Pennwell web 250 388

Humor brightens our days

Feb. 1, 2012
It may be the economy or the stress of trying to treat unappreciative patients, but I hear a lot of moaning in dentistry lately.

It may be the economy or the stress of trying to treat unappreciative patients, but I hear a lot of moaning in dentistry lately. Many of those we serve are in pain, nervous, or have better things to do than spend an hour tipped upside down while we render them speechless. One quality to having a successful and fulfilling dental career is humor — the ability to laugh at ourselves when screaming seems more prudent.

I still get a chuckle watching Bill Cosby do his famous standup routine about a dental visit. His description of an injection is enough to make tears from laughter appear. Thanks to the magic of YouTube, we can watch this 1983 clip whenever a bit of humor is needed. I recommend starting or ending a difficult clinical day by viewing the video and letting it all out in a laugh. You can find the clip at by typing “Bill Cosby dentist” in the search bar.

Dr. Ayzin of Los Angeles puts dental jokes on his website. By going to and scrolling to the bottom of the page, you will find the jokes link. Some of the jokes are classics; others are somewhat corny but will make you smile. One of my favorites from the site is, “A patient asked the dentist if it was nasty to be with hands in someone’s mouth all day. The dentist answered, ‘I just think of it as having my hands in their wallet.’”

WordPress is a blog site where anyone with basic typing skills can share their thoughts with the world on any topic desired. One blogger has a list of “10 Reasons I Hate the Dentist.” Type in and scroll down past all the landing page entries. Choose August 2011 from the list of dates and the dental entry is the first offering on that page.

I really like number 6: “...attacks on your dental hygiene. ‘Do you floss 5 times a day?’ ‘Does your toothbrush get more action than you?’ ‘Do you consider using fluoride a must?’ Noooo! I will be the first to admit that I don’t floss, unless it’s on special occasions such as Hanukkah, which I don’t even celebrate because I’m not Jewish. Touching wet, saliva-covered pieces of string and pulling them in between my gums is not my idea of fun. I don’t even wear my retainer. How do you like me now?”

We all hear flossing confessions daily from patients who openly announce, “I haven’t been flossing.” Our focus is health, yet most still believe we still dream of a world where everyone loves floss.

In response to why people hate the dentist, Lolabees posted on her blog “Ten Reasons Your Dentist Probably Hates You.” On her site at, this former dentist provides insight, humor, and sometimes controversy. The entry posted on November 28, 2011 is the one appearing on many Facebook pages over the last month — including mine. There is not a dental professional alive who cannot relate to No. 4. While Lolabees is referencing a cavity, the same can be said of periodontal disease.

“I tell you that you have a cavity and you need a filling, and you wait months or even years to get the necessary work done. Eventually the tooth starts hurting. Two weeks of pain go by, and you call me on a Saturday night while I am at dinner with friends because your tooth that needed a filling a year ago and that started hurting two weeks ago is suddenly an emergency.”

We need to get the message of dental hygiene’s role in overall health out to the world. It is appalling that most people don’t realize the importance of the services and education we offer. Yet, that message is not well received from disgruntled voices. Take some time this week to laugh at the humor associated with our chosen profession. You might be surprised at how much better people listen when they can laugh with you.

Lory Laughter, RDH, BS, practices clinically in Napa, Calif. She is owner of Dental IQ, a business responsible for the Annual Napa Dental Experience. Lory combines her love for travel with speaking nationally on a variety of topics.

More RDH Articles
Past RDH Issues