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As If Dental Work Wasn’t Already The Worst

, , , , , | Healthy | July 10, 2022

During a particularly bad year in my early teens, I had to make several visits to a dental clinic in one of my area’s more affordable hospitals. Typically, these visits were just checkups, but on one occasion, three cavities were discovered in my molars. Due to the work needing to be done and the cost, the dentist broke it up into three procedures. The first two procedures went well — inject the local, numb the mouth, drill out the cavity, insert the filling, and send me home.

The third visit, however, was a bit different.

Not long after the local was injected, I noticed it wasn’t taking effect. I informed the dentist about this, who would go on to perform not one, but five or six additional injections as each time it still failed to numb my jaw. After the final injection, the dentist asked me if my mouth was numb. When I responded, without any slurring or any other audible sign of numbness, that it wasn’t, she turned to my mom, declared that it must be numb by now, and proceeded to get to work.

The pain of having an unanesthetized tooth attacked by a drill isn’t particularly sharp, but it is powerful, extremely present, and most importantly, constant. I attempted to power through it; I was just a kid, after all, and the doc knew what they were doing, right? After a few moments, the doctor stopped, glared at me, and sternly told me to get back up into my seat and to “stop scooting down.”

I was completely unaware of it, but the entire time the drilling had been taking place, I had been slowly inching my way down toward the floor. I guess the dentist assumed that I was being an annoying kid, because the entire time, she never once stopped to question WHY this was happening. And sure enough, after continuing to drill a few more minutes, she stopped again to scold me for scooting down.

I tried to tell her that my mouth wasn’t numb. Her response?

Dentist: “I injected you several times. It’s numb. Stop being difficult.”

And she proceeded to finish the drilling. This time, I made a conscious effort to stay in one place, which must have worked because she finished the procedure without any more complaints.

And after the filling was put in, how did she respond?

Dentist: “See, that wasn’t so hard, was it?”

When the time came for my next checkup, I insisted that we not go back to that dentist. Thankfully, my mom listened.

Thanks So Much For The No-Show

, , , , , | Healthy Working | May 26, 2022

I saw my dentist last June for a checkup on a Saturday morning. They scheduled the next appointment for a Saturday morning in December. I got three different texts and emails the week before confirming my appointment.

I showed up about ten minutes before my appointment to find the door unlocked and the office completely empty. I tried the emergency on-call number. No one responded. I finally called the police because I didn’t want to leave the office empty and unlocked.

It turned out they had stopped doing Saturday office hours, and they didn’t bother to call me and reschedule. Monday morning they called me because, in their words, I didn’t show up for my appointment. I told them no, I was there; they weren’t.

They couldn’t get me in for an appointment in December before my deductible reset. In fact, they couldn’t find another time that worked for me until August.

I’ll be seeing a new dentist next month.

You’ve Got To Be Kidneying Me

, , , , , | Healthy | March 3, 2022

I donated a kidney a while back. For the most part, this isn’t much of a problem; the only side effect of the donation, other than not being allowed to do some obscure medical test with radioactive dyes that I’ll likely never need, is that I should avoid NSAIDs like aspirin.

A few years back, I went to a new dentist due to dental pain and they told me I would need a tooth removed. They didn’t have me fill out anything about my medical history before I went in for the dental surgery, so I made sure to briefly mention that I’d donated a kidney to my dentist just so he was aware of it.

After the surgery was over, I was sent to talk to a nurse about post-care and given a prescription for pain relief. I didn’t recognize the medication name, but to be safe:

Me: *To the nurse* “I’ve donated a kidney, so I cannot take NSAIDs. Is this prescription safe for me?”

Nurse: “Yes, it is.”

However, while I was going to pick up my medication, I read through the paperwork they handed me. There was a note saying that it wasn’t safe to take a certain medication if you had kidney problems. The medication mentioned on the paperwork was different than the one I was prescribed, but just the fact that the paperwork called out potential risk concerned me. I figured I should be safe since I’d made sure everyone knew the risk and had been assured it was fine, but I was uncertain enough that I decided to double-check.

Lo and behold, even a quick Google search was enough to learn that the medication I was prescribed was listed as a generic version of the medication the paperwork said I shouldn’t take, and a quick check on [Health Website] explicitly said that this medication was not safe if you had kidney problems.

I called the dentist back explaining the problem, but they never returned my call, leaving me to suffer through the pain with nothing more than Tylenol. I opted not to go back to that dentist for the follow-up surgery to get a replacement tooth installed; I have a general rule of never allowing medical organizations more than one attempt at destroying any of my organs.

