Tags: dentist

uh frickin' christmas, derr... merry

All Dentists are homicidal, evil fucks

The Dentistry Industry is not a medical profession. It is a fucking racket, a scheme of highly overpaid sadists and thugs who have engineered a legalized way to inflict unfathomable amounts of pain in never-ending cycles of alleged “cures,” and to force its “patients” (what a hypocritical euphemism that is) to expend absurd amounts of money for their alleged services. These immoral, godless, soulless shiteyes are the only people on the planet who could make a CIA interrogator understand the value of mercy.

So, I just got back from the dentist. Round 3 of 3 in my biweekly festival of pain to install a bridge for a tooth that’s been missing for about five years. I thought this was going to be a 20-minute trip. I’ve had crowns before. That’s a quick fix. A little jabbing. A little fitting. Done. They replace the temporary with the permanent and you leave. Right?

Evidently not. The fun starts when they remove the temporary. At this point, whenever the bridge is out the cold air from the office entering my mouth causes the exposed gums to hurt. A lot. Like a nerve pain, but all the nerves at once.

Then the guy jams the permanent in, which at first was literally like fitting a square peg in a round hole. I mean he really had to jam it in with force. Guess what? It was pretty fucking tight. Like too big to fit.

Pull it out (insert pain from aforementioned cold air here), shave it down and shove it in again. Oh yeah, I should mention that every time he pulls it out to shave it down, he cleans it with blasting cold air, so it’s a really cold piece of whatever being shoved on my gums. Imagine shoving a rod full of blasting freon into a bullet wound.

I bite down on it, and I see stars. Pull it out. Shave it down. Shove it in. Stars. Repeat about 15 times. I’m not exaggerating. Every time is a little better, about as much as missing the first minute of a Barbara Streisand movie is better than watching the whole thing.

Then he says he’s going to get the Dentist. He comes in. Nice guy. Seems to have a better grasp on the painlessness thing is, God forbid, so he makes me bite down on a fucking stick, and I just about clocked him.

Jerks the thing out, puts some kind of unfathomable pain inflicting adhesive on it, and shoves it back in for good, I assume in the hopes that this will cause permanent pain, because that’s what it feels like.

His duty done, I’m stuck again with his assistant, who I assume is named Igor. Igor shows me some thick blue floss and asks me if I’ve ever flossed with it before. I haven’t, so he hands me a mirror and shows me how to do it. He sticks the floss point end in at the bottom corner of my teeth. That doesn’t seem so bad. He threads it through and pulls it. Piece of cake. Until I realize the blue floss is attached to a fucking rope. When he yanks the rope halfway through, he then pulls back on both sides underneath the tooth. Now it’s bleeding. But he apparently doesn’t think this is working. So he threads the other side of the tooth and pulls on it until the rope goes completely underneath the tooth from one side to the other. This is when I realize that the bridge is called a bridge because there ain’t nothin' underneath it, except a fucking piñata of pain.

When I regain consciousness, I ask, “How many times do I have to do that?”

“Twice a day,” Igor says.

“FOR HOW LONG?!”

“A week. Have you been rinsing with warm salt water?”

“Uh… no, not since no one told me to.”

“If you did, that would heal faster and it wouldn’t hurt as much. Rinse with warm salt water twice a day for a couple weeks.”

“Thanks for the scoop.”

I get sent out to the front desk, where the ex-cafeteria lady makes me take a seat so she can do my paper work, which I think is odd. Despite all the other fun I need to do to my mouth, this chapter is done as far as I’m concerned. There’s no paper work. This was paid for a month ago, I’m ready to leave, and I really don’t feel like coming back for more torture if I can put it off for a couple months.

The ex-cafeteria lady tells me she’s ready, then tells me to wait in a different spot, then tells me to come around the other side of the desk again, so she can explain that some twunt at my “insurance” company – no doubt a mastermind of this con – has just now realized there is a little known “clause” that any tooth that was extracted under a different “insurance” company isn’t covered. So on top of the $900+ I’ve already paid, my “insurance” company thinks I should pay the other $700 they originally said they were going to pay.

It’s turned into a bad joke. I’m still throbbing sore at this point, the Dentist won’t so much as give me an aspirin, and now my “insurance” company doesn’t want to pay for any of this. Because in this day and age, I’m apparently a fool for having the tooth extracted under a different “insurance” company. That’s quite a handy little clause, especially considering that the odds of your employer keeping the same “insurance” carrier year-to-year are comparable to winning the Powerball lottery.

Ex-cafeteria lady writes down the “insurance” carrier’s name, etc. on an envelope. You’d think for the thousands of dollars I’d given them over the years, they could buy a notepad, but I digress.

