Monday, June 23, 2008

Dentist Woes - Follow Your Gut and Brush Your Teeth!

This morning's rant is more of a suggestion to those weary when at the dentist than being one of my actual rantings. This is to help those of you to remember and listen to your internal gut feelings - then to follow through with them, which is exactly what I did this morning while at the dentist.

I have recently been at the dentist many times to get a lot of work done. And even wrote a blog post about how I must be putting their child through their next semester of private school. I have had a lot of work done and am currently waiting for my jaw bone to heal and build up itself so that I may have a few implants put in. Who hoo - sounds so exciting doesn't it? Not.

But this is where is all began. Though my teeth are now looking and feeling great, I had a retainer of sorts be made which helped temporarily replace the few teeth the dentist removed. Don't you just love that they remove teeth? Yikes, If that's not bad enough, after the healing process, you may not be able to chew food like you are used to. Well, this past Friday my retainer broke right into half in my mouth as I was chewing on something super soft - zucchini for pete's sake.

So as soon as I had the chance, I called my dentist to make an appointment. 9:00am Monday morning sharp I arrived. Then she was over booked, I waited. Though I didn't mind too much as the office was air conditioned, and I had the chance to catch up on my Women's Day Magazine issues I had missed. A full forty-five minutes had passed and was finally called in to one of the rooms. I changed the television channel to the Food Network and continued to read. And that's when the uneasy feelings started.

Should I pay attention to it? Why was I bothered? I knew I had complained in the past that the retainer hadn't fit properly, and that was due to an impression that they had taken, which was not of the best fit. I even had to use denture cream, which I already felt like a granny having to use, to make the retainer fit someone better and not hurt in my mouth. I was told by my dentist to allow me and my mouth enough time to get used to it - the retainer - 'what, you mean not the pain to get used to?! You just got to be joking!'

So after waiting another 10 minutes in the room, a woman came in who normally does the accounting. She mentioned that she was asked by the dentist to make and do my impressions, since the dentist was busy. Already, I didn't like this. I let her know that she needed the smallest of 'impression molds' to use in my mouth - despite the amount I talk, I actually have quite a small mouth. Who knew?!

She then asked me if this was a previous partial retainer that I had, or was it a retainer that was made 'here' at their offices. I mentioned here, and she immediately thought they hadn't charged me yet for this particular piece of dental equipment. I nearly went through the roof. Not only did I know in fact they did charged me, but couldn't she at least pay attention to what she was about to do versus worrying about money? I knew I had a couple of thousand dollars in their favor in my balance. Pulease!

She tried several molds which still didn't fit, and by this time, my stomach was about to give way. And after each time she left the room, I kept saying to myself, "If you don't feel comfortable with her to create the mold and impressions, then walk out!"

Finally, I followed my gut feelings, and felt bad about lying to her that I was feeling sick - though it wasn't too far from the actual truth. I assured her that I would have to come back and would reschedule. Without saying it, I wanted to add, 'with someone else who knew what they were doing!' The one thing I didn't need now was yet another retainer that wouldn't fit my mouth and break again all at my own expense. No wisdom tooth way!

So my advice to you, especially if you are paying crazy monies, listen to your gut feelings. If a dentist has an employee you are not feeling comfortable with, you have the right to get up and not take their 'so called service'. This is your mouth, your health and your wallet. Do not feel guilty about it.

There are many dentist's whose chair-side manners are excellent and my own dentist is one of them as with all her assistants. But to have the accountant come in - who I know works at four other dentist offices running their accounting, I am sure she also has some sort of dentist assistance experience, but her chair-side manners were not to my liking. Oddly enough, she seemed relieved too to not have to do the impression on my teeth.

So follow your gut, reschedule if you have to. Ask to speak with the dentist in private. It is in their best interest that you have a pleasant enough experience in their office, since of course they want any referral you could throw them their way. But this is your mouth, and when you are spending money like this, you should expect to receive the appropriate service for that you pay.

I am glad I followed my own gut feelings. And right now? I am calling them back to reschedule to do the impression and use the correct molds along with making sure the correct and skilled professional does the work. And you can bet your bottom dental dollar, I will speak with the dentist tomorrow about my experience - which I am sure will not be repeated.

No comments: