Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Dental Horror

So WifeRat made an appointment for me to see the dentist that she used in high school and college here in Fargo. I hadn't been to the dentist in more than a while, so I went without complaint.

One thing that is striking about Fargo is that everything here is huge and relatively new, half of what I think of as Fargo probably wasn't around 30 years ago. I'm used to going to the dentist in DC, where you have an office wedged into 16-18 foot wide building that's probably some where in the neighborhood of a 100 years old. Even an immaculate place is going to be a little crusty by virtue of the age of the building. So I was a little bit in awe of the enormous, new building where this dentist has his office.

The first time I go to this place, it's just for an examination. Shortly after I arrive I have a consultation with the dentist. We meet in a conference room with a dental hygienist and then in great detail he explains his dental philosophy, talking about doing a soft tissue check for oral cancers and shit because if he doesn't do it no one else will.

One thing you have to understand about me, I grew up as an Army brat. I always got excellent medical and dental care, but it was very utilitarian. I was in my mid-20's before I ever went to a doctor or dentist's office that had a magazine in the waiting room that was less than two years old. As a result of these early experiences, the idea that the dentist would sit down and lay out a unified theory of dentistry is really weird to me. I guess bedside manner isn't something I really need out of my health care professionals; just fixing me up and getting me on my way is enough for me.

So after the big spiel, Dr. I. Yankem sends me off to have one of his flunkies take a bunch of x-rays and shit. While I'm waiting for the film to be developed, the hygienist comes in and offers me a selection of magazines for my reading pleasure. When the pix are finally ready, we talk about what's going on in my mouth for a minute and then I'm shown the door and have to make another appointment to get my two cavities filled. Fortunately WifeRat knew the drill with this place and I already had an appointment on the books to get a cleaning, so they just extended that time by an hour to deal with my rotten grill.

Finally the sordid topic of coin is raised and I get torched for $170 for a dental appointment where my teeth didn't even get flossed.

Today I went back for the cleaning and whatnot. This time there wasn't a lot of preamble, I was immediately shown to a chair once I left the waiting room. Dr. Yankem comes in and, in his usual ultra-thorough style, explains what's going down with the anesthesia. This was followed by a typical sequence of drilling, weird smelling smoke, suction thingy, and drooling.

Then a dental hygienist (DH) and her flunkie comes in to do some sort of supplemental examine before I get my teeth cleaned. DH then begins to jab me in the gums with a sharp instrument and starts yelling out numbers that are noted on some sort of chart by the flunkie.

After DH finishes, we enter the high pressure sales portion of the day. The situation reminded me of when you're buying a car and they send you back to that little room with the finance guy and he puts the squeeze on you explaining that underbody rust proofing can be had for another $4 each month. The DH tries to convince me that I need some sort of treatment I've never heard of to deal with some condition that I wasn't aware that I had. I ask for more information and the DH comes back with two estimates, one for $1000 and the other for $350. After a bunch more questions from me, we settle on the less expensive treatment with the understanding that we won't have time to finish today and I will have to come back A-FUCKING-GAIN!

I don't know if ol' girl was pissed because I didn't go for the okey-doke on the more expensive treatment or what, but she gouged the fuck out of my gums during the debridement.

Going out to that front desk is worse than the treatment. I get up there, my mouth is all fucked up, sore, and half numb and then I'm waiting for them to tell me how much I owe. The receptionist pushes a few buttons and announces the damage. $442, dagger! But I did get a 3% discount for paying the whole thing right then.

It's many hours later and my mouth still feels kind of fucked up in a way that it's never really felt after leaving the dentist. I can't really open wide without feeling it and teeth that weren't even worked on feel kind of funny. This is some bullshit. Fucking Dentist!

54 comments:

Knockout Ed said...

Not to laugh at your pain my brother but this is some funny ass shit/ scary as hell 'cause I know I have my own teeth issues.

nylonthread said...

For a while, monkey & I went to a dentist in downtown dc that set up appointments after appointments for all sorts of necessary extra care (crowns, bonding, root canals, debridements, bruxism guards). One year, we were down $7,500K because of all the random stuff we desperately needed!

We go to a dentist in NoVA. She cleans our teeth and gently suggests we come back in 6 months. I'm almost certain that we helped Dr. come-back-in-two-weeks pay for some extravagant overseas vacations.

(ha, my word verification is "ortho," how appropriate)

Hill Rat said...

@KE

I've always been told by dentists that I have "good" teeth, so all this drama at the dentist's office comes as a bit of a shock.

If your grill really is banged up, waiting is not going to help the situation.

nylonthread said...

HR, I dunno if my point came across in that rambling comment, but you probably do have good teeth. You just stumbled upon a greedy dentist who sees you as a potential open wallet.

Get a second opinion before going too deep into your checking account.

Hill Rat said...

HR, I dunno if my point came across in that rambling comment, but you probably do have good teeth.

Oh no, I knew exactly what you were saying. But WifeRat did say that my teeth looked very nice when I got home yesterday, so I'll finish up with the cleaning and let it go at that.

Knockout Ed said...

My teeth are good just not great. I guess I've always been a little paranoid about 'em.

Anonymous said...

I feel your dental pain. I just saw a dentist that told me that I had a 3 and a 4 pocket around two of my teeth. She refused to do a regular cleaning, and did a "deep cleaning" instead. I am a floss nazi, and really do floss my teeth twice a day. The DH acknowledged that I did have nice teeth, no bleeding, or swelling etc... So, why was I getting a deep cleaning again? The deep cleaning was EXACTLY the same cleaning that I received a year ago, except this time I cost me an additional 350 bucks!

Cosmetic Dentist Cleveland said...

I can't laugh at you pain buddy bcz I know about my own sever dental pain. Once, it was too acute that tears rolled out of my eyes.Its not funny at all.

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