Dentist ON CALL? Absolutely!
One of the very reasons that I chose to be a dentist was to help people when they’re in need. A great thing about being in dentistry is that we get to help people almost immediately get out of pain. It is an awesome thing that if someone breaks a tooth that they could walk out of my office smiling with a new tooth.
Recently I had someone ask me, “If I broke a tooth on the weekend or was in pain could I get a hold of you?” The answer was most emphatically, “YES!”
What happens when people have problems on the weekend? It’s funny but people don’t just get toothaches during my office hours. If something happens in the evening or on the weekend we are available to help our patients get better or at least make it until we can see them face to face.
The interesting thing is that dentists are bound by a code of ethics and a law in the state of TN. If you are an active patient of record, as your dentist, I must provide some type of emergency dental care, otherwise it could be grounds for patient abandonment. Remember that you must however be an active patient.
An active patient means that you have been seen in our office for treatment at least once in the last 12 months. In my office if you call outside of normal business hours our phone system is prompted with the choice of speaking to the doctor on call. If you press that button for dental emergency you will be given the opportunity to leave a message, which then sends my personal cell phone a message. I use Google Voice (because I’m just that tech-y!), so the cool thing about our system is that it transcribes your message so I can read it and get an idea of what is going on before I reach you. As soon as I can, I will return your call and hash out the details.
Some people say I would never bother you on the weekend or after hours, Dr. Mullins. Well the truth is that dental pain can be serious and you should not feel like a bother – because we want to help our patients with dental emergencies. Most of the time, out-of-office problems can be remedied with palliative care until the next day, or for the occasional more severe instance, a quick trip to the office.
The simple fact is that we are available to help. It is our job and my moral obligation to be there for you when times get tough. I AM your dentist on call!
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