Saturday, September 8, 2012

My Life As A Dental Patient, Chapter 65

Yes, Chapter 65.

As you know, I made it clear to the receptionist that I wanted the last appointment of the day because I wanted to speak with the dentist without her having other patients at the same time.  I wanted all of her attention.  Well, I got to the office & she had 2 patients still there.  This was not surprising or upsetting to me because naturally dentists & doctors can get behind. Treatments take longer than planned which backs things up.  I calmly waited in the reception area for these 2 patients to come out but they never did.  (The double dose of Xanax I took before I left home benefited me greatly throughout my visit.)

An assistant appeared & called me back to an examining room.  I told her I did not want to go to an examining room, I would rather speak with the dentist in her office.  The assistant was very surprised by this & went to ask the dentist if this would be okay.  She then led me into the dentist's office where I waited maybe 10 minutes.  The dentist came in & sat down & asked me how things have been.  Per John's suggestion I was nice.  I began by being complimentary & kind ... telling her that I know she has worked very hard the past 8 months to get my bridge to fit correctly & I know that all the problems I've been having with it is as frustrating for her as it is for me.  I reminded her that I've had 2 other bridges placed in the past & never had any problems with either of them so I was clueless as to why I was having so many problems now.  She asked me lots of questions, which I answered clearly & calmly, & she jotted down my answers (or at least jotted things down which were hopefully my answers), & she then began to tell me that she doesn't want to mess around with this anymore ... she has worked hard & done everything she knows to do but yet I still tell her I'm having problems.  Again I was calm when I told her it's not like I enjoy coming to see her every couple weeks.  I'm not looking for problems.  I can't help it that they're there.  When I brought up the whistling issue she asked me if anyone has ever told me they've heard me whistle.  I said yes & told her again that my husband, who is hard of hearing, can hear it, & my cousin when I'm talking with him on the phone can hear it, & I can hear it all the time!  Since people are so unfriendly in these parts I sadly don't have anyone else I speak with so these were the only references I had.    

At this point she excused herself to attend to one of the patients I mentioned earlier.  I couldn't believe that she was juggling me between other patients when I made it clear to the receptionist that I wanted there to be no other patients but me when I met with her!  I waited a while & watched as one of the patients left.  She then came in to talk with me a bit more ... asking me more questions & then telling me that she wanted to refer me to a specialist ... a prosthodontist.  This is a person who specializes in the restoration & replacement of teeth.  A cosmetic dentist is not a prosthodontist.  A prosthodontist undergoes 3 years of additional training to become a prosthodontist.  She said that there are only 3 prosthodontists in Kentucky ... one who is getting ready to retire & 2 in Lexington.  One is on the faculty at the University of Kentucky.  She is wanting to get me in to see him.  The other is in private practice but she doesn't really like him because he is very gruff with his patients but I may end up having to see him if the faculty guy can't see me.  Anyway, I asked her what this is going to cost me.  I thought surely this was a freebie thing ... one dentist asking another to give her an opinion of her work ... but no, I have to pay for it.

She then went back to check on her remaining patient & the assistant came in & said she was taking me back to an examining room.  The dentist then came in to examine me & told me that as far as she could see there is nothing wrong with the bridge ... it is "perfect."  I had told her that I'm having some pain underneath one of the teeth of the bridge but she told me I wasn't.  Yes, that's what she told me.  Apparently I don't know when I'm having pain.  She also said she did not hear any whistling the whole time I was talking with her.  This made me wish that I had brought the letter with me that the second opinion dentist wrote where she spent a whole paragraph explaining where the whistling was coming from & what should be done about it.  I will be sure to take that with me to the prosthodontist.  At this point she was starting to leave the room saying "I need to get back to my other patient" but I stopped her & said I still had questions.  She came back & I asked her what happens after I see the prosthodontist.  Will he send me back to her for whatever needs to be done or will he do it.  She told me that's up to me & I thought to myself "You can be sure I won't be coming back here, honey."   

So there you have it.  I will be getting a call next week regarding an appointment with the prosthodontist. The receptionist tried to call him while I was in the office but got an answering machine.  It was late Friday afternoon so no surprise there.

Nothing was mentioned about taking the bridge back, putting in the plastic one, refunding my money & sending me on my way.  In retrospect I should've jumped on that offer when she made it several weeks ago but again I was so shocked by how nasty she was when she said it that I couldn't say anything, & then when she saw the look on my face she said she was just kidding.  I have done some research & you can't sue a dentist in Kentucky for faulty work until you go to another dentist & have the work redone, & then there's no guarantee that you will win a court case even if you do pursue one.  Also, the likelihood of one dentist going to court to testify against another is doubtful.  I have the option of reporting her to the state dental board but that will not get me my money back.  They will only look into my complaint, reprimand her, & that will be the end of it.

I'm sorry to have made so many posts about these dental issues.  I'm sure many of my new followers are asking themselves what were they thinking when they decided to follow me, but perhaps my experiences will help others avoid similar circumstances.  In looking back over my life at all the situations I have been involved in along these lines ... situations involving buying homes, hiring contractors of various sorts, dealings with business owners, & of course people in the medical & dental fields ... I should write a book or maybe make a film & it should be required reading/viewing prior to graduation from high school or college.  It would probably be a more welcome instructional presentation than my idea about traveling around to different schools & lecturing to girls about the importance of eating right & exercising. My thought here was to appear at assemblies where girls would file in & then I would come out onto the stage wearing a robe & holding a microphone.  At center stage I would simply drop the robe & amidst the shrieks of horror say "Make sure, girls, that you always eat right & exercise or this is what could happen to you."  Sort of a "scared straight" approach.


