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Peter Rogers's Blog
Artist-in-Residence at Chez Firth

Tuesday (9/11/12) 2:40pm - ... wherein Peter doesn't have the best dental outcome.

So the dental care is going, not as badly as possible, but definitely not well.

Let's go back to July: I went to Mannem Dentistry.  They checked my teeth.  My teeth looked great overall.  It's just that there were three cavities, and two of them required replacing crowns.  Total bill: $2300.

So.  A month goes by.  I check in with Dental Depatures, and schedule an appointment with Simply Dental, a well-regarded dentist in Los Algodones.  I contact Simply Dental and Dental Departures.  I suggest that they contact Mannem Dentistry for further information about their treatment plan.  I get a reply not from Simply Dental, but from Dental Departures, saying "They won't need the records and can provide the evaluation and treatments for you in-person."

Another few weeks go by, and I show up at Simply Dental.  I fill out an admission form.  I include the phone number for Mannem Dentistry, telling them that they have complete information about the problems I've come in for.  They don't contact Mannem Dentistry -- though I mention again that my original dentist had a treatment plan -- but I don't raise a stink about it.

Yes, this was stupid of me.  But I think, to my mind, I figure that both dentists are looking at the same mouth, and thus they should both find the same problems, right?  And if they're repeatedly neglecting to consult them, that's probably what they're thinking, too.

They do an examination.  They find problems.  There's a large cavity on #4.  There's a silver filling that's leaking.  And there are two teeth that are so full of fillings that the teeth are in danger of fracturing.  Those should be replaced with crowns, for safety.  So.  I have to decide: will I go with this treatment plan?

In about a minute, I decide to go along with it.

This was dumb of me.  I knew -- I *knew* -- that the crowns Mannem wanted me to get were from cavities.  They had *not* recommended crowns as a safety measure against the possibility of tooth fracture.  Hell, these teeth -- the ones with so many fillings -- had passed muster with Mannem Dentistry, so obviously I was in no immediate danger.  So I should have realized that the problems they were diagnosing were not the same ones that Mannem Dentistry had found.  But I get the silver filling replaced (fine), and I get the large cavity fixed (fine), and... *sigh*... I got the in-danger-of-fracturing teeth reduced, built up, and fitted with temporary crowns.

As I was sitting there, getting those teeth worked on, the exact, massive stupidity of my decision started settling in.  So after I got home, I *myself* called up Mannem, and got the complete info about their treatment plan -- which problems they found on which teeth.  The result: Mannem Dentistry had found the large cavity that the Mexicans had just fixed.  But they had also found decay on two other teeth -- two that Simply Dental found no problems with -- and had recommended crowns on *those* two teeth.

So let's review what happened today: I've gotten crowns on two teeth.  But they're different teeth than the ones Mannem *wanted* me to get crowns on.

Now, this isn't the end of the world.  I'm sure that reducing the risk of a cracked tooth is a good thing.  I'm sure that replacing a leaking silver filling is a good thing.  And even in the absolute worst case scenario (*shudder* -- four crowns), I'm still paying less than I would have for the Mannem bill.  But obviously this situation sucks in one of several possible ways:

1.  If Mannem Dentistry was wrong in the first place, and I never needed any crowns at all, then I could have avoided this whole dental adventure.  I would have just gotten a few fillings and called it a day.  Plus, it calls the competence of my usual dentist into question.

2.  If Simply Dental is wrong, then we've got issues.  It calls their competence into question.  I start wondering if the crowns they put in are completely superfluous.[1]  It also means I need two crowns in *addition* to the ones I've already paid for today.

Basically, I need a hug now.

[1] Not only that, but they're possibly harmful -- there's a lot to be said for holding on to as much of your original teeth as you can for as long as you can.

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Date:Tuesday (9/11/12) 3:41pm
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Date:Tuesday (9/11/12) 4:46pm
i'm starting to wonder if all dentists aren't like mechanics and always trying to add things to the bill :( sympathies.
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