I went to bed exhausted, but proud of myself; A bad dentist experience in the morning would set me up for a poor day off, but I made the best of things. During my 80+ hour work week (I’m including my writing and practice time in that mix) I pulled myself from depression, started a new job, got some new clothes (thanks mom), and made some good progress in my SEO and book.
To kick off my day of rest, and christen the day off as a winner, I got my tooth fixed. It was a bad dentist experience. To be fair the dentist hard the cards against her. I was up at 6:45 am to be ready for our 8 am appointment. I’m annoyed I couldn’t sleep in on my day off. I’m so tired. However dental hygiene is more important than rest, and theoretically, I had all day to do so. However, I had never had a bad dentist experience before and didn’t realize how thrown off my day would be because of it.
So What Happened
Well, the dentist did the dentistry well. She fixed my tooth, Its a filling, and it feels smooth. Definitely a herbavouir tooth now. What upsets me is how the whole experience felt like a sales process, and how little she explained to me.
The consultation alone cost me 80$. 80$ for her to poke around and tell me everything wrong with my mouth. That’s fine, they need to do their research and there’s no way I’ll be able to diagnose whats going on in my mouth.
HOWEVER, consultation means explaining and advising, not just listing all the other things you can do and expecting me to sign forms willy nilly. When I asked her I needed this or that, she immediately made it about price. Saying I could do some things next time and some other things after that.
When I asked how urgent I would need the work done, she said she could do it all on my next visit. That wasn’t my question. Though her demeanor was not to explain, just to practice, and have the patient sign forms and cheques.
I Understand The Value Of Dental Hygine
Trust me, I know dentists know what they’re doing. They’re medical professionals who worked HARD to get where they are. They know there shit, and they help a lot of people. However there work isn’t cheap, and when you’ve been struggling to make rent, paying thousands of dollars for this and that doesn’t seem worth it. Especially when it can be done much cheaper in Canada.
Ultimately, I didn’t trust her. I trusted her while she fixed my tooth, but I didn’t trust her for anything else. It honestly felt like she saw me as a walking dollar sign, not a patient. The lack of explanations or clarity. The assertiveness that I was just going to come back, so it didn’t matter because everything would be sorted anyways.
It’s really annoying to be told “You need to come back and it’ll cost 1035$… Exposed root, they cause sensitivity and discomfort, takes an hour to fix…. Don;t worry about that, it’ll only take an hour to fix… I hear you, so are you coming in next week for all five or do you want to do one at a time?” Thats a one sided conversation, and its the loop of the conversation from her side. She avoided the questions and just kept pushing the next appointment.
What Makes It Worse
“Ok so fillings are really easy to chip and break. Be careful with that tooth or else you’ll break it again.” “Then what did you do?! Can’t you fix it so it wont break?” “Yea I could put a crown on it. But I’ll need to do the other five fillings first. Just try to eat on the other side of your mouth. So are you in next week for the fillings?”
I can’t even trust the work I’ve had done. Considering her final words and how pushy she was to get me back in the chair I feel as if I’ve been swindled. As if I have a weak plastering ready to break so she can repair it again.
I asked her how long it would be until I could eat again. She said when my mouth was no longer numb I’d be fine.
She was full of shit. What could I expect this was a bad dentist experience.
Eating soft, dehydrated pair slices wound up being an incredibly painful experience. In fact anything with the left side of mouth hurt like a mother fucker. By 8pm (close to 12 hours later) I called, with concerns.
Its All About The Sales
“Hey look, I got my mouth worked on by you guys and I’m in a lot of pain. I can’t eat anything my left side but the dentist said I’d be fine”. “O that’s terrible. I’ll book you in for sunday for someone to look at you.” “What. No. I literally just saw you guys, had nothing explained to me, and now I’m in more pain now than before I saw you!” “Well Sir, what do you want me to do?”
“You could start by giving me the consultation I paid for! How long am I supposed to be in pain?” “Well sir.. As the dentist explained..-” “As the WHAT? If she explained I wouldn’t be calling you! She said I’d be fine to eat and my tooth hurts more now than ever before!”
So the receptionist had to walk me through what to expect, and what my next week would look like. I’m appaled the dentist couldn’t take the time out of her day to explain this to me. I’m also horrified by how pushy the receptionist was for me to come in again. “No. no. You said a week of pain is normal, so i’ll call you in a week.” “No Sir we have time Monday. Come in on Monday!”
I work in sales. I know how this works. If they had been more transparent, and respectful to me, I’d be keen. Now I just feel like they will pressure and twist me into getting more work I can’t afford. The University of Otago offers cheap services. Guess I’m going back to Dunedin.
To The Dentists Reading
We as patients trust and respect you and understand you’re professionals but please realize you are in a ‘customer service’ role. We want to know whats going on, we don’t want to be treated like mindless consumers. These aren’t 50$ pairs of jeans, these are our teeth, and if you don’t make us feel comfortable, it will be a bad dentist experience.