The Bear's Blog said...

What a horror story. I would try my best to get some money back. This dentist doesn't sound very professional, and maybe a bit too much attitude.


Adele said...

Shirlee, I'm sorry about your dental problems. I have a special issue myself with a gum disease which no dentist would help me with, so I was referred to a specialist at our local university. What a relief!! She took the time to talk with me and explained my situation. Unfortunately, there is no medical cure but at least she can help with infections and pain.

To me, I would do anything to have no pain or discomfort in my mouth. Whatever the cost, if I were you I would leave this incompetent dentist immediately and go to the specialist at the university. They are the teachers who do research in their special fields and are experts. I would trust him to help me and relieve me. Don't worry about what has been done - it's in the past. Just do anything to correct the problems, fine a way to pay for the work, and go on with your life happy to be able to live without dental pain.

Hope everything works out for you. My thoughts are with you as you move forward and don't look back. Adele

TheCrankyCrow said...

Ok....I just read chapters 64 and 65 and am combining my comments here. As I said (several chapters ago already), cut the ties with your "regular" dentist....get the dickens out of there, DON'T GO BACK!!! If even one iota of doubt about competency had crept into my mind, I would have hit the yellow brick road. Whether I was correct in my assessment or not...why bother? Err on the cautious side. Surely what this dentist was "attempting" to do isn't rocket science and another dentist could finish her work.

Just my two cents. Obviously, I vote for either dentist B (any reason you wouldn't go back to her??) or the specialist (although that is likely to be more costly...and you have to start from square one, whereas square 1 has already been covered with Dentist B.

As for recouping your money...I definitely agree that a lawsuit is going to cause you more anxiety, stress and money than it's worth. Medical malpractice is a breed all its own - and it is very difficult to get one "professional" to testify against another. However, I wouldn't just necessarily roll over and go away either. I would probably write Dentist A a well-thought out letter explaining your concerns and that you have, in fact, sought out a second opinion. At this point, you prefer to find a solution elsewhere and agree that the best route is for her to refund the money as she originally proposed on such and such a date....(If you think she won't without getting the bridge that's in your mouth back, you can offer to come in for her to take that out and put the temporary one back in or whatever.) If she is non-responsive to that letter, or refuses, I'd kick it up a notch and tell her that you are considering reporting her to the dental board, but would prefer to resolve the issue amicably. (Reporting her to the board may not get you your money back, but the threat of it to her might....)

Smiles & Hugs ~ Robin

Ma Teakettle said...

Ahh Shirlee...I am so sorry that this is continuing to plague you, it breaks our hearts to know that you are still having problems, and as your friends we hope that you will post about it as much as you need to...that's what friends are for :)
That being said, it sounds like your dentist has become less than interested in looking at the forest through the trees, so to speak and I would move on, as Adele said above, head to the University dentist asap. I will send good thoughts your way :)
Please keep us all posted!
I LOL'd so hard at your idea, and would you believe I was just thinking that same thing this morning, if I had only known at 16 what I know now I would have done it all different!
Hugs kiddo and hang in there...

Ma Teakettle said...

PS...Who knew that things that were once flat and perky could all fall down and in the same direction...south! Can't see me toes!
wink wink

Vickie said...

Oh Shirlee, I agree with Robin 100%! I too have been telling ya, GET OUT OF THERE! Try for the refund. Go to dentist B. I am praying for you.♥

~Sara said...

Oh Shirlee what a mess. Sure hope you find relief soon! As far as the scared straight.......uuummmm, I will have to think about that one. Thanks for the laugh. Glad you can see a glimpse of humor in life still with all of the pain. Blessings~Sara

Nancy said...

Keep a copy of that letter from Dentist B. Don't give your only copy to the specialist. That way you have a dated letter from the second opinion to use against the first doctor when you sue to get the money back after the work is done. And this way you really don't need one dentist to testify again another because you have the second opinion in writing.
Hopefully you will hear back from the specialist soon. If not, be on that phone with with the first dentist to get a phone number yourself if needed by the end of this week.

Angela Cruz-garcia said...

Aaawwww sweetheart. I am so sorry to hear that things are going so rough for you. Thankfully you have a couple of options open. Going to "Dr B" or the specialist. I know how hard the decision must be with no dental insurance but the choice must be made. As those above have stated, keep the orignal letter from Dr B and give a copy to the specialist if that is the direction you decide to go. As far as how often you post on your troubles? Don't worry about that. We are your friends. We may not have met in person but we are there for you. Keep us updated on what is going on and we will keep you in our prayers that you will get pain free and have you smiling again.

Vera said...

Ajh Shirlee, sorry your aga continues...but very happy that Dentist A did not touch your mouth again. Echoing everyone else's sentiments above, DO NOT GO BACK TO HER...DO NOT LET HER TOUCH YOUR MOUTH!!! I vote for going back to Dentist B. Good luck, I'll be thinking of you.

Maggee said...

I see a consensus here--DUMP #1 as fast as you can, and get either #2 or the specialist! But isn't #2 capable of fixing the problems? I would think twice about ANYthing #1 tells me. Perhaps she get a kick back fee from referrals to specialists. IF you consider them, check credentials and if they have any negative internet postings out there! BBB, whatever... And of course, pursue a refund! Do you know of an attorney that you can ''cc' on your letter threatening a lawsuit? That works sometimes! Best to you sweetie! Hugs!

cucki said...

thinking of you so much dear.
keep well.
hugs xxx

cucki said...

thinking of you so much deary..
keep well.
hugs xxx