Texas Senator Wants People to Stop Getting Drunk at the Dentist's Office

Yes, some dentists' offices do currently allow patients to get their fade on in the waiting room.
March 12, 2017, 3:00pm

Going to the dentist's office isn't anyone's idea of a good time, but what if you could knock back a cold one or a glass of wine before sitting down for some fillings? It might make the excruciating anticipation of getting a root canal a little easier, or at least mellow some of the profound boredom that comes with reading back issues of Us Weekly and Highlights in a drab waiting room.

To "take the edge" off of dental procedures, some dentist offices in cities like Houston and New York have been offering pre-treatment drinks to patients as a sort of spa-like amenity in recent years. But the waiting room happy hour could be coming to an end in Texas; a bill in the state Senate aims to make it illegal to offer booze to patients. Killjoys.

Texas State Senator Lois Kolkhorst introduced the bill last month, and on Thursday, during committee discussions, legislators called serving alcohol to patients "appalling" and "irresponsible," according to The Dallas Morning News.

"There's nothing in the code that prevents you from doing this, but I think it's a line that we can't cross," Senator Kolkhorst said.

In a statement sent to The Dallas Morning News, the Texas Dental Association supported the bill and said that booze could cause complications and have an effect on a patient's ability to consent to procedures. Other health professionals have also warned against drinking before dental visits, saying that alcohol could affect your body's blood clotting ability, among other concerns.

And it isn't just patients boozing up before they go under the drill or submit to forced flossing. Parents taking their kids to the dentist could be hitting the bottle while their kids are back going to join the no-cavity club.

"Most people don't recognize it, but certainly, in some dental offices, there was alcohol being provided while you were able to let your child go back and have work done," Kolkhorst told The Austin American-Statesman. "As a daughter of a dentist, I can't believe that's even going on."

In Senate committee discussions, Kolkhorst mentioned a case in which a family in Houston gave the go-ahead for a procedure for their child that ultimately proved life-threatening.

The no-booze bill applies to health care practitioners of all types, and excludes the use of prescription alcohol, as in, you know, mouthwash. The bill hasn't passed yet, but it's hard not to think that the idea of a waiting room bar was too good to be true.