This story is a little embarrassing to post, but I'm going to post it anyway, because it's important. I am going to name names, too.
I was blessed with perfect teeth. I have never had a cavity filled. I have never had braces. My teeth have been trouble-free my entire life. In fact, they're pretty much the only piece of me that's trouble-free, but I digress...
Several years ago, BJ and I found a deal in the paper that said (name and location redacted) would do an initial cleaning and x-rays for $99. Neither of us had dental insurance, and it had been a while since we'd had our teeth cleaned, so we went together.
I went first. They took x-rays, then told me I had twelve cavities. I asked them to show me the cavities on the x-ray, but they said that I wouldn't be able to see them. When I asked them how someone who had never had a cavity could possibly now have twelve, they said that it was from drinking soda.
BJ gloated (he says he didn't but he totally did) when I came back into the waiting room. I cried.
Then it was his turn. They said he had 13 cavities. He had never had a cavity in his life, either.
It was going to be over $1000 each to get our teeth fixed. That was $2000+ that we didn't have.
So, (this is the embarrassing part), since we weren't in any pain, and we didn't have the money anyway, we did.... nothing.
Ever since then I've had dreams where all my teeth are falling out, and I can feel myself spitting them out.
After MG was born I decided to try a different dentist - (name and location redacted) (even though we still didn't have insurance). I went for a cleaning and x-rays. They said I had three cavities.
What happened to the other nine? They were bullshit.
Another $300 on top of a new baby, and the stress... I had postpartum depression and that whole year was a mess. I had planned to get them fixed, then I got pregnant with Claire. Then I was really busy. Long story short, I didn't get around to going back to the dentist until today. And now we have insurance. Another new dentist. I didn't tell them my history. Guess how many cavities I had this time?
Total number of bullshit cavities - TWENTY-EIGHT.
Either I have miraculous self-healing teeth, or there's a lot of bullshit in dentistry.
What really makes me livid, though, is that if I had believed the first dentist, and if I had had any money back then, they would've drilled twelve holes in my perfectly healthy teeth!!!
I wonder how often they pull this scam. I'll tell you what, if they hadn't been greedy - if they'd just told me I had a cavity or two - I would've had them filled. But there were never any cavities there.
I was telling this story to MG's ballet teacher today, and she said that she has an appointment next week with Aspen. I told her to be VERY careful. Since others of you might find yourselves in a similar situation, I'm sharing this story. If your dental bill is going to be over a reasonable threshold, get a second opinion - or a third!
I am so furious I could spit nails. I am trying to decide the best course of action. Do I write to the dentists? To the newspaper? The BBB? All of the above? I'm mad enough that I'd like to stand outside their offices and picket.
The way this new place (redacted) does business is strange. I walked in and the receptionist handed me the new patient paperwork. Then she flipped to a second page that looked like a credit card application. She said something like, "This is for our office manager, so he knows that you're able to pay..." Hold it right there, Toots. I had seen the name of the company before (of course, I can't remember it right now or find it on google). "That's a credit card application," I said. "No," she said, "It's not a credit card, you can only use it for medical expenses..."
Um... That doesn't mean it's not a credit card. It's just a limited credit card.
"Yes it is," I said. "I was offered one of those when my dog had surgery. I don't need a credit card. I can pay for this. I have insurance. I am not filling that out, and I don't want you to run my credit."
"Ok," she said, but what she meant was, "Just shut up and fill out the papers like I told you to, bee-yatch."
So, I filled out the paperwork, but not the credit application, and returned the paperwork. Then they took me back to the exam area (which was a big room, sort of like a hair salon, with areas that were divided by cabinets but not doors). They took the x-rays and the dentist looked at my mouth, briefly.
Then she took me out to talk to the office manager about my "treatment plan" and payment options.
After it was agreed that I could afford the $24 (after insurance), they cleaned my teeth.
I'm not sure if I had to have the little meeting with the office manager because I refused to fill out the paperwork or what, but it seemed routine. I was pretty annoyed that they wanted to run my credit before treating me... Every time your credit is pulled, your credit score goes down (which is idiotic).
Is this how everybody does business now? What have your experiences with dentists been like?
(Edited to remove names and locations of dentists, and to add parenthetical comment about BJ gloating, which he totally did.)