Don’t you just hate it when people use jargon that you don’t understand to explain something to you? It drives me crazy. And it really drives me crazy when I realize we are doing it here in our dental office.
I looked up the meaning of the word “jargon” today. While there were a couple of definitions the one I am talking about is this: “specialized language concerned with a particular trade, profession, or group.” Jargon is a closed language only a select group of people understand. If you use jargon on people not in the same group you will just be confusing. You aren’t impressing anyone, you are just alienating them. When I am somewhere and someone is trying to explain something to me I want to hear the explanation in terms I understand.
This subject reminds me of a Steve Martin joke from back in the 70’s:
“Ok, I don’t like to gear my material to the audience but I’d like to make an exception because I was told that there is a convention of plumbers in San Francisco this week – I understand about 30 of them came down to the show tonight – so before I came out I worked-up a joke especially for the plumbers. Those of you who aren’t plumbers probably won’t get this and won’t think it’s funny, but I think those of you who are plumbers will really enjoy this…
“This lawn supervisor was out on a sprinkler maintenance job and he started working on a Findlay sprinkler head with a Langstrom 7″ gangly wrench. Just then, this little apprentice leaned over and said, “You can’t work on a Findlay sprinkler head with a Langstrom 7″ wrench.” Well this infuriated the supervisor, so he went and got Volume 14 of the Kinsley manual, and he reads to him and says, “The Langstrom 7″ wrench can be used with the Findlay sprocket.” Just then, the little apprentice leaned over and said, “It says sprocket not socket!”
“Were these plumbers supposed to be here this show…?”
When you work in a specialized field it is easy to get caught up in the jargon. In the dental office we have a specialized language and it is okay to use it around fellow employees and others in the profession, but when you come into our dental office you don’t want to hear us saying “we took a couple of bitewings and a PA and we found that you have caries in #3 and you need a DO composite” or “after we took an FMX we found you need an RCT , post, and PFM on #13.” Say what?? It all starts to sound like a Langstrom 7” gangly wrench. I know we have been guilty of that at times but we are trying to make that a thing of the past.
We recently instructed everyone working in our office that when talking to patients if their mom didn’t use the word, lose it. I have never heard my mom talk about the mesial buccal surface of anything and I imagine your mom doesn’t talk like that either. We need to keep these words in the staff room.
Next time you are in our office I hope we talk to you using common language. If we start to ramble in our dental jargon I hope that instead of just listening to us go wah wah wah wah you will tell us to stop that nonsense. You deserve to have us speak to you in English, not dentalese.