Going to the dentist is a necessity that most people dread.
But for all your dental horror stories, rest assured your dentist has seen worse.
MailOnline heard from two dentists about the things their patients do that leave them horrified, and some of them actually give you goosebumps.
From licking the dentist’s fingers to leaving toenails in your mouth, these are the nastiest things patients do.
So are you guilty of any of them?
MailOnline heard from two dentists about the things their patients do that leave them horrified, and some of them actually give you goosebumps
Missing the bowl when spitting while the mouth is numb
Mouth anesthesia is needed for some procedures, such as tooth removal or fillings.
But with sedation comes a lack of control.
Cosmetic dentist Sam Jethwa, of Bespoke Smile – a clinical dentist in Marlow, says
and Dr. Jethwa says one of his pet hates is when patients miss the bowl while spitting out fluid.
He said: ‘Obviously because of that we lose control of the mouth if we start rinsing and spitting, we might miss the bowl.
‘There is a lengthy cleaning process for our assistants, but it’s always a ‘head in hands’ moment. For everyone.’
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Licking the dentist’s fingers
You read that right, another disgusting thing patients do is lick the dentist’s fingers, according to Dr. Jethwa.
The dentist, who is also vice president of the British Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry, said: ‘The latex-free gloves we use are soft compared to traditional old-fashioned gloves, but they are not lickable.
“It’s always funny when a patient has a prying tongue and comes in to lick his fingers.”
Share toothbrushes with your partner
Have you ever forgotten your toothbrush and used your partner’s?
Well Dr. Jethwa says that’s a big “no, no.”
He said: ‘Our gum specialist helps people with gum disease and tries to prevent them from losing their teeth and save them.
‘Part of that is, of course, discussing existing cleaning habits.
He recalled a few times when patients said they share a toothbrush with their partner.
‘As much as we love them – that’s a no no’
Dr. Ben Atkins, dentist and trustee of the Oral Health Foundation, said earlier that brushing your teeth can make your gums bleed, so sharing a toothbrush could help you share blood.
He added: “Brushing sometimes causes the gums to bleed, exposing anyone you share your toothbrush with to bloodstream disease.
“There are many hundreds of different bacteria and viruses in our mouths and people who share a toothbrush can pass them on to others.
“While this could be something relatively innocuous like a common cold or a cold sore, if the person you’re sharing with is infected with hepatitis B or HIV, these can also be transmitted through the toothbrush, with serious health consequences.”
With mouth anesthesia comes a lack of control, and Dr. Jethwa says one of his pet hates is when patients miss the bowl while spewing out fluid (file photo)
Shake hands after putting them in your mouth
During the pandemic, the handshake went out the window and was replaced by an elbow touch.
This is to prevent the spread of the virus.
But as with other parts of pre-pandemic life, the practice is “creeping back,” and Dr Jethwa says it’s only getting worse with patients putting their hands in their mouths first.
He said, “Let’s just try to do it with clean hands and not hands that have just been in our mouths.”
Slurping sound when removing the brackets
If you’ve ever had hangups – as many people had as a teenager – you may recognize this one.
Dr. Jethwa says the “slurping” sound some patients make when removing braces is “gross.”
He said, “If you’ve had them, you know the slurping sound you naturally make when we take them out privately.”
“That sound, I think we can all agree, is pretty gross.”
Dr. Sam Jethwa said: ‘The latex-free gloves we use are soft compared to traditional old fashioned gloves, but they are not to die for. It’s always funny when a patient has a curious tongue and comes in to lick his fingers!’ (file photo)
Leaving things in your mouth (like toenails)
Another dentist annoyance is when patients leave things in their mouths, such as toenails.
Dentist Dr Alan Clarke, clinical director of Paste Dental in Belfast, says he’s found it too pencil leads, plastic wrappers, a live spider, several flies and chewing gum hidden behind a tooth.
He said: ‘We always encourage patients to take control of both their teeth and gums, which means regular brushing and flossing (to help eradicate those cobwebs).”
Don’t brush your teeth
It may seem obvious, but another big dislike for Dr. Clarke is when patients never brush their teeth.
He said, “We’re not talking about missing nighttime brushing when you go to bed late, or struggling to stay awake after a long day at the office.
“We’re talking about 15-20 years of no brushing, or never brushing at all — period. Yes, it’s a surprise to us too, but we come across it quite often.
“There are many things we can do, advise and help to promote optimal dental health, but the journey begins with patient ownership and acceptance of the vital role they personally play in maintaining their oral health.”
Dr. Jethwa says the ‘slurping’ sound some patients make when removing braces – with gold teeth in place – is ‘gross’ (file photo)
We’ve all seen tutorials on how to whiten your teeth at home, but “do-it-yourself dentistry” goes much further, says Dr. Clarke.
He says he has seen teeth whitened with household bleach and broken crowns cemented with furniture glue, nail polish and chewing gum!
Dr. Clarke said: ‘It’s dangerous, potentially toxic and a significant risk to your health. Consult a registered professional for safe planning and care for dental treatments.
“We hate to see the damage you can do with minimal knowledge and desperation.”
Dr. Clarke once had a patient with gingivitis who tried to glue his tooth back.
He said: ‘I don’t know if I should be shocked, panicked or saddened but I personally found large clumps of pritt stick in a patient’s mouth when they thought (don’t try this at home) sure why not stick my loose tooth back in – with a soft white glue.’