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I was hired at a dental office in replacement of another dental assistant that had to leave and may not come back due to medical reasons. We got paid biweekly and I was always written a personal check and taxes were not taken out. I am new to the dental world and had graduated from school recently and had little to no experience. The doctor and the only other staff member both knew this. The job was starting out great. Sure I had lots to learn but I felt as if I was doing a good job. The office was completely unorganized which made the work place hectic so I stayed on some of my days off to arrange equipment etc. I noticed that some of the equipment and sterilization methods were faulty and not being used properly. I made the doctor aware of these issues and he argued with me about them. I reminded him over the months I worked there about the wipes you use to clean the office with and that he was not buying the correct ones, again he argued and made excuses. My mother passed away Christmas Eve but due to the lack of staff (I was the only dental assistant) I decided to stay in the office to help my dental team - which consisted of me (RDA), Dentist, and front desk lady. The girl I had replaced did end up coming back to work at the beginning of the year (Jan 2nd). As soon as she came back to the office the doctor started treating me very poorly and  humiliating me in front of patients.  He wouldn’t listen to what I was saying he would yell at me and throw stuff at me in front of patients and he would make derogatory comments about how it’s so good to have a knowledgeable and good dental assistant back on his team. Meaning that I was a crappy dental assistant and not doing a good job, which I felt that I was. I was carrying my weight as well as the weight of everybody in the back office and I had 3 months of schooling and no real prior experience which the doctor knew before hiring me.  Once the old dental assistant who had been a RDA for 10 years came back I felt like the doctor was very rude to me I went home from work every day crying about the horrible way the doctor had started to treat me. I will also emotionally distressed due to my mother passing away so I asked for a day off and I really sat down and looked at what was going on in the office.  When I first got the job I loved it, it was great, sure I was learning a lot it was a new career move for me but as soon as this other girl came back it was like the doctor had changed and was attacking me kind of bullying me to make me quit. Well it worked and I quit. After quitting I assessed myself in the job and I assessed the office itself. There are a lot of things going on that were not OK by any means. The front office lady who had no schooling whatsoever was doing x-rays and other procedures that were not allowed by somebody who had no schooling. The sterilization of the equipment was incorrect, equipment that was used was also not being cleaned and used appropriately. I noticed that a lot of patients were coming back in to get their crowns reseated and I felt that he purposely use the cheap stuff and did not do a good job at reseating the crowns or doing crowns at all. I had done crown work prior to this job. Also I noticed that when he was giving the shots for mandibular teeth he was not using the appropriate needles nor lidocaine. Instead of using the long needle and injecting the patient in the TMJ area, he use the short needle and punctured the patient over and over and over around the tooth we were working on. 5 carpules of lidocaine and it did not work, the patient was still in pain, a grown man coming out of his chair in pain. The doctor made a comment as to why he didn’t use the long needle in the TMJ, his excuse was that his lower jaw would be numb longer if he had done it the way I learned.  Again I still did not see a problem with the fact that his lower jaw would be numb longer, it seemed pretty clear to me that the patient wouldn’t want to be in pain during the procedure it’s self.  I have been contemplating on calling OSHA, the CDC, and maybe even getting some type of a personal lawyer for the emotional and mental distress as well as me feeling like he bullied me to leave because he knew I was correct about the things I was saying with sterilizing the equipment etc.  He didn’t want to pay to fix the equipment,  he didn’t want to buy the correct amount of handpieces that the office needed and he did not want to buy the wipes that you were supposed to wipe the rooms with. After you see a patient you are to sterilize the room not disinfect and there are certain chemicals we are to use that are FDA registered. I was again grieving my mother passing away and I was just astonished that I was treated that way by a professional. He was allowing his employees, patients and potentially his own family to being exposed to infectious diseases and not only that but I saw him making sexual advances towards the other dental assistant that had come back to work.  Honestly I feel that it is my duty and my obligation, I gave my word to when I got my license, to make this informs known to the patients, staff and his family. He is potentially risking everyones health because he doesn’t want to pay out of pocket. Also the way that he was trying to collect from insurance and do certain work on people to make his quota for the week. Even though sometimes I don’t feel it was very necessary for these procedures to be done to these peoples teeth.

 Please help me decipher what kind of case that I have here and my next approach as to how to carry out my obligation as a registered dental assistant as well as a decent human being.  Thank you 

 

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Reality check. You were used and abused. You can't change the doctor and you can't fix what he is doing to his patients. What he was doing with your paycheck was illegal. If you had any earnings there for 2017 I suggest you get started on your taxes right now so you can prepare for the unpleasant surprise when you see the tax bill. For 2018 you'll need to file a quarterly estimated tax payment based on your earnings for the first quarter. The deadline is Apr 17.

 

You really don't have "a case" for anything against your employer with regards to your employment and you can't save the world.

 

I suggest you find yourself another job and get out of there ASAP.

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Being brutally honest, as the assistant with only 3 months of schooling under your belt and no experience, you are not in a good position to determine the standard of care nor tell your employer how to run his practice. He might be the worst dentist in existence, but nothing you describe is illegal, nor are you in a position to legitimately challenge how the office and patient care is managed. If you were unsure why a particular practice was used, there are polite ways to ask. There might be a very good reason a certain method was used. It might just be that this guy is horrid to work for and you are better off somewhere else, but the professional with more education and experience than you is not going to take kindly to a newly minted dental assistant's criticism, even if he is the most patient and understanding boss ever.

 

It is too late to do anything about the way you were paid now.

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Because I did take classes and was licensed and I know of wrong doing at this office can I be held responsible for them, if I do not report them? I was just following doctors orders, someone with more education and certifications than I, he should be held reliable, correct?

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