This Is Why Dentists Talk To Us While Their Hands Are In Our Mouths

“We talk to you to get your mind off of being in an uncomfortable and vulnerable position. I mostly ask closed-ended questions. Like “yes” or “no” questions.”

“My patients tend to concentrate on what’s going on in their mouths, which doesn’t help them relax, so I talk to them and ask questions. Every now and again I pause to let them answer the question, then go back to work. What I find is the patients become distracted from the procedure and instead concentrate on joining in the discussion.”

“Not a dentist but in the field. We can actually usually understand your mmmmffpp sskkkmmmmff loloonmmmmmm talk. Enjoyed the golf in the palm desert Mrs. Smith?”

“My dentist mostly asks yes/no questions. He also has the best and loudest laugh I’ve ever heard, so it helps put people at ease. Seriously, I can hear him laughing while I’m still outside and I instantly feel better about being there.”

“My childhood dentist would tell jokes while he was feeling around in there. He’d be sticking a little hook in my mouth and scraping, then he’d tell a joke and I’d start laughing and hurt myself. What a goddamn psychopath.”


“Sometimes I’ll do it when I need to distract a patient; they’ll mumble an answer, get frustrated by the garbled sound, and completely forget that I’m doing something that had, up to ten seconds ago, been bothersome. It makes their visit a little easier since they’ll recall that I’m a dummy that talks a lot, rather than the dummy that hurt them.”

“I like to listen their awkward mumbling answers and laugh a little.. my own little amusement while doing boring, repetitive work…”

“We’re very lonely, since most of our time with the patient is spent working in their mouth, we have to talk to them just like that to get to know the patient better and help educate them about their oral health.”

“I’m fresh out of dental school. We were taught to engage with patients and build a rapport.”

“I’ve actually gotten pretty good at interpreting what my patients say with my hands in their mouth! Also, it makes me laugh.”

“One dentist I knew would give you all the small town gossip, and, man, was he up on all the stories. No inputs required from your side, unless maybe you could contribute some story later.”

“It depends on the situation. You may not like when we talk, but with other patients, it may be their only form of comfort. Dentists being silent, minus spouting off a bunch of dental jargon can make the experience an unpleasant one. I’ve always felt like dentists should take a couple years’ worth of psychology courses before going into dentistry.”


“Our office has headphones and we always ask patients if they’d like to listen to music. If we need to talk to them, we simply pat them on the shoulder. It helps the patient and it doesn’t bother us at all. Definitely ask!”

“My dentist always talks to me like I’m a student of dentistry or something. It’s kind of hilarious.”

“Because they like to hear people say, “argh caeew ayjhg aeeghee igh ow”.”

“To keep you calm and to make the appointment feel shorter than it actually is”

“Not a dentist but work for one. After all the decades of practicing, they know exactly what you’re saying, as goofy as you think you sound. Even with your mouth wide open. And it’s normal to think “why is he talking to me with my mouth wide open?” But they probably talk/ask questions because they can understand these goofy sounding responses now”

“My dentist said that it was to keep from getting bitten. If I was following along with his story, I wasn’t focusing on the surgery or anything he was doing with his hands, so I was less likely to impulse and bite down or move when he was drilling.”

“Open-ended questions asked are purely by mistake…I’m aware you can’t answer, but sometimes I slip up and and ask real questions…sorry!”

“If they form a connection with you, you’re more likely to come back and recommend their practice to your friends and family.

Furthermore, it has been shown that people are less likely to sue medical professionals they like. Even if that professional makes a pretty serious mistake.”

“My mom (dental hygienist) does this and I think she’s just lonely/bored and it’s her source of human interaction.”

“Because it’s better than a cold stare like my dentist does.”

“If I allow myself to even acknowledge what they’re doing, I’ll faint, so I have to be distracted by small talk.”

“Because deep down in the dark pit of our souls we are chuckling at our patients’ desperate attempt to speak with a mouth full of sharp and intimidating tools.”

“It’s fun to watch people struggle to answer a simple question like “wonderful weather today isn’t it?” While high on anesthesia with some dude wearing a welding mask is digging away at their teeth with an ice pick.”

“I asked my orthodontist this years ago, he just thought it was funny.”

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