It's too hot outside for X-rays

Have you ever had a patient say or do something in your chair that made you want to pull your hair out? We all get the patients that have saliva that becomes toxic and can't be swallowed when they sit in the dental chair... or the ones that can't sit in a reclined position. The there are patients "just have bad teeth." It has absolutely nothing to do with their diet or home care- yet they left their can of Monster energy drink on the counter after they left your operatory (true story).

What do you say when patients say or do things like this? Do you accommodate them? Do they become argumentative? I am usually pretty accommodating - but I can tell you over the years I've heard some pretty crazy requests. There's the one patient that is allergic to ABSOLUTELY every single prophy paste, fluoride, and toothpaste. You just can't use it or she'll break out. Then there's the patient that told me, "It's too hot outside for x-rays." As if the tiny amount of radiation would make her spontaneously combust when she left the office.

And finally there is my favorite- which happened most recently, actually. After a new patient came into the office with generalized moderate horizontal bone loss, and several years of not being in a dentist chair, we had a long discussion (she asked a ton of questions) about the importance of periodontal health and how certain factors can worsen it. After she agreed to localized scaling, I told her I would get one of the business associates up front to go over insurance coverages. She asked, "While you do that, do you mind if I go outside and smoke a cigarette?"

Sometimes I want to put down my scalers and walk out of the operatory.

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