Saturday, March 19, 2011


There should be a list of people you can trust.  Certain people you should be able to take for their word and have faith that their judgement is right.  And shouldn't that list include doctors and dentists?

This whole transition to adulthood hasn't been without its bumps.  Some of those hiccups were my fault (Goodbye Ford Escort), but this one wasn't.  I did everything right.  My dentist (the one I've been seeing since my teeth first made their appearance) recommended a dentist in my area.  I scheduled an appointment, showed up on time, and had my insurance information ready.  That morning, I even remembered to eat a good breakfast and brush extra well before leaving.

The new patient paperwork was harmless, and after I finished filling in my boring medical history, the hygienist took me through a tedious set of full-mouth x-rays.  The next hour was filled with careful, meticulous cleaning, polishing, flossing, rinsing, pocket-gauging (not sure what that is, but the instrument is sure shiny and sharp...), and positive comments ("You have great homecare!  Your teeth look really good.  I don't see any problems.").

The dentist entered and shook my hand.  Some small talk was exchanged, including details about the fact that he worked at my dentist's office in 1996-1998 (about the same time that my dad was unhappy with the student dentists' work and asked that the main dentist do our checkups).  He then spent a couple minutes examining the x-rays, another minute probing in my mouth, and ended the checkup proclaiming that I have three cavities.  Not having had a cavity in all of college, I found this to be surprising.  And that was only the initial attack.  He followed it by telling me that his office doesn't provide the silver fillings (only the tooth-colored composites) and that it's probably time to start replacing the silver fillings in my mouth.  He even went so far as to make a list of them.  Dollar signs were flashing in his eyes.

In a daze and with the kindling of a fury lighting up, I left the office after making an appointment for the first round of cavity drilling and silver filling replacement.  A phone call to my dad ignited the fury when he echoed my suspicions.  By the time I got back to the office, I was livid.  Half an hour later, I placed a phone call to my dentist to ask about filling replacement.  After looking at my file, they were suspicious as well.  They recommended getting a second opinion and said that 9 times out of 10, fillings don't need to be replaced.

I'm 23-yrs-old.  These fillings have been in my mouth for less than 15 years (the "lifetime" of a filling).  And silver fillings are supposed to last longer than the composites.  I feel like this new dentist was trying to take me for my money.  Fat chance.

Now, would it be too unreasonable to drive 220 miles to my old dentist?  At least I can trust him.

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