“The Problem Patient”: 3 Ways to Deal with the Less than Pleasant Patient

By Mikayla Cox, RDH, BSHS


We have all been there.  You turn on your computer, look at the schedule and there it is...Mr. Smith’s 3pm prophy appointment. You immediately start to feel your blood pressure rise and a mixture of dread and defeat. For any hygienist that has been practicing longer than a few months, the “problem patient” has a way of ruining your whole day or possible your week.  But what if we could re-envision the way we approach these appointments? When we take a moment to step back, see how we can best approach this patient and create a more pleasant dental appointment for both parties. 

1. Breathe

Start with taking a few moments in your operatory to practice some deep breathing.  Just a few minutes of deep breathing can reduce blood pressure, relieve stress, and reduce tension.1 In a stressful moment most people tend to resort to chest breathing.  Chest breathing is short quick breaths using the upper chest muscles.2...

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