Two weeks later I went to my next appointment, this time ten blocks south. Goodbye Dental Passion, hello Beautiful Smile. The office was quite nice. There was no wait—I even filled out my forms in the (stationary) dentist’s chair. The dentist came in and introduced herself, looked at my teeth, and took x-rays. The x-rays were painless. The good dentist put my iron vest on for the entire procedure. I bit down on a tiny little thing and it took no time at all.
She handed me a mirror and showed me 5 “brown spots” she wanted to coat. “They aren’t cavities, but there’s bacteria there and they could become cavities. It’s preventative.”
“Hmm,” I said. I explained that the dentist who gave me the cleaning a few weeks before said that I had three cavities, possibly more, and that I might need root canal.
She looked over at the laptop where my teeth were on display. “I don’t really see where you’d need root canal.” She said.
“No, I thought it was strange myself. So I’m not sure about these five enamel coatings. Do I really need them?”
She explained they were my teeth, and that I didn’t have to have them. I was confused, as she had such a different take on my mouth than the previous dentist. She was quite nice, so I asked her about my front teeth.
Well, the root is strong. If you wanted to fix them, you could go veneer or crown. Both cost about $1400 a tooth. We’d have to put submit to your insurance to see if they’d cover it, which takes about four weeks.
I told her I’d think about it all and get back to her. I could do $1400 a tooth, as that would take me to the $3000 per year coverage on my insurance. Or so I thought.
I went to the front desk and was presented a bill to sign. “The insurance will send you the check and you will sign it over to us.” I was told. “We aren’t part of that spectrum plan.”
“Huh?” I wondered as I looked down at the bill. $820? I didn’t even get my teeth cleaned. They’d charged me $100-something for the visit, and over $600 for the x-rays.
I’m not sure what to say.
So much for fixing the front teeth. Even if the insurance did cover it, I’ve spent over $1000 at the dentist just getting x-rays, a cleaning, and two opinions on the state of my teeth. Enamel coverings? I don’t think so.
I do wish I had the opinion of someone I trust. Maybe the worst one really should be covered. Maybe it’s kind of almost a cavity. I don’t know.
I realized between writing these posts that the real reason I haven’t been to the dentist in so long, and the real reason that I avoid doctors, is because I don’t trust them. It’s confusing and painful when our health is in the hands of people—encouraged by a system—who are out for a buck. “Don’t worry, your insurance will cover it.” No thank you.
The health care reform that passed yesterday can barely be called reform. But at least it’s a step. Something has to be done about this system. It’s unethical.