Thanks to red tape, the twunt hasn’t actually processed the claim yet, so ex-cafeteria lady doesn’t expect $700 on the spot. Ex-cafeteria lady asks when I’d like to come in next. I explain that I’d like to talk to the twunt first before I make any commitments. Fortunately, she doesn’t give me a hard time and lets me walk, though that’s probably more fortunate for her sake than mine.

I wish I had some witty punch line, or moral, or even a finale to this. But I don’t. That’s it. That was my trip to the Dentist, Meister of Sadism.

Tomorrow: prs calls the twunt to discuss clauses.
the prs office

2.5 hours - one tooth

Lesson for the week: if you ever want to sell something to someone and really rob them of any self-respect and ability to make an objective decision to the point where they’ll just about give you their bank account information, you only have to do one thing. Throw them in a dentist chair and stick the bill in their face.

(BTW – if you’re just now joining the Dentist story, I’ve tagged all of the episodes with dentist, so you can catch up.)

Yesterday morning.
1050 – show up for my 11 am root canal/crown prep appointment.

1100 – look at clock nervously

1120 – get called in and sit in scary chair.

1125 – asst. shoves a bill in my face for the root canal. It says $900, which is funny, because the bill they showed me last week said $165. Asst. tells me that the cost has changed because… drum roll please… my insurance has a waiting period.
What goes through my head in the next second: My anxiety about this appointment already has me on edge. The mental crap that I’ve gone through just to get into a chair for a root canal has already been enough for one month. The thought of fighting this seems entirely less appealing than just sucking it up, getting on with the surgery and getting the hell out of there. I really want this tooth fixed. But still – this is bullshit.

“There’s no waiting period,” I say.

“But see, it says right here,” and she points to the part of the fax I sent in over a week ago, and explains a waiting period for endodontic work.
Then I explain that I’ve been over this, that I spent four days talking to my insurance company, that everyone there said I don’t have a waiting period and go talk to Peggy who called them last week and came to the conclusion that I don’t have a waiting period.

She leaves. I sit and stew.

I made this appointment 6 days ago – they’ve had plenty of time to look over it, get confused and fuck with me over the phone. They could have fucked with me for the 30 minutes I was in the waiting room. But no, they waited for me to be prone on my back with a whole lot of sharp, bright, metallic scary objects over my head to tell me – oh, by the way, we told you one price last week and now it’s five and a half times that. Here’s a pen. Just sign here.

Can you sue for a bait and switch at a medical office? But what if there really is a waiting period? What if the insurance company has just had its head up its ass and everyone has told me the wrong information? I’ll suck up the bill if I have to. I’m not out to screw the dentist (that’s their job not mine.) I just want the goddamn story straight. Waiting period or no waiting period. But I don’t want to solve this detective story while I’m on my back waiting for someone to stick a drill into my head.

1127 – she returns. “You don’t have a waiting period.”

1130 – meet the endodontist. Nice lady. From upside-down, the one or two times I actually opened my eyes, she kind of looked like Cynthia Nixon, which is kind of hot. She does good work.

1200 – at the counter waiting to pay for the bill

I ask the Asst if the Endo’s going to prescribe any drugs. I don’t know if I’ll need them, but at this point, I think I’m entitled to something to look forward to. She says she doesn’t know, but she’ll ask the Endo. I never see her again.

So I’m at the counter, waiting for my noon appt with the dentist. This reminds me of a side-story:

Last Friday morning, I notice a voicemail on my cell. The dentist office was calling to confirm my 11 am appointment, and they asked me to call back and confirm. So I call back, talk to someone else than the person who called me, and confirm the appointment. An hour and a half later, I get another call. It’s the first woman who called. I tell her I called back already and confirmed the appointment. She doesn’t think I have. I tell her I did.

“Oh, here it is, you confirmed the 11 am appointment.”

“Yeah…?”

“But here it says you also have an appointment at 12?” she says, horribly confused.

“That’s right. The root canal’s at 11. The crown prep that immediately follows the root canal is immediately following at noon. It’s all one big appointment.”

“Oh. So you know about it?”

“Yessss. I’m confirming that I know about that appointment.”


So, back to yesterday.
I’m standing at the counter waiting for the aforementioned woman who can’t read a calendar to charge me. She’s all confused, because I haven’t seen the other dentist yet. I explain that he’s going to call me in a second, so while I have a minute to kill why don’t we settle the bill. Why I’m explaining this to people who work there eludes me. I pay the stupid bill, which she doesn’t want to charge me for reasons that also elude me. She asks if I want to wait in the lobby for the dentist who’s going to call me any minute. Sure. As soon as I walk into the lobby, a different Asst calls me in.

