What Is Your Hygienist Thinking? (The negative side)



I realize having your teeth cleaned may not be your favorite thing in the world.  In fact, it can be downright stressful and we know you have a lot on your mind.  The bright light in your face, the cold water sprays, and that awful sound of the ultrasonic or metal tools.  We are always running late, talk way too much and will probably lecture you again for not flossing.  Then throw in the cost, time away from your work or other things you would rather be doing, the possibility of  finding something bad that’s going to cost you more time and money.  Consider for a moment that hygienists like me also have quite a bit going on in our heads while we are working on you… and it’s not all rainbows and sunshine for us either.



  1.  They are 15 minutes late and I need a new medical history filled out, gotta take their blood pressure, get x-rays, and a full mouth periodontal screening, and then an exam.  Awesome.  The rest of my day will be behind schedule. Didn’t really want a lunch anyway.
  2. Did they just eat lunch before they came in?  Gross.  Just Gross.
  3. Did I put the garbage can out?
  4. My back hurts.
  5. I can’t see what I’m doing with all of this bleeding.  Working by brail is no fun. Hoping for the best with this one.
  6. I hope the doctor doesn’t tell them how great everything looks after I just spent 45 minutes scraping off this crazy wall of tartar.
  7. Oh great, this guy doesn’t want to have x-rays taken.  He better not ask me if he has a cavity!!!  How would I know?!?
  8. Did she seriously just wait until the doctor came in to say that she has a tooth that’s been bothering her?
  9. What a grimace.  Hands are clutching the arm rests already.  I haven’t even started.  Take a breath.  Go slow with this one.  They are scared.
  10. Texting in the chair.  Not cool.
  11. I have gas. . . and I’m sitting with my butt just a few inches away from their face.  Oh please God, help me!
  12. This person has the strongest lips known to man.  I need a third arm and hand.
  13. Why do so many people think they have to lie to me about how they floss?  I just want the truth so I can be helpful.
  14. Ma’am, please don’t spit that piece of tartar across the room again.  I can’t even….
  15. How in the world is that tongue managing to cover all of the upper molars and my suction?
  16. I’m so hungry… AND here comes the growling.
  17. They just took a three week vacation to Italy and bought a new car but didn’t get those five cavities fixed yet.  Priorities.
  18. Should I tell her she has a cavity?  She already looks like she’s not in a good mood. Don’t shoot the messenger. Don’t shoot the messenger.
  19. He just took a phone call in the middle of this appointment.   Oh, don’t mind me over here with mask and gloves on… I’ll wait.
  20. So, it’s 4pm…you walk in here with a crown in your hand that’s been out for two weeks, never called the office, and you expect it to be put back in today during your visit.  I’m officially going to lose my mind.

So as you can see, a day in the dental office can be stressful for us too.  The things I think about while spending my day as a hygienist are a direct result of how and what my patients are doing. Besides our normal responsibilities, hygienists are constantly being thrown into situations that require a load of patience and flexibility.  Just like any human, we have to work around the negativity and make the best of our time at the office.  We hope you can all do the same because we are in this together!  When everyone works together and takes an active role in the process, it’s mostly positive.   Read more about  that here. 


What are you thinking about while getting your teeth cleaned?  Comment and join in the conversation!

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