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  • Writer's pictureSarah Rose

I Fired My Dentist

[Listen to an audio version of this blog here.]

Not because she's a bad person, but because she's a terrible dentist.

I started seeing her about three years ago, when I moved to a new city in a new state, got a big girl job, and finally had good insurance. I hadn't seen a dentist in over a year, my ex-fiancé, meanwhile, refused to see a dentist ever. So, like the good little rule follower I was, I set an example by booking an appointment with the first dentist that popped up on my list of preferred providers that Delta conveniently sent my way via carrier pigeon.

The first thing my new dentist did was take x-rays, which showed a slight overbite that was slowly wearing away one of my front-ish teeth. She seemed shocked, "We need to get this fixed right away. Have you ever had braces?"

I had not. Each dentist I'd seen in my 25 years of life had always told me I have perfect teeth. "Well, you have this cross bite, which we can fix with a variety of options. You'll need braces, I'd recommend these clear ones since they're less noticeable than the normal metal kind."

I was not having it. "What about invisiline?" I queried, cautiously because I wasn't sure if I could trust her yet.

"That's an option too," she told me, "though it's a tad more expensive. I'd say we can straighten these out in two years." She seemed unduly set on putting metal in my mouth. At the time, I was scared. I didn't want fucked up teeth but I was also uninterested in spending any extra money I might find shoved in old coat pockets on dental work.

"These clear braces will only run you five grand." she said.

And I fainted (not really). When I came to, I told her I'd sleep on it, then went and purchased Smile Direct Club on a monthly payment plan that cost less than a third of the braces she was attempting to hawk me.

Months later, one of my molars was bothering me and I called her office to have it looked at. No one responded, so I popped some Tylenol until the pain grew so unbearable that I had an emergency root canal at a different dental office. At my next check up, she frowned and said, "I didn't do this. I wanted to say, "Bitch, you didn't answer."

At my next checkup, she gave me a fluoride treatment without telling me that it'd cost $40. By then, $40 wasn't going to break my bank but still. It was the principle of the thing. The checkup after that, I had a "receding gum line" that I paid $300 dollars on the spot to fix.

Months after that, she tried to sell me a "discounted" teeth whitening package that was, wait for it, a cool $750. Crest strips, I told her, were $45.

Then, at my most recent appointment, she took x-rays and told me there was a small gap in my crown. "This is very concerning," she said gravely. "What I can do though, is remove the old crown, clean out any bacteria that may have gathered, and fit you for a new one. I'll have Shannon run the numbers for you."

Shannon stopped by moments later, as I reclined in the dental chair in dark sunglasses with my mouth agape as a hygienist gently flossed my teeth. "The new crown won't be covered by your insurance at all," she said, "but with our in-house discount, it will only cost you $1,500." I very calmly removed the shades, the hygienist's hands from my mouth, sat up, and laughed in her face.

"I'm SO good, but no thank you," I said,

Shannon looked a little taken aback that I'd manically laughed in her face, but just said, "I'll make a note on your chart," and walked away.

The hygienist, meanwhile, was laughing too. "What did she say is wrong with your crown?"

"She said there's a gap in it." I answered.

"Bullshit," my new best friend said under her breath. "She pulls that shit all the time. I took the x-rays. There's nothing wrong with it."

This hygienist was now my new-favorite-person. "Really? Every time I come here, there's something else that needs fixing."

"Yeah, I don't even go here," she said. "I'd find a new dentist if I were you."

And so, after happily getting my teeth scratched and scrubbed and polished, I set another cleaning six months from now that I fully intend to cancel. I went home, dug up my Delta card, found another provider less than 3 blocks away from the dental witch, and bookmarked his phone number. In six months, I reckon I'll give him a call.

P.S. Not all health professionals are good at what they do. Try a new one if your provider is a bum hole. Check out Smile Direct Club here, buy some Crest White Strips here, or call a tele-dentist if you're afraid to venture out into the great, wide world due to COVID.


Sarah Rose

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