less likely to take the time to talk about their oral health care and hygiene.

“My biggest pet peeve would have to be when a patient arrives 10 minutes late or so, and then once I seat them, they have another appointment and need to be out in 30 minutes. Why come then?” — Heather C.


3. ‘Can I Use the Restroom First?’

Using the restroom before a dental appointment is a great idea. Unfortunately, some patients will wait to do so until they’re called for their appointment. This too can delay the appointment and the dental team’s schedule — even if the patient arrived at the office on time.

“It’s a pet peeve of mine when I call a patient and they need to go to the restroom, even though they’ve been in the waiting room for 30 minutes.” — Susan J.


4. ‘The Internet Says …’

These days, everyone seems to be self-proclaimed experts at internet searching. Patients sometimes look up their symptoms online and come to the dentist with a solution in hand. You’ve told us patients should avoid doing this and instead leave the diagnosing and treatment planning to the dentist.

“My pet peeve is when patients diagnose themselves after doing online ‘research.’” — Kimberly F.


5. ‘I Forgot to Brush My Teeth’

We all know it’s best practice to brush your teeth before visiting the dentist, but unfortunately, it’s not always one that everyone follows. You’ve told us that you can tell when patients have skimped on their oral hygiene routine, or have skipped the process altogether.

“My pet peeve is when they had breakfast and didn’t brush their teeth afterward, before their appointment.” — Martine D.

What would you add to this list?