eat me raw

Sometimes something sticks in my craw. The deal with my arrogant dentist is the latest example. I went to bed stewing on it. To borrow a phrase from my friend Angryballerina, I needed to vent. Since the dentist won’t talk to me, I wrote the following letter to the editor of the local rag.

Late last week I had a dental checkup complete with x-rays and cleaning. I was in the chair approximately an hour, less than 5 minutes of which were spent with the dentist. She noted things looked good. Then she added that my two front teeth, numbers eight and nine, could “snap off at the gum line” because they’ve had root canals and become brittle with age. She suggested I “think about” having posts and crowns done on the two teeth. One of the office workers gave me a printed estimate of the procedures and associated costs. It came to exactly $2388 dollars.

Per her suggestion, I thought about it for several days. In doing so, I came up with two questions I wanted to discuss with she or her partner. I called the office and asked to have one of the doctors call me at their convenience. The receptionist wanted to know why and I told her. She said it would be better if I just asked her and that she, not the doctor, would call me back. I then told her of my recent conversation with her boss and that I just had a couple of quick questions. No she said. I’d have to ask her and she’d serve as a go-between. I asked her if for some reason they didn’t like calling their patients. She candidly told me no, they do not like to return their patients calls.

So I held on two different times, probably for about 5 minutes, while she found my chart and relayed my concerns to her boss. I got an answer to my question, albeit not directly from the one who’d encouraged me to “think about it”. Lastly I expressed my concern over pain associated with the process and told her I wanted to make sure that they’d give me a prescription for pain relievers. The receptionist seemed taken aback. She informed me there is very little pain associated with the procedure, and ibuprofen would more than take care of it. I didn’t bother telling her that Dr. Frankenstein, the other half of the dental-duo, had performed the very same procedure on my mother a couple of weeks back. She needlessly suffered considerable pain for over a week, and she’d had just one tooth crowned.

It should be noted I’m not an ideal patient. I don’t have dental insurance and I don’t have a lot of money. It had been two years since my previous visit to them for the aforementioned reasons. I do floss and brush daily. I like my choppers. It should also be noted that I’ve been a patient of theirs for about 20 years. I have never called their office for any reason other than to schedule an appointment. I’ve never complained about any work they’ve done and in fact have been quite satisfied with their services. Six other members of my family are under their care.  I’ve referred at least one friend to them over the years.

This is how I came to realize that I need a new dentist. As Governor Haley Barbour is fond of saying, I was born at night, but not last night.

I realize full well my contribution to their bottom line doesn’t equal one of their kid’s Sunday School offering for a year. Nevertheless, it made me feel better. Additionally, it’ll force me to find another dentist inasmuch as they’ll almost certainly print my letter (they always do) and that bridge will have been blown to smithereens.

We’ve reached an impasse in our relationship. Next.


3 Responses to “eat me raw”

  1. 1 angryballerina March 19, 2008 at 9:36 am

    Vent away my friend. You know what also helps? Screaming at nothing in particular. Just make sure your neighbors are not home, least they think you really HAVE gone off the deep end

  2. 2 misterbooks March 19, 2008 at 1:02 pm

    Nice vent.

  3. 3 Arkay March 19, 2008 at 5:35 pm

    Vent, spew, dump, rant (my personal favorite :) ) to your hearts content my man. The internet isn’t just for porn anymore!!! As for the wonderfully interactive and longtime patient/customer service response you got: it’s now only and always about the almighty $. Probably always has been, sorry you took it on the chin (or is that in the mouth) with this one. Get a second opinion, get them to give you an actual timeline for deterioration and alternative that you can affect. If they want over 2 grand fromm you (I assume before taxes), make them give tyou as many minutes (hours?) of their time in free consultation, and then take your business to a nearby dental school (universities are a good bet) and see what kind of a deal you can work out with them. Good luck, with this and everything else still.

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