Friday, February 6, 2009

Concerning Dental Procedures

I approach dental offices with much trepidation. Things never go quite right. With a serious face an assistant informs, “Ms. So-and-So, you need a root canal.”

Ah, how much?

Only about $400. Since you’re without insurance, we can put you on a payment plan.

Bright Crest white strip smile.

Are there other fees?

Oh, Ms. So-and-So, of course not!



Are you sure?

Absolutely. There are no hidden costs whatsoever.

Well, I guess a payment plan is okay, but payments must fall within my budget.

Of course, Ms. So-and-So. We want everyone to leave our office with the brightest smile. We’ll make your appointment and you can take these antibiotics before you come back next week.

Next week: Okay, Ms. So-and-So, your root canal is all done. That wasn’t so bad, was it?

Indecipherable mumbling.

Of course, you will need a temporary filling until you can afford your crown.

Temporary filling? Crown? Spitting cotton.

Oh, gracious, breathe into this brown bag and you’ll soon stop hyperventilating.

Every root canal has to have a filling. Many prefer a temporary before they purchase their crown.

How much?

Only about $125, and we do accept cash. Of course, the temporary filling only lasts about three months, during which time you can save up for your gold crown.


A small shrug.

How much?

With the unrest in Liberia, the civil disobedience in Russia and the hurricanes in the Atlantic, gold has simply skyrocketed. But, we have implemented cost effective measures, so your crown should only cost $550 - $600.

I thought you told me there were no other charges!

Oh, Ms. So-and-So! Let’s continue to breathe into this nice brown bag. And you are quite right. There are no other charges for the root canal, none whatsoever.

What do you call the filling and crown charges?

Trill. Oh, you’re so funny. Those are different charges. They’re incurred after the root canal and not a part of the initial procedure.

Sigh. Will I be able to add those charges to my payment plan?

Pout. I’m so sorry, Ms. So-and-So, your plan is maxed out. But, we happily accept cash, Visa, cash, Master Card, cash, American Express, cash, and Discover . . . and of course, cash.

Of course. What happens if I don’t get a crown?

Hands to face. You don’t want to even think that. Why your root canal will be useless. Your tooth will decay and break off. An oral surgeon would have to remove the . . . remains. It will sets you back about $400, plus a small $50 consultation fee.

Faintly: I see.

That’s right, breathe – in and out, in and out. You’re doing so much better. You can see that it would be much better to pay us your cash now while you can still save your tooth.


Like I said, we do understand financial considerations, so we make your payment options easy. Bright smile. Thrusts hand out. I’ll be happy to take your cash now!


unwriter said...

I'll try again. It would have cost less to have the troubled tooth puled in the first place. That lady was chomping at the bit to get you to spit out some cash. That money was no skin off her teeth, but high enough to make your teeth rattle. I do hope this was tongue in cheek because otherwise it was destined to take a big bite out of your income.

Jane Kennedy Sutton said...

Been there - done that! Enjoyed the post!

Jane Kennedy Sutton

Chester Campbell said...

A little root canal and gold crown? Peanuts. Try an implant to close a gap that shows every time you smile big. Just $3322.50 (including a 10% discount). Seems the bone isn't thick enough to hold the pin, so it requires oral surgery to add artificial bone. And that doesn't cover the tooth, which is another thou. I said "no thanks," which only cost $162 for the x-ray and consultation. Where's that brown bag?

Lisa L. Leibow said...

Oy vey! I'm going to brush and floss right now! That sounds like a really bad day...

Hope the next visit goes better, and cheaper!

elysabeth said...

I hate dentist but will be bucking up to get some dentures - the whole enchilada - no more of my own teeth - tired of them being so terrible. I'm sure I will be having a panic attack the day I decide to go there and have it done because I hate dentists - they are associated with pain and I hate pain and I hate anything done on my face or my mouth - and it's not like I hate needles or anything but if I can't see what they are doing, then I can't stand it.

You've been tagged on my blog - - it's a fun tag and not much involved for this one - see you in the postings - E :)

Fairy Lady said...

Sorry, but I had to laugh because I've been there. It really wasn't funny at the time, but you have the routine down so well. Joan Rivers couldn't have done it better.

Helen Ginger said...

I do hope that wasn't based on real experiences! Wow. But I can totally see it as pretty much true.

I dropped by (and am so glad I did so that I got to read this story) to tell you that you've been Scrabble tagged.

Helen Ginger