Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Dental PTSD

I will open by saying that for many...many...many...m a n y...years I have suffered from what I call dental PTSD. This has resulted in many a chuckle and "oh you silly girl" attitudes and comments. Most people have no problems going to a dentist and it's just a fact of life. Just not my life.

From the age of...the first I can remember, I have never had a good dental visit. Actually, I think I may have had one good my entire life. And since I am around 40 years old that's a lot of years of not good news. If you are a lucky soul who has bribed the tooth fairy to see things your way, then you don't understand. You picked up your toy at the end of your visit and went on with your life. My visits consisted of stern looks with follow up appointments to fix that cavity I had purposely given myself. Those said appointments involved 12 foot long needles that looked more like jousting poles rather than needles...ramming into my mouth. I've been sent to an oral surgeon because one dentist couldn't get the right place numb. I've also had an oral surgeon ignore that I had an abscess and pull a tooth basically with no pain killer. I'm surprised I could drive home I was in such shock.

Fast forward to age 32. I'm in Colorado working a contract job. Nice job. Have probably worked my way through 10 dentists because of moves and job changes. I have now replaced getting fillings with crowns. Why waste time? My new dentist says "we have long term work to do." Insert anxiety here. But I have to say this dentist was the best dentist I ever went to. He fixed the problem! My successive dentists have had a hard time even detecting what is real and what is his work. I say successive because we moved back to Texas. So no more going to Mr. Wonderful.

Now at present day. I'm seeing what I think is a great dentist. He has big windows, flat screen t.v.'s and massage chairs. And yet the "problem" persists. Some would say the problem is concentrating my stress in my mouth, like some say a person concentrates their stress in their back muscles or through getting headaches. I recently had a consultation from a periodontist that said I had an overreactive immune system that was causing problems with my gums. That sounds great but it's a little like hearing, "it's not your fault that you gained 500 pounds." It's nice to hear but you know it's not quite the truth. His fee for fixing the problem is $5000. So off I go to...

"Maybe the worst mistake of my life" periodontist. This is really what this post is all about. I just like giving some history. So I see this periodontist and I don't like things from the start. Waiting room is not as nice and HIPPA is pretty much out the window as you can hear everyone talking about other patient cases. 1st red flag. This office is really busy. 2nd red flag.
Get my exam and the dentist concurs with the first dentist, (good sign) but asks me to look at a binder full of press releases about him while I wait to talk to the finance lady. 3rd red flag. I talk to the finance lady (a.k.a. used car saleswoman). The bill is less than half of Mr. $5000. I explain my insurance situation (we're in open enrollment and my husband's job just switched insurances) and we don't know exactly what is covered. We go ahead and apply for and receive Care Credit. I've worked long and hard paying our bills off so this not a surprise.

Now your inner common sense is telling you that you don't have to worry about a bill because everything will be run through insurance first before it's run through Care Credit, like it's supposed to be done. But no no no...silly go get the mail and there's a bill from Care Credit for $1188. Before the work has even been done. That's right, the procedure is not even scheduled until January 12th. Thank You Dr. Kent Hamilton, DDS in New Braunfels, Tx

So tomorrow I have to take Jace to the dentist's office with me to try to straighten this mess out. It looks like I will have to completely cancel the procedure and see someone else, yet again, to avoid getting billed overly early before insurance pays. It's a big issue because with insurance we're looking at paying between $0-$500. I have to take Jace because he has a certain...diplomacy...which I cannot possess, no matter how hard I try, and gets people to do the right thing. I simply lose my cool... Jace is up for hire if you have any delicate issues you need solved. (he'll be so happy to read that)

I will update you accordingly...


  1. Nicely done my friend. Now when somebody googles your dentist's name, this post will pop up once google bots get a hold of this thread.

  2. It wasn't until I started blogging that I realized how important good customer service is...because stressed out moms with 4 year olds can go on the internet and give scathing factual accounts about their experiences, which then show you said...all over the internet.