Dr. Plack wakes up at 7:30 a.m. The first thing she does is brush her teeth. While you sleep, you mouth gets dry. The drier your mouth, the easier it is for acids and bacteria to eat away an enamel. Her daughter bangs on the door.
“Mom, why does it take you twenty minutes to brush your teeth in the morning?” she asks.
Dr. Plack opens her mouth. The whiteness of her teeth is almost blinding.
“Point taken,” her daughter says. She brushes past her mom to get to the shower.
Dr. Plack walks into her office at around 8:30 a.m. Her dental assistant Martha is sitting behind the desk getting new patient paperwork ready for the day.
“Thanks for bringing in that fruit and veggie platter last night for our meeting,” Dr. Plack says. Oftentimes, dentists have weekly meetings to update technicians and assistants on any office policy changes or take any questions. Dr. Plack’s office includes two hygienists, three assistants and a receptionist.
“No problem. I know how much you love your celery. Although, I’ve never seen someone dip their celery in toothpaste before,” she says and laughs nervously.
“You should try it with the new ranch flavored toothpaste. It’s delicious and great for your choppers,” Dr. Plack says as she greets her first patient.
Her dental assistant is waiting for her with x-rays. He points out that her first patient, Mr. Blot, has two cavities: tooth number 3 and tooth number four (the upper right first molar and second premolar). Dr. Plack looks at Mr. Blot’s chart.
“Mr. Blot takes a calcium channel blocker for high blood pressure. Let’s take his blood pressure. If it’s elevated, we’ll have to get a medical consult. If not, lets give him anesthesia without epinephrine and do only one filling today,” Dr. Plack says.
Her assistant nods his head in agreement. Dr. Plack’s next patient has a major dentist phobia. It generally takes Dr. Plack twice as long to treat Mrs. Robinson.
“Hi, Mrs. Robinson. I see we have you scheduled for a filling this morning,” she says.
Mrs. Robinson looks terrified. The fear of dentists is often referred to as dental phobia, odontophobia or dentophobia. Many with dental phobias suffer from bad teeth, which makes any future dental work more difficult. Part of Dr. Plack’s job is putting them at ease.
“Everything is going to be all right. Let me just take a look inside.” Suddenly, Mrs. Robinson bites down on Dr. Plack’s fingers.
She yells out to her office assistant, “We’ve got a biter!”
They watch as Mrs. Robinson leaps from the chair and races out of the office. “Pretty fast for an 80-year-old woman, “ Dr. Plack says.
A person biting their dentist is not that unusual; however, kids are the most likely biters. Generally, dentists wear finger cots to protect themselves from the bite. Doesn’t mean it can’t still hurt a little.
Dr. Plack breaks for lunch. Her office usually closes everyday from 1:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. It is a nice way for everyone in the office to get caught up and take a short mental break. Dr. Plack makes sure that their supplies were ordered and all lab work was sent out the day before.
Her next appointment involves three fillings. Generally, Dr. Plack sees eight patients a day, but her appointment is taking longer than expected.
“Marty, see if my last appointment can be moved back by thirty minutes.”
The rest of the day includes checking dental hygienists’ work, looking for cavities on x-rays, showing people how to floss, repairing a cracked tooth and prescribing antibiotics for someone with a tooth abscess.
“My tooth really hurts, doctor,” the man with the tooth abscess says.
“I know… unfortunately, we’re going to have to perform an emergency root canal to save that tooth. Marty, push back my appointments,” Dr. Plack says.
After three hours, Dr. Plack finishes the root canal. The man is in a daze and his wife is picking him up. Dr. Plack decides to wait with him outside to make sure he gets into the car safely. She sees her neighbor, Dr. Mouth, get into his car. Dr. Mouth is an orthodontist that Dr. Plack sends most of his patients to.