DEAR ABBY: I have just returned from the dentist and I'm upset. The assistant who was working with him today has long hair -- well below shoulder-length. It was not pulled back or confined at all, which meant that whenever she leaned over, it was hanging right above my open mouth. She pushed it back behind her ears quite often.
I may be terribly old-fashioned, but I consider this to be very unsanitary. I am a retired nurse. I was taught that even clean hair is to be considered "contaminated" and should NEVER be touched while working with a patient unless you immediately scrub your hands. Hair should be pulled back securely from the face whenever you are in a patient treatment or preparation area. I kept thinking about all the loose hairs that were being dropped on the counters, instruments and patients, and it made me sick.
Am I being too persnickety? Could you please check with your dental experts and tell me if a dental assistant wearing long hair loose is acceptable? I need some extensive treatment, and I can't bear the thought of returning to this office because I have to wonder if it is as clean as it should be. -- FUSSY OLD LADY
DEAR FUSSY: You have a legitimate complaint. Open your mouth and voice it to the dentist. Both he and his assistant should know the rules of proper hygiene. A professional look is sleek and clean -- and the hair should be worn up, tied back in a ponytail or confined in a hairnet. If the personnel in your dentist's office don't comply, find another dentist.