Today I broke up with my dentist. I had been seeing her for years and despite being very good at what she does and incredibly knowledgeable when it comes to all things gum disease, she absolutely failed when it came to bedside manner.
I’m very open when it comes to people asking me about diabetes. I wear my CGM on my arm and don’t bother covering it up, which naturally attracts a lot of stares and questions. I’m okay if someone makes a statement that is misinformed. These are all learning opportunities. But if you’re going to ask me about something related to diabetes, don’t jump in with assumptions fuelled by misconceptions without listening to me.
No, wearing a CGM doesn’t mean that I have “poor diabetes control” or that if “I’m not careful, I would go on insulin, or even worse, an insulin pump”.
Firstly, my dentist should know I’m on an insulin pump and have been for the last four years. It’s in my medical history. Secondly, we’ve had numerous conversations around “diabetes control” and how it’s not something you control, just manage to the best of your ability within the circumstances. My dentist, she has this special way of talking to you like you’re always wrong and that she knows best.
This time was no different and I wondered why I accommodated such commentary despite trying to explain things to her (which is tricky when you can’t speak for majority of the appointment!). Was her skill as a dental hygienist really worth sitting through an hour of snide remarks on how I shouldn’t be eating things like carbohydrates, fruits or lollies because of my disease? Was her skill worth her lack of professionalism when she slams her computer and keyboard around from frustration? Was it worth sitting in the chair listening to her constantly berating and intimidating her assistant?
No. Absolutely not.
Finally, I spoke up to the practice manager who immediately understood and was extremely apologetic. I had tolerated the last few visits as the commentary around diabetes seemed to lessen and I didn’t have the brain space or time to look for a new dentist. But suddenly, I didn’t care anymore. Thankfully, the practice manager booked me in with a different dentist next time and left to have a word with her as I left.
Lesson learned: you don’t have to put up with bad mannerisms simply because a person is good with their trade. No one deserves to be intimidated or belittled.