Tuesday, December 22, 2009

OMG Quit your crying... it's not my fault!

I've been hearing this for quite some time now, 'Dang, why can't you do this work for free/cheaper? It's too expensive for dental work'.

Well, to that I say, 'get over it!' I only say that because I think that like ANYTHING ELSE we want, we'll pay for it.

People take dental health for granted. They think 'they're just teeth... I brush, so I'm good'. Well the truth behind that is it's not 'just teeth'. And just brushing alone won't ensure good dental health. Those teeth have blood supply and nerve supply and if attacked, can and will cause pain and/or infection. Brushing can do a lot to keep worse situations at bay, but brushing alone will NOT keep a healthy mouth. That's why it's encouraged to brush, floss and use mouthwash AAANNDD visit a health care provider at least 2 times a year for check ups.

One part I don't get is this: (prepare for scenario)
Patient enters, let's say my office. He has 'okay' teeth. A few areas that will need fillings. Let's say I do his x-rays, and exam and charge him ummm $200.00 (we'll stick with nice round figures). His treatment plan (procedures that need to be done) equals up to about $1,000. This plan is NOT to be paid at once...it's a pay by procedure deal. (Example 10 services at 100 each- to be done at separate visits). Well, I tell patient: 'Sir/Ma'am, you need this, this, this and this done. I'd like to do blah blah right away, to decrease likelihood of more damage of the tooth, and it will cost blah dollars.' Patient USUALLY says, 'ummm naw, just pull it'. WHHYYYY pull a tooth for $75 dollars when it can be saved for $25.00 more? That baffles me! OR the patient response is, 'well doc, how long can I hold off?' )Depending on the situation, I can usually give a round-a-bout time frame.) So I say, 'Sir/Ma'am, I'd say if you keep the area clean, you can wait for PROBABLY ABOUT 2 months, give or take a week'. Patient says, 'okay, well I'm going to wait, because it's not hurting'. EXACTLY CRAZY- that's why you get it fixed NOW so that it doesn't HURT.
Patient back in the office: 'Doc, aww man, my tooth is KILLING me, can I have that fiiling now.' I do the exam and what WAS a tooth that needed a filling back then, is not a tooth that needs a root canal. Now that $100.00 filling that could have been done a month ago is NOW a $500.00+ procedure. I tell the patient, 'well sir/ma'am, the decay is too far gone, can't be saved with a fillin now. It will require a RCT and a crown now.' Patient, 'but doc, you said 100.00, now it's 500.00!!' Me, 'well that was then, conditions have changed, that is why I encouraged you to get it done then to avoid this. THe other option is still to extract the tooth ($75.00)." Patient, 'well just pull it, I'll get a denture'. Me, 'denture is going to be about 2,000.' Patient, 'damn, why is this shit so expensive, you claim you trynna help me out, but you robbing me'. Me- to myself, 'IF YOU ONLY KNEW HOW MUCH I HAD TO PAY FOR THE MATERIALS TO PUT IN YOUR MOUTH, THEN YOU'D NOT COMPLAIN SO MUCH! I DO WANT TO HELP, BUT I HAVE TO EAT TOO, I HAVE BILLS TO PAY TOO SO I HAVE TO CHARGE YOU, SO I CAN PAY PEOPLE AND SO I CAN GET A MEAL AND HAVE A ROOF OVER MY HEAD ALSO'. Now this patient's treatment plan went from a TOTAL $1000.00 to 1500.00 in a matter of 2.5 months! And that's not including what may be going on with the other ignored teeth! AND the patient is mad at ME because he/she opted out of the initial treatments!

Okay, so, let's say I pull this tooth, and a month later another ignored tooth swells his face up and he comes in again. NOW I gotta charge him for an emergency visit, PLUS write for antibiotics, PLUS pain meds, PLUS the extraction fee. AND he's angry again! WHYYYY?!?! NOWWW let's compound the problem by the fact that anesthesia doesn't like to work in infected areas! So, the desired effect is a level 10, in infection, we're good to get about a 5. Sorry, nothing I can do about that! So, now you're infected with a tooth that would have cost $100.00 to fix 3 months ago, that wasn't hurting, but decayed, that COULD HAVE prevented all this suffering you're having to go through now. NOW instead of a little $100.00, some anesthesia, a lil drill SOUND and a filling and a happy mouth- you got this! A swollen face full of infection, injection that won't work well, 2 prescriptions probably stitches, and a painful procedure... ALLL for $75, PLUS the $100.00 emergency visit, PLUS pain meds... (let's say total $250.00). Now you're missing 2 teeth, out of over 400.00 bucks- all because you wanted to wait...

AND you wanna blame me?!?!
Dear Patient:
Do NOT come in the dental office angry at the dentist because YOU have opted to NOT care for your teeth. It is not my fault, as a dentist, that you decided to buy new jordans each month instead of put aside a few dollars to save for the dental exam. I'm sorry that blowing money on weed and booze took away from your dental fillings stash so now you gotta do what ever to try to get money for a RCT and you mad at me?


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