Does Bob Really Knows How Whitening Works?

Bob came in for an exam today and we’ll describe his demeanor as… ‘moderately suspicious.’ After taking a FMX and reviewing his H&P, I took loads of pictures with an intraoral camera and went through a DETAILED explanation of what was going on in his mouth. Every blown out cavity, broken tooth, and of course his beautiful calculus bridges. Bob shrugged it off with a dismissive sigh and said, “So, that’s great and all, but I want to start with whitening.” (*Cue the mental eye roll.*)
I can understand the sentiment though. I mean hey, Bob just wants his teeth to look nice and I do want to help him get there. Unfortunately, #8 and #9 were 95% composite and the only thing that could whiten them was some Pinot Grigio. So, I explained how whitening works and why we would need to replace the composites. He nodded along and then politely let me know that he disagreed with my entire explanation of how whitening works. His exact words were, “Right. I don’t think so, doc. I think the fillings will whiten just fine.” I’ve dealt with skeptical patients before, but Bob was a new level.

So I went through all the intraoral pictures again to reemphasize the state of peril his oral health was in and explained whitening would be a waste of money right now. I then asked Bob, “Do you understand why I’m telling you all this?” Bob Replied: “Sure. Job Security.

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