Thursday, June 22, 2006

Dentist of the Month Club

I am pathetic when it comes to dentists. It all started with Tom. Tom had been my dentist since I was a teen. One day shortly after we were married, I came home to find a letter from Tom (yes, we called our dentist Tom) saying that he was leaving the dental practice to go into business with his brother. Now Tom was admittedly tall, dark and handsome but I swear that's not the reason I went to him. He was friendly and gentle and above all, never scolded you about your teeth. He went above and beyond the call of duty and was willing to do whatever he could to get you taken care of. And his hygenists were fantastic too.

Exit Tom. Enter long line of unacceptable dentists.

There was his successor. We'll call her Rose. Rose wanted to sell me a new mouth. No, at 35, I'm really not considering braces, thank you! Goodbye Rose.

Enter Robert. Robert too wanted to sell me a whole new mouth. Starting with the replacement of all fillings. And he informed me that I needed not one but two crowns. Goodbye Robert.

Enter Carol. Get out the popcorn and giant boxes of candy - Carol can show you movies of your mouth while she holds you captive in the dentist chair! Gee, wonder if there's a matinee viewing. (I'm not the squeamish type but mouths just gross me out so please don't put mine on the big screen!) Oh, and when's the last time someone cleaned your waiting room? This dust has got to be migrating back to the theatre - ugh. Goodbye Carol.

Hello Jack. Dear sweet Jack. Absolutely no complaints here, except you're not in my plan. Well, it does get on my nerves that you only have half walls separating your patient areas. It does kind of gross me out to hear the garbled moans of the victim next to me. BUT you're not in my insurance plan anyways, so I must go. Goodbye Jack.

Hello Jenn. Jenn joined Tom's practice after he left. Jenn was just out of college and I actually trusted her to install a crown in my mouth. Not half bad. You're awfully far though, in spite the fact my sis lives nearby. So for lack of a better reason, Goodbye Jenn.

Hello Jeff. Wow, you still have one of those spitoons, eh? Awfully old-fashioned, aren't we? (Spitoons gross me out). Goodbye Jeff.

Hello Alan. Jeff's opposite. Alan's got a million new procedures he'd like to try on me. Cool. (Not really but Alan looks like Bob Saget of Full House so we'll stick with him.) Oooh, you know what? Your hygenist is getting on my nerves. Same spiel everytime and I think I heard her give the same spiel to the five-year old before me. Goodbye Alan.

Hello again, Jack. Remember me? Hey, new hairdo? I like it. Hey, can I come back? Thanks - you're the greatest. Uh-oh. You're not in my plan. I can't afford to pay for a $900 crown out of pocket. Goodbye Jack.

The above incidents are true and transpired over an eight year period. I left a few out, I'm sure. The perfect dentist still eludes me. I have the beginnings of another toothache, not to mention a root canal in desperate need of a crown. I really need to find someone. I'm thinking about sending out applications and interviewing potential candidates? What do you think?


Katrina said...

Dentists...sigh. I avoid going as much as possible. It doesn't matter whether I go every six months or every 2 years, I always need a filling or some sort of work done. Let me know if you find a good one. I'm overdue for a visit.

Jennifer said...

Wow. I haven't even been to the dentist that many times in eight years. But when I went a couple of months ago, I was informed that I had really good teeth (after not having been for at least 3 or 4 years). I like our dentist now. He's good with the kids, good for me etc. And close by. And on the plan. So, we'll stick with them.

Jeannine said...

That is a lot of dentists! When we first moved back to PA we started going to a local dentist. We had no insurance and he was expensive, but we liked him. Then we started getting suspicious when he said there were seven cavities starting to form on our oldest son's brand new adult teeth. The final straw was when he accused me of lying about wearing braces. He insisted I used to wear them and I told him I had never worn them (which is very true). He even called in his assistant and pointed to my teeth and said, "Look, you can tell she used to wear braces." Aaaagggghhhh!!!!! That was the end of that dentist.

We found out about a dentist in Lancaster who only charged $8 a visit plus $8 if he thought you're teeth needed a cleaning. We started going there. Eventually he raised his rates to $9 but we didn't leave. :-) Then he retired. Some younger dentists bought his business and they charge a little less than anywhere else, but the prices are fairly standard. We now have dental insurance so it doesn't really matter so we just stayed.

Will said...

Yes!!! Interviewing potential dentists. That's EXACTLY what I'm currently thinking about. I need to find a dentist that is somewhere in between my last one (HMO plan, minimal care, LONG LONG waiting time to get ANYTHING scheduled) and the one before that (wanted to do a massive amount of work; my out of pocket costs, the part NOT covered by my reasonably good state employee insurance plan, would have been $2400! OUCH).

Do you think a dentist would subject him or herself to an interview in hopes of obtaining one lousy new patient? What questions should one ask? How do you really get at what you're looking for in a dentist?