How to Invoke a Face Mask Exemption at the Doctor or Dentist

Dear Stevo,

Thank you for the excellent article about not wearing the mask at the grocery store. Bravo! Neither have I, and each time we do so, we create just a little more precedent to exercise our God given Liberty. 

I am scheduled to have a dental treatment shortly. Any advice you can offer how not to comply with the mask mandate? It would be most appreciated. I don’t intend to wear a mask under any circumstances, but neither do I wish to endanger my dentist’s license to practice. 

Blessings, and may Liberty increase forever!

-John S. 

The Case Against Masks... Heckenlively, Kent Buy New $12.99 (as of 04:52 EDT - Details) No one wants to cause their dentist to lose their license, and those with a legitimate face mask exemption don’t want to put themselves at risk by wearing that mask. Your dentist’s office has a face mask policy. As with any other face mask policy, you can just learn about the policy and exemptions and see if it fits you.

In the same way that you need never wear a mask to the grocery store to other stores and you need never wear a mask anywhere else in life, there’s no reason to wear a mask to the dentist or doctor when you have a legitimate exemption to their rule.

These are steps I would recommend for your dentist’s office or doctor’s office.

1.) Inquire About Exemptions

Over the phone or by email you can simply write “I am scheduled to come into your office and was wondering about the exemptions to your face mask policy.” Email and phone both have advantages. If you are worried about not being ready to answer a question on the spot, then email may be the way to go since it will give you a little extra time to think over your response and to say what you need to.

2.) See If You Fit Their Policy

Take a look at the response. Honest human interaction is based on the idea of identifying your boundaries, communicating your boundaries, and defending your boundaries. You have now started a conversation in which you are able to communicate your boundaries and in which your dentist and his staff are able to communicate theirs. This is a good first step in the right direction.

3.) Request An Exemption 

Ideally they will send you a written policy, to which you can respond “I am unable to wear a face mask safely.” A written policy sent to you is best because then you can clearly see where you fit into their policy and whether your exemption counts. It puts all patients on the same footing in terms of granting exemptions. It might also allow for exceptions to the policy to be requested. When Panic Attacks: Th... Burns M.D., David D. Best Price: $3.56 Buy New $10.45 (as of 03:12 EDT - Details)

However, like any other small business, a dentist or doctor is often likely to have more busy work than time to handle everything. It takes some doing to put together a written policy, so they might not have any policy to send you. They might just write “Do you have a medical condition that stops you from wearing a face mask?”

You could respond to their email with “I am unable to wear a face mask safely. Can you make the proper arrangements for me to come in?”

In a medical or dental setting they are used to all kinds of personal protective equipment (PPE), so they might say that it’s fine to not wear a face mask, but that you must wear some other type of PPE, such as a face shield.

To this, introduction of a new form of PPE, you can now start the whole process over again. You may be one of the many millions who cannot safely wear a face shield either. In the example of a face shield, you can again respond “In your policy, what are your face shield exemptions?”

After they send you the exemptions, you can have a look to see if you fit the exemptions, and state “I am unable to wear a face shield safely. Can you make the proper arrangements for me to come in?”

Whatever type of exotic PPE that is suggested to you, I recommend the same process: “What are the exemptions in your policy around that?” followed by “I am unable to wear it safely,” provided that applies to you. It applies to many millions.

Though it may be appealing to leap at the fact that a face shield worn on its own is not efficacious, and to ridicule the person and their suggestion, I encourage you to leave that topic alone. The more a person suggests various alternate PPE for you to wear, rather than just dropping the whole subject and honoring your requested exemption, the more it becomes clear that it’s about emotion, optics, and control rather than science, health, and safety. Repeated suggestions like that speak volumes and call into question whether this is really someone who you want making decisions with you about your health. Badass Ways to End Anx... Verschaeve, Geert Best Price: $9.16 Buy New $11.99 (as of 03:12 EDT - Details)

4.) Confirm That When You Come In, The Exemption Will Be Honored

Congratulations. You are one step closer to being a little bit more generous with yourself by not forcing yourself into detrimental situations and by not avoiding essential activity.

Don’t hurry off the phone yet.

Before you get off the phone, just confirm how you should enter the office the day of the appointment so that no one is surprised. You’re going to want to get some instruction and a name to drop.

“On the day of the appointment, who will be there and what should I say to them about this conversation?”

Your correspondent will almost certainly say that they have already marked the file and have put a note next to your name in the appointment software and that you can just say you spoke to “Julie,” or whatever the name of the person on the phone is.

A trillion dollar media machine has been steadily at work for months, attempting to get consumers of information to automatically associate the un-masked individual with mistrust and a host of other negative sentiments. If there is any conflict the day of your appointment, being able to recall and speak Julie’s name will go a long way in simplifying the encounter and building trust.

Privacy Concerns & Strangers 

No stranger deserves the trust of hearing about your personal concerns, including the person you don’t know guarding the door at the grocery store. He has absolutely no business hearing anything more than “I am unable to wear a face mask safely.” Even that is none of his business, but that’s the world we temporarily live in, and I am writing about how to continue life with some normalcy in that world. There is no reason for the question “Why?” to be asked or answered. Dare: The New Way to E... McDonagh, Barry Best Price: $14.95 Buy New $17.05 (as of 03:12 EDT - Details)

It is a harder situation, though, when the person you’ve known for decades and who has been a trusted source for medical advice is involved. If you really trust your doctor, and believe he is entirely scientific in his thought process and immune from the emotion and politics that has come to pervade nearly everything today, he is the one person you should consider listening to about face masks. So few doctors like that exist.

“I Would Rather Speak To The Doctor About This” 

If a member of the dentist’s or doctor’s staff pushes you about details of your requested exemption, you may say “It is private, if I need to discuss it over the phone, I’d rather speak to the doctor about this.”

Your Dentist Needs To Know Your Medical Concerns 

Your dentist is going to have every right to know if you have a heart condition or lung condition that is going to need attention while you are in his chair. He can hardly do his job right without knowing that. You put yourself at risk hiding such details from a dentist.

Though there are many medical conditions that prevent a person from wearing a face mask, other non-medical conditions should be kept in mind as well, since so many people suffer from them, and they are so very debilitating.

The Crippling Effects Of Panic Attacks 

Those who suffer from anxiety, panic attacks, and claustrophobia are beginning to speak up about their needs to live un-masked. The National Institute of Mental Health estimates that 4.7% of U.S. adults, or 15,510,000, will experience a panic disorder at some time in their lives. An estimated 2.7% of US adults experienced a panic disorder over the last year, or 8,910,000.

That’s a lot of people for a one-size-fits-all face mask mandate. It doesn’t begin to take into account the panic attacks suffered by those with social anxiety disorder, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, and many other conditions.

Face masks won’t trigger all of those people. In fact, one aspect of panic disorders is that the trigger is not often evident. Before everyone is forced into a face mask, a transparent and vigorous public discussion should be had about the grievous harm that causes. Mandatory masking harms many people in many of ways. Medical decisions are necessarily individual. One-size-fits-all approaches does not serve a patient well.

While panic attacks are generally not believed to be physically harmful, they have physical manifestations and can be the scariest physical experience some have ever had. To those experience them, they feel very real. As the psychosomatic nature of them begins to attract further attention and research, the physical harm of panic attacks is likely to become more clear.

Maintaining Some Privacy Around Panic Attacks 

Dentists and doctors are used to prying into a patient’s medical history in order to identify potential dangers. Your dentist or doctor may really push to know more about your history of panic attacks or other conditions. You can talk about it freely, if you believe that serves you well. Alternately, you can offer him a statement like this that doesn’t even mention the word panic attacks:

“It’s not a medical issue. It’s more of a psychological thing that I am currently working through. If you’d be willing to let me leave it at that, I would appreciate it, but the bottom line is, I am unable to safely wear a face mask.”

Or just say the single phrase “Panic attacks.” If the dentist or doctor keeps asking questions, you can simply say “Don’t want to talk about it.”

A Quick Summary, To Protect Against Probing Questions That Might Catch You Off Guard 

Any probing questions like: “Who are you seeing?” “Are you getting treatment?” “How long has this been going on for?” “Can I call your therapist and confer with him?” can just be answered with “I’d prefer not to talk about it right now.” Any PPE suggestions can be answered with “What is your exemption policy?” You shouldn’t have too much more to worry about.

What If They Say “No”?

“Thanks for your email, would you please send me referrals to three other practices.” That’s the only sentence I would send to a dentist who told me “no.”

Dentists are able to work with all kinds of communicable diseases and to use all forms of protocol to protect themselves from a sick or potentially infectious patient. They should have no difficulty accommodating your desire to pass from front door to treatment room unmasked.

After you get your referrals, call those dentists and make sure you are clear that you are considering becoming a new patient and will be unable to wear a mask. There are plenty of dentists who will be happy to earn your business by providing you with the experience that you want.

Please Don’t Wear A Mask 

Truthfully, many people look better in masks. They look more comfortable. Some even have a level of comfort that showing their face to the world and to their family doesn’t provide for them. That’s a truly sad thing to be able to say.

Considering that, you might understand the existential threat you pose to them by suggesting people should be un-masked. If it becomes abnormal to wear a mask, they will need to go back to not wearing a mask. They wouldn’t have the courage to do otherwise. By you being an individual, you deny them that strength in numbers. You might understand why they tell so many stories about society’s duty to wear masks.

The reality is, too many Americans are harmed by the awful, one-size-fits-all mask approach and its heavy handed enforcement.

The world is made a better place by making sure those who qualify for an exemption speak up and take that exemption. “…We create just a little more precedent to exercise our God given Liberty.”

I have not worn a mask and don’t intend to, recognizing the detriment it poses to me.

Who’s with me?

Send me your stories from the checkpoint and help me put an end to this tyranny.