About a year and a half later, I got a letter from the dentist saying they were going out of business and I should contact them now if I needed to get any of my medical records. I can’t say I considered their being out of business much of a loss.

At Least They’ll Probably Wear Their Mask

, , , , , | Healthy | January 5, 2022

It’s the middle of the health crisis, and everyone is still on edge about infection control protocols. We assure everyone that we have hospital-level infection control and take it very seriously. I’m the owner dentist, and occasionally, I listen in on calls to ensure patients are being helped. This is a call I listened to.

Office Manager: “Thank you for calling [Dental Office]. How can we help you?”

Patient: “This is [Patient]. I want to know what you guys are doing for infection control. I don’t want to get the [disease].”

Office Manager: “We have eliminated our waiting room, and you wait in your car until your appointment. We also have a strict mask policy until in the dental, as well as a hydrogen peroxide rinse before we work on you.”

Patient: “What about barriers?”

Office Manager: “I’m sorry?”

Patient: “Do you have those plastic plexiglass barriers set up in between the patients?”

Office Manager: “Between each patient chair? No, we don’t—”

Patient:What is wrong with you?! Haven’t you seen how even the grocery stores have those barriers to protect the customers? If I am getting my teeth cleaned, my mouth is completely open! You need to install plastic barriers between the chairs! What if another patient is next to me and has the [disease]? You need to have us separated!”

Office Manager: “[Patient], we have walls. Actual, real walls. All of the chairs are in separate rooms. With walls. And doors. Doors that close.”

Patient: “…”

Office Manager: “[Patient], you have been coming to us for ten years. The layout has never changed…”

Patient: “I still think you should put up the plastic barriers!” *Click*

I have no idea if the patient was just hotly embarrassed or genuinely thought we should replace our solid walls — and enclosed rooms — with plexiglass ones that are open on the tops and sides.

About To Be Dis-Appointed, Part 7

, , , , | Right | November 18, 2021

I’m sitting in the waiting room at my dentist’s office. I’m the only one there, so it’s quiet, and the receptionist is just a few meters away, so I can hear her clearly. I also can’t really tune out other people’s conversations, so when she picks up the phone, I can’t help but overhear the following conversation, or at least her part of it.

It appears the caller wants to cancel his appointment, which is in about three hours, but he’s not really happy with the office policies.

Receptionist: “[Dentist Office], how may I help you?”


Receptionist: “All right, sir, but because you are cancelling your appointment less than twenty-four hours in advance, we will have to bill you for the time.”

She’s not talking about applying a cancellation fee, which I’ve never heard a Dutch dentist apply, but apparently, this is a thing in some other countries; she just means the standard consultation fee which he would’ve been billed for anyway, and which his insurance will most likely cover.

Having health insurance is mandatory in the Netherlands, and people get an allowance from the government to help pay for it, so it’s not like she’s saying he’s going to lose more money than he would’ve otherwise.

There is a pause but with some irate muttering becoming audible even to me.

Receptionist: “Because we’ve scheduled an amount of time for you so the dentist can see you, and we can’t reschedule this on such short notice, so during what would be your appointment, the dentist can’t see other patients, meaning you still take up his time. That’s why we’ll still have to bill you for it. That’s just standard policy, sir.”

It sounds reasonable to me, but apparently not to the caller.

Receptionist: *More firmly now* “Yes, sir, we will bill you for it.”


Receptionist: *Starting to sound a little exasperated* “Because ‘I don’t feel like it’ is not a good enough excuse, sir.”

Longer pause.

Receptionist: “Yes, we will bill you for it.” *Short pause, like she’s cutting him off* “Yes, we will.”


Receptionist: *Suddenly a lot more cheerful* “All right, then, sir, so we will see you at three o’clock this afternoon? Okay, good, see you then. Have a nice day!”

She hangs up, bursts out laughing, and walks over to the open door nearby.

Receptionist: “Did you get that?”

Person In Other Room: *Also laughing* “Yes! Did he really want to cancel because he wasn’t in the mood?”

At that point, I was called up for my own appointment, so I left the receptionist laughing with her colleague. I was chuckling all afternoon, but I was also impressed with how deftly she handled that.

About To Be Dis-Appointed, Part 6
About To Be Dis-Appointed, Part 5
About To Be Dis-Appointed, Part 4
About To Be Dis-Appointed, Part 3
About To Be Dis-Appointed, Part 2