Thursday, August 28, 2008

Dental Pain

I will admit it, I am contemplating adult orthodontics. I have looked into getting this done twice in the past, but could not afford it. I mentioned it to our new dentist during my routine cleaning and he suggests I make a consultation appointment to go over our options. That appointment was today.

I arrived, checked in and sat down to read. I waited only long enough to get through the first paragraph of an article in some magazine from last spring before I was called from the waiting room. The hygienist who greeted me at the door to the office turned and started walking towards the back of the office and I followed. We walked past a row of chairs and the dentist waved as he is hovering over patient just as I was shown to my chair at the end of the row.

The hygienist got right to work as soon as I sat down. She proceeded to take molds of my mouth, photos of my teeth and X-rays of my head. This took almost 45 minutes. I was slightly surprised that they went ahead with this step without any mention of the cost, time involved or what the actual process was, but I let them do their thing. After an hour and a half of molds and waiting, photos and waiting, X-rays and waiting followed by more waiting, the dentist finally comes to my chair to see me. He looks in my mouth for a long 30 seconds and says we're good to go. He starts to leave and I stand up still wondering when the consultation portion of the appointment was going to happen. I mention that I'd like to go over costs, meaning what the different options were. He points to the young woman who has been helping me and says she'll go over it.

I follow the hygienist as she leads me to the front desk. She smiles and walks away. At this point the receptionist takes over and I am presented with a bill to sign saying I agree thousands of dollars with the option for a payment plan. She starts to go over the payment options and the possibility of 11.9% interest. At this point I am very upset. I look at the receptionist, as the hygienist is long gone, and I ask her what this is for. She looks a little confused. I explain that I don't even know what they are planning for my teeth. She looks around and walks to a small office to find the hygienist. She comes back less than a minute later and relays the information back to me. He wants to put braces on my 6 front teeth. The hygienist walks back to the desk, perhaps I was making a scene, and attempts to help the receptionist answer my questions. I finally ask why there are no other options and she tells me this is the best way.

Oh no you didn't. You did not decide what the best and ONLY medical option is for me.

You are not on the patient side of the desk, I am, and these are my teeth.

I ask her again about other options and she says I can get veneers and have all my teeth ground out. The hygienist and the receptionist look at each other and nod about the awful thought of grinding down your teeth to get straight teeth.

At this point, I am mad. I know there are other options that do not involve tooth destruction. I also know that I would like to know what it would cost to straiten all my teeth, not just the six in front that the dentist assumes are all I care about, but that is apparently a well guarded secret.

I should be allowed to ask my questions from the dentist, not the receptionist. It is his degree on the wall over her head, not hers. I have other questions and concerns related to my teeth and past dental history, but the dentist was long gone and his office door shuts behind me as this is going on.

At this point I think I will have to find a new dentist. If the doctor is too busy to go over his treatment plan for me, with me, then we have a problem. Perhaps he assumes I cannot make my own medical decisions. How could I trust this man to outline any issues with my kid's teeth?


Stacie said...

A long time ago I checked into this same thing...for closing my gap. Even though my dentist thought it was nuts of me to want to change anything about my teeth, he sat down with me and explained all my options...(braces, veneers, partial something or other to hide the gap) he went over what each would cost and so on. Not the hygenist, not the receptionist...HE did. Not only that...he did not do an extra molds or xrays to do this consult. Sounds like your dentist heard you say braces and he set up up for them...without REALLY hearing you just wanted advise.

I would approach him about it and see how he acts...then make your decision on changing dentist or not. (my opinion, not TELLING you what to do with your teeth ;) )

Eleny said...

Yeah find a new dentist, that is ridicules! He should of been discussing options with you and not leaving it to the receptionist and nurse.