Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Getting Screwed by the Dentist

I'm breaking up with my Dentist.  Whom I used to love. 

What’s not to love about a dental practice that offers freshly baked cookies for patients?  You can apply sugar to your clean sparkly teeth before you even leave the place!



It is important to know that I was raised on well water.  I’m so old that fluoride wasn’t invented until I already had more cavities than teeth.  
And by the time I was 40 I had more crowns than Medieval England.
I started seeing my dentist, let call him “Dr. T”, 17 years ago when I first moved to Columbia.  Dr. T is not only an outstanding dentist, he’s an aesthetic dentist.  Which means his office is C*O*V*E*R*E*D with posters of beautiful people with even more beautiful smiles.
Which also means that I’ve been encouraged to get braces for 17 years.
“I’m not getting braces,” I tell Dr. T on every visit.  I remind him that if I was going to invest my money in aesthetics I’d get plastic surgery. 
Plus, I’m OK with the fact that my face will not be plastered on a poster in his waiting room.  Next to the cookies. 
During a routine visit 15 months ago, I told Dr. T’s hygienist that I had been experiencing pain in one of my back teeth.  She and Dr. T. carefully inspected the tooth and saw no visible signs of decay.  They concluded that I did not have a cavity. Rather, I had a "bruised tooth".  Dr. T. assured me that it would get better and to call them if it didn’t.  

Or if I changed my mind about braces.    
Eight months later I returned for another routine appointment, where X-Rays were taken.  As the hygienist examined them, she said, “This looks interesting.”  
(I do not want to have interesting dental X-Rays.  I want boring X-Rays.)

Sadly, Dr. T agreed with the hygienist.  You see, my tooth was completely decayed and needed to be extracted.  And, worse yet, I had to get a DENTAL IMPLANT.   

He added that if I ever wanted to get braces, this was the perfect time.
I soon learned that getting an implant is a very expensive and lengthy process which involves inserting a screw into your bone and ultimately placing a crown atop the screw.  
  
Dr. T referred me to a different dentist to whom I paid more than $3,000 to get screwed.   
I returned to Dr. T yesterday to get my mouth molded for the crown to place atop the screw that has been protruding from my gum for a month. 
After sitting through 4 different mouth molds I was sent to the front office to check out.

The Front Office Manager, let’s call her “Esmeralda”, informed me that the total cost for my new crown would be $2,300.  I gulped and asked for a discount.  

On-accounta-the-fact that IT WAS NOT A BRUISED TOOTH AND IF THEY HAD DONE A DAMN X-RAY 15 MONTHS AGO THEY WOULD HAVE SEEN A TEENY TINY CAVITY THAT COULD HAVE BEEN FILLED.
Esmeralda told me she would discuss it with Dr. T and call me back.
She phoned just an hour later to remind me that I had been offered an X-RAY during my exam the previous year and had refused it.  

Say-what?  Why in the hell would I refuse an X-RAY when I had a tooth ache?
Esmeralda also told me that Dr. T. had also adjusted my bite that day and told me to call if I had any problems and they never heard from me. 
Adjusted my bite?  What the flip does that mean?  I googled it and to find that adjusting my bite involves drilling.  

Dr. T did not drill me.
When I told Esmeralda that those stories were fiction she got all bitchy with me and basically said too bad so sad and stop shooting the messenger.   And I'm stuck.
I have one final visit to Dr. T’s office on August 29, when he will again make me royalty by placing a crown atop a screw sticking out of my gum.  I will pay $2,300 for that service.  
But I am taking every last one of those stinkin’ cookies on the way out the door. 

3 comments:

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  2. Oh, I feel your pain! I told my former dentist of 20 years that a piece of a back molar had chipped off under the gold onlay. She looked and declared that everything was fine--even though I insisted my tongue could feel a small hole/gap. When I returned six months later--you guessed it, the tooth had decayed extensively under the onlay and I needed a $5,000 root canal and crown. She had "no memory" of my pointing this out six months earlier.

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