How Sharper Than A Serpent’s Tooth Is A Sleazy Dentist
Now, I work Sundays and have Fridays off, so I figured I’d arrange for a tooth-pulling next Friday and then have Saturday to recuperate. Yesterday I grabbed my insurance card and a printout of local dentists who are accepting both new patients and my insurance provider, and called the first dentist on the list. And got a recording thanking me for calling and reminding me that the office is closed Fridays in the summer.
So was the next dentist on the list. And the next one. In fact, in my entire area there’s only one place that was open and answering its phones on Friday, a local dental group whose members included nearly half of all local dentists on my insurance company’s “accepted” list.
“Hello,” I said in my Friendly Phone Voice when the receptionist answered the phone. “I need to have some dental work done, and I understand you’re accepting new patients?”
“If you have insurance, yes,” the receptionist said in a snippy voice. This annoyed me — even without insurance, I could afford to pay for a tooth extraction and related procedures if I had to. Yet they wouldn’t let me in without coverage? Bastards. But I need this tooth gone.
I assure her I’m covered by X insurance company and say I need my too — “You have to put yourself on their roster first,” the receptionist interrupted.
“Put yourself on the roster.” And she hung up.
I call the insurance company and learn I needn't worry about the roster with my plan. Call the dental group back, and this time I’m told I need the X-rays from my last dental visit, and was it a panoramic X-ray? Because panoramic X-rays may not be covered by insurance if I already had one.
“I have no idea,” I said.
“I can’t make an appointment until we see the X-rays,” the receptionist (a different one) said, and hung up.
By now I’ve already decided I want nothing to do with these people but realized it would be useful to have the X-rays from my last dental visit (in an office 50 miles away, which is why I’m searching for somewhere closer). I called my former dentist and asked to have the X-rays sent to me, and asked if they were panoramic X-rays.
My question surprised the receptionist, who said they didn’t even have a panoramic X-ray machine there. I get the impression that it’s a pretty expensive process, too.
And something occurred to me about this dental group, talking about how I’d need this very expensive panoramic X-ray and I’d damn sure better have insurance if I want to go there . . . . I never even got the chance to tell them my name or my problem.
If the government hadn't outlawed all the strong painkillers, I'd just go medieval on my tooth and find some muscular blacksmith to yank that sucker right out.