Please welcome Dr.
Adrian Codel, a CDS member and general dentist who practices on
Chicago's north side. Today Dr. Codel reflects on whether it's
important for health care professionals to "walk the walk and talk
the talk" when it comes to taking care of their own
You've already waited 30 minutes in the waiting area and another 15
minutes in a cold treatment room and finally the physician walks in
to introduce himself because you are a new patient. You first
notice that your new doctor is overweight, likely borderline obese.
When you shake his hand and get closer you detect the smell of
cigarettes. But this doesn't matter because all that matters is
that you receive the best possible care. You answer some basic
health history questions during the interview and are very happy
with his chair-side manner. You now feel more comfortable and crack
a joke. It must have been a good one because you made him laugh.
That is when you notice that the entire facial surfaces his lower
anterior teeth are completely covered in calculus and you know that
if it is bad on the facial, it is worse on the lingual. Do you lose
confidence is his ability?
Well, this did not happen to me, but I was imagining this scenario
as I was cleaning the teeth of my patient who is a physician. He
met the above description. He is a great person and I am sure an
excellent clinician. However, his oral health is in complete
neglect. Emergency care only, rampant decay and uncontrolled
periodontal disease. Not to mention his non oral conditions. I was
told after he was dismissed that he complained that we made him
wait 5 minutes for his scheduled procedure and threatened to
So which is worse? The physician who fails to take control of his
own health or the one that complains about waiting 5 minutes?
Either way they may not practice what they preach. But neither do
we. OK. I'll admit it, I don't floss every day.