I took Betsy to the dentist this morning...for the second time in the past month. You see, last month I took her to the dentist and her dentist, an admittedly hyperactive nut-case of a man, went immediately into shock and dismay to find 11 different sites in her mouth involving 3 quadrants which, in his mind, required immediate attention lest the teeth begin to rot out of her mouth. I sat down with their billing rep and was informed that the best case scenario for said work would be around $2,000 since this particular dentist is out of our insurance "network" (someday I may get up the courage to blog about "insurance networks" but that's a different rant...). Soooo I was given four choices: 1. Don't do anything and let the teeth rot out of her mouth 2. Only fix the permanent teeth - she'll be losing the temporary ones in about 5 years anyway - and hope that the rot doesn't spread 3. Go immediately to surgery and fix it all for $2,000 or 4. Get a second opinion
Being the resourceful mom that I am I chose Option Four. I took a look at my "in-network providers" list, asked around town for some recommendations and settled on a dentist office with a glowing reputation among my neighbors. When I called the receptionist, she was very understanding, even gave me an "Oh yes, I used to work for Dr. B. If you liked him, you're going to love our dentists and we can do the work for a mere $150." I liked this woman already and in the process of the liking I totally missed the Red Flag.
So I called Dr. B and told him about The Plan for a Second Opinion. I told him where I was going and assured him that I would let them do all the Big, bad work and he would still be the Nice Guy dentist. Then Dr. B said the oddest thing. He said, "Well what happens when they do it wrong?" I was taken aback for a moment and I replied, "I'm certainly hoping they will do it right." To which his response was, "Well I hope so too."
On to Dentist Number Two. If I missed it before I should have spotted it right off when the hygienist came in and began taking Betsy's history. I mentioned Dr. B and his dark prognosis for the state of Boo's mouth and she quickly commented something to the effect of, "Yes, we know Dr. B and I'm not sure we're going to agree." X-rays were taken and we waited for a moment.
Enter The Dentist - a rather Spanish Looking Woman (Dr. B is a very White Jewish Man I might add as an aside). This woman took a rather cursory glance at the xrays, grilled me on Dr. B's opinion of the matter and then scoffed loudly and said, "He was going to do all this work?! NOw?! Well, I'm not going to touch a thing. Bring her back to Me in 6 months and we'll take more xrays and watch it." Grrrr...
This wasn't The Plan. I guess I got my Second Opinion but now they have assumed Betsy as Her Patient. And it turns out, they don't just know Dr. B - the whole office left Dr. B to start their own thing, obviously under some level of tension and disagreement. All my resourceful neighborly recommendations had failed to turn up this information.
My best uneducated guess is that the severity of Betsy's problem actually lies somewhere between the two dentists' opinions. I'm pretty durn irritated, however, that two professed professionals should use my daughter's mouth as the battleground for their personal vendettas. And I have to admit, I was just downright naive. I was off my game. Doctors are my business and I learned long ago not to trust them...I missed all the Red Flags and now I have to take sides. I refuse to find a new dentist because I love Dr. B and all the folks who work in his office. They like my children. They know me. So what to do....sigh.....
PS. That's the end of my rant but remember that I'm a woman - I don't really want an answer to that question at the end there - I just want some sympathy.