Open Wide

Vintage Image by No-longer-here / Pixabay

When I was about fourteen and having a cavity filled, I must have flinched. Rather than give me a little more anesthetic, the dentist gripped my jaw firmly and kept drilling. As a result, it took me most of the rest of my life to find a dentist I was comfortable with. Not “comfortable” as in “relaxed” but comfortable enough to commit to a regular program of professional hygiene and treatment.

Consequently, I’d been dreading the day our dentist was going to retire. It came a few months ago. His practice was taken over by a much younger woman who seems to have launched the office into the next century, technology-wise. Gone are the familiar faces of the hygienist and office manager who knew us by name and greeted us warmly. Before the former office manager retired as well, she called every patient covered by a certain dental insurance plan to advise us the new dentist would not be participating due to a low fee schedule. However, she’d submit claims on our behalf for six months and honor their rate for that period. Now when we arrive, we check in with a tablet, indicating our agreement to a long list of disclaimers by signing the screen with our finger.

At a first-time visit a couple of months ago, the new dentist found some work that needed to be done so I reluctantly scheduled a follow-up appointment. Yesterday, I returned to the chair. Not my favorite place to be. Probably not yours either. The new assistant took my blood pressure and it was a little high. No surprise there!

Two fillings and a replacement crown later (made “in house” while I waited), I survived the visit. I left with only the headache I typically give myself by trying to disappear into the headrest. My wallet is still recovering. Now all I have to do is wait for my phone to ping with a text message asking me to leave a review online. Sort of like a virtual tip jar, isn’t it?

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