My dental experience unacceptable from a dental office or any business, Service failed and over billed, More concern for billing than my broken tooth, Golden rule forgotten?
I begin with this statement:
I am one of the lucky ones.
In 2009 when my disability happened, I had health, dental, life and I believed disability insurance.
The fraternal, faith based policy I paid on for 25 years did not come through. I am still fighting that battle.
Six months and more went by and it appeared I could not depend on them. I had to make some quick decisions. I had assets thank God. But assets don’t last forever.
I had to cut expenses and dental insurance was one of them.
After my social security retirement kicked in (there was no SS disability insurance-another story), I had a little breathing room and took out a dental insurance policy.
I found a dentist who would accept the dental insurance and explained my situation. I explained my concerns and needs to have my lower front teeth fixed. They had begun deteriorating years ago and I had been told by another dentist there was nothing I could do about it. The new dentist said they could be repaired.
I agreed to have some teeth cleaning and other services but I was really concerned about the lower front teeth from a chewing and cosmetic perspective.
Three of the teeth were worked on in 2016, including tooth #25. I had the impression that tooth #25 was