"Several bad experiences of senior dentist"

About: Dundee Dental Hospital / Dental

(as the patient),

I was referred to the hospital for the  removal of two wisdom teeth. At my initial appointment I met the senior dentist and I was shocked by the way they conducted themselves when interacting with other members of the staff team. This dentist appeared irritable and impatient and there seemed to be an underlying sense of fear when instructing less experienced dentists. I felt uncomfortable by the situation but I attributed it to the senior dentist having a bad day, we all have them from time to time so I gave the benefit of the doubt.

I then attended an appointment to have the first of two wisdom teeth extracted. The senior dentist was exactly the same as my previous visit, showing a complete lack of interpersonal skills towards colleagues which was bordering on contempt. Once again I was left feeling awkward by the situation which was created by the actions and comments of the senior dentist.

Today, I was due to have my second wisdom tooth extracted. Due to the school holidays, I was accompanied by my son (aged 8). I assumed that he could either sit in the room whilst I had the extraction or sit in the waiting room. I explained this to the student dentist and the two dental assistants. One of them informed me that she would have to consult with the senior dentist. The senior dentist made a brief appearance and instructed the dental assistant to make me another appointment for a future date. At no point did the senior dentist speak to me directly which is not just unprofessional, it's also extremely rude.

I expressed my feelings about not having the extraction carried out and I acknowledged the position of the hospital with regards to not having my son in the room with me or in the waiting room, despite the fact that I was comfortable allowing him to sit in the waiting room whilst I was having the extraction. I then detailed my previous experiences of the senior dentist and my comments were conveyed to them by a dental assistant. I was invited to discuss this with the senior dentist in person but I declined because it wouldn't change their mind about allowing my son to stay whilst I was having the extraction and I am not a fan of confrontation which I imagine it would've been as the senior dentist does not come across as the type of person who would welcome criticism.

I am not questioning the skills of this dentist, however, I am questioning their suitability to mentor student dentists who should be able to learn their trade in a supportive and encouraging environment rather than one that appears to me to be founded on fear and recriminations.

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Response from Margaret McGuire, Nurse Director, NHS Tayside

Good afternoon.

Firstly please accept my sincere apologies for the delay in responding. Thank you so much for taking the time to give us your feedback about your experience of the care you received at the dental hospital.

For many of us visits to the dentist are stressful times, thankfully we have staff who realise this and do their best to reassure and support patients. I was sorry to read that your experience did not reflect this and fell below the standard we would expect.

In the dental school we make every effort to ensure that we provide person centred and compassionate care. Without further details I am unable to investigate further, however I want to reassure you that staff will be reminded about the importance of providing professional, compassionate and person centred care.

I have passed this posting to the dental hospital who will ensure this action is completed. I think it would be helpful for you to discuss in detail your experience with the dental hospital and would encourage you to contact Dr Elizabeth Connor (e.connor@nhs.net) at the dental hospital.

I hope all goes well with your future treatment

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