Sometimes we dentists feel like we’re in charge of the confessional “Dr I haven’t flossed for a year, Dr I know I clench my teeth, Dr I know I should have gotten that crown”  “Ok Mrs O’malley give me three flossings, one fluoride treatment, a cleaning and you are forgiven”    I get it all the time, and I’m here to say lose it.  Forget it, and stop feeling guilty about the choices you make with your oral health.  I have had multiple patients of late, good patients that took fantastic care of their teeth, all of the sudden have problems.  In both cases these people had lost loved ones, in one case multiple loved ones, and friends.  What am I supposed to say, “Ken you’ve lost your wife, and are grieving, but damnit you should be flossing better, and now there are 3 cavities because you haven’t brushed for a month”   I can’t do that, it’s cruel,  I treat my patients like family so I just can’t do it.   I don’t care how bad it gets, I want my patients to trust that I will help them get better, and work to prevent things from getting worse.   In both cases I was able to provide some preventive measures to help the patients get through their grieving, and we mopped things up when they were ready.   It doesn’t mean I won’t still provide preventive advice, or my opinion as to which treatment would be best, but we as dentists do understand our patients make decisions based on the greater context of their own lives, and it’s ok, so lose the guilt, go in, get it fixed.