1200 pm – 115 pm
I’ll skip the details, but I would describe the entire process as akin to licking a jar full of rubber cement for about half an hour, and then being hit in the side of the jaw with a crowbar. Oh, and there was lots of unexpected drilling and hammering. The root canal was a fucking field day compared to this, and by the time I’m on my way out of there – drugless – I feel a brotherhood-like sympathy for anyone who’s ever received a left hook from Lennox Lewis.

120 pm
Schedule to come back in two weeks so they can put a permanent fake tooth on. Thank Christ there's a Smoothie King next door and get lunch. Call it a day and go home. Slept for 10 straight hours.
the prs office

For those keeping score

Go to the dentist yesterday. Spend 25 minutes in the waiting room, filling out a form where I am asked: what is your purpose for visiting and where I write, “broken molar.”

Go into a typical dental torture chamber and sit in chair that is far less comfortable than it looks. Sweat for 10 minutes.

Asst comes in. “What are you here for?”

“A broken molar,” I say.

“Which one?”

“Top, right, far back.”

We’ll need to take an x-ray. 5 minutes later she shoves a large piece of plastic in my mouth and throws a heavy sanitary apron on top of me.

Sweat 10 minutes.

Asst reenters and sticks x-rays in a light right in front of me so I can stare at a picture of my broken molar for the next 20 minutes. Have I mentioned I have serious issues with all things dental?

Doc enters. “What are you here for?”

“A broken molar,” I say, staring at my x-ray which he does not look at.

“Which one?”

“Top, right, far back.”

Doc sticks a mirror in my mouth. “You have a broken molar.”

“Really?”

“Yep. You’ll need a root canal and a cap.”

“Thank God. I thought this was going to suck.”

“Yeah. If you want, we have an endodontist on site on Mondays. You can come in then and I can do the cap prep right after that.”

To his credit, the dentist actually seemed cool. He didn’t give me any lip for not coming into the office in three years. Then he split.

15 minutes later the asst comes in and tells me what the cost will be for the whole thing. Then she gave me a prescription for penicillin, because apparently my mouth has the clap.

Good news is my insurance works. I apparently don’t have a waiting period. The visit for one official mirror look cost me nothing. Likewise, the penicillin was also no cost (thanks to different insurance).

The suck is now waiting until Monday and hoping I don’t wake up in screeching pain with what is apparently a broken molar that needs a root canal.
uh frickin' christmas, derr... merry

where's the gun? where's the tower? where's the gun? where's the tower?

250pm - Call Dentist. See if they got the fax. Put me on hold.

255pm - They got the fax.
Person at Dentist Office I talked to on Friday when I cancelled my first appt.: Uhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh. I don’t see anything here about a waiting period.
Me Yeah? That might explain why every person I’ve talked to said I don’t have one.
DO There’s a number here to contact them. Want me to call them?
Me Sure. Why not?
DO Okay, I’ll call you back.

310 pm
DO You don’t have a waiting period.
Me Is that right?
DO Did you want to come in?
Me
Me
Me Sure.
DO Did you have an appointment?
Me Um. No. I’ve been kind of waiting to resolve this first.
DO Were you just coming in for a routine checkup?
Me No. I have a broken molar.
DO Do you want to come in tomorrow at 9?
Me Love to.
DO Okay, I’ll put you down at 9 for Dr. [some person I’ve never heard of]
Me Should I come in earlier to fill out any paperwork?
DO Oh. Yes.
Me How early? 8:30?
DO Yes. 8:30.
Me These aren’t the droids you’re looking for.
DO These aren’t the droids we’re looking for.

So I'm allegedly going to have a stranger drill into my head tomorrow morning. If I'm lucky.
uh frickin' christmas, derr... merry

The Retardification Continues

I’m going to make a very broad, sweeping stereotypical inference and ask: when the fuck did everyone become so unanimously lazy, stupid, prone to passing the buck, and simply too retarded to do even the simplest of tasks when it comes to basic fucking customer service? For those who can relate, please chime in. For those who think I’m oversimplifying or just overreacting, your day is coming, I promise.
For those just joining the conversation, start here.

Today
930 am Call rep at insurance co to scream at her or give me the number of the claims supervisor she passed the buck to last week so I can scream at him/her personally. Get rep’s voicemail. Recover from shock. (The voicemail is different… so she’s accessed her voicemail since I left her a message Friday.) The voicemail says she’s on vacation until July 17. Vacation from what? I don’t know.

940 am E-mail HR person to fill her in on the progress (sic) and to ask if she has contact info for someone who actually works at the insurance co.

950 am HR person responds. Recommends I go to dentist now and “we” can take care of everything when rep returns next week.

1015 am Find phone number for insuran– fuck it. The company is AIG. So I call AIG’s customer service rep, and do the dance of 1000 menu options. Get a hold of a person. She verifies my insurance coverage and asks for a fax number (sadly – though fortunately, as it turns out) I don’t have the dentist’s fax on hand, so I giver her mine, which is located 3 floors above me.

11 am Tell HR rep that I’d rather get this all cleared up now, because if AIG can’t make a 5-min phone call, I sure as hell don’t expect them to cut me a check after I get unauthorized work done, not to mention, I don’t have a house to mortgage for the allegedly temporary out-of-pocket it would cost to repair the molar in the first place. Then tell her I got a hold of someone else, thanks very much for all the effort, and please, don’t get up for my sake, continue resourcing humans.

11:55 am 90 min after speaking with AIG, receive 2-page fax that will hopefully resolve all of this.

1205 pm send fax to dentist office.

1210 pm (after receiving confirmation that it sent) Call dentist. They still haven’t gotten the allegedly expected call from AIG. Good thing I started going down this separate, fax road. Oh yeah, and they haven’t received the fax either. I might want to try again, after they, uh, y’know put paper in the fax machine.

1220 pm fax dentist again. Decide to not call them and try to get some work done, hoping they’ll call me.

1250 pm call dentist. They haven’t received the fax, probably because there’s a paper jam and someone will have to fix it when they get back from lunch because she’s the only one working the desk and if I don’t hear back when they get back from lunch to maybe send it again, but there’s no one who can fix the jam because she’s the only one there.
uh frickin' christmas, derr... merry

Who’da thought going to the dentist could be so much fun?

A little back-story: I hate the dentist. I mean with a fear. I really have a serious problem with people sticking pointy metal things into my gums and teeth. I can’t even watch it on TV. Even conversations about teeth make me really nervous, and I usually change the subject quickly. Couple that with the fact that I’ve always had one thing or the other screwed up with my teeth – always, which has actually led to my fear/hatred of all things dental. I even get minor anxiety attacks just calling the office, which leads to my story.

Yesterday
1030 am – call the dentist, get put on hold, get disconnected.

1032 am – call back, the woman has to take my info down and call me because they’re uber busy.

1 pm – call the dentist that never called me back. Get stupid long voicemail about how the office is out to lunch. Wait for a beep, and get a Spanish version of the really long voicemail. Conclude it’s just a recording, there is no option to leave a message and hang up.

3 pm – call the dentist. Their computers were down, hence the hold up. Tell them I need an appointment. Yes, it is a really long time since I’ve been there. Yes, I have different insurance now (yes, I have insurance for the first time in two years). What’s my appointment for? A broken molar. Does it hurt? Not yet. When would I like to come in? How about as soon as fucking possible. 2 pm tomorrow? Super.

3:30 pm get a call from the dentist. My new insurance isn’t a PPO, it’s indemnity, and it only covers preventative for the first 6 months, then it covers additional stuff, and any major stuff, like, say, a broken molar, is covered after April 2007. The person at the insurance co has brainwashed them that this is fact. It isn’t, and I know it.

3:35 pm frantically call my HR person to find out 1) if there’s some mysterious hitherto unknown waiting period on my coverage and 2) what my level of insurance is. It doesn’t say anywhere on my card what I’m paying for, and I’m wondering if there was a clerical error when I signed up. (I signed up for the best dental I could get because I know better. I’d kind of like to get what I’m paying for and not insurance that only covers a lecture to brush between meals.)

3:45 pm Finally get a hold of said HR person. She doesn’t know what the hell the dentist’s office is talking about and will call the insurance company.

3:50 pm Turns out the insurance rep doesn’t know what the hell the dentist’s office is talking about either. For what it’s worth, this dentist’s office has always had their shit together, so they’re relying on info from an idiot at the insurance co. I also find out I do indeed have the insurance plan I’m paying for.

4 pm Through a pass the buck e-mail communication, I send the rep my dentist’s contact info (which I copied and pasted from their website of network dentists), so she can call them and straighten this out. I am happy.

4:50 pm Call the dentist office. They haven’t gotten a call yet. I am not happy.

Today
9 am Get an e-mail from the rep. (Yay.) She forwarded the dentist info to a claims supervisor who will call the dentist office. (Boo.)

10 am E-mail the rep and ask if this is like, a y’know, priority, because I’d kind of like this fucking handled before I, like, go to my 2 pm appt of pain.

11 am Call dentist office. They haven’t gotten a call, and I haven't gotten a response from the rep.

11:05 Call rep directly. Get voicemail. I ask if they can step it up or put me in touch with the claims supervisor directly.

12:50 pm Still haven’t gotten a response from the insurance company. Call the dentist office. They haven’t gotten a call yet. Tell them I’m going to have to reschedule. She tells me she’ll call me when they hear from the insurance company, and to call them if I don’t hear from them by Tuesday.

1 pm Thoroughly ready for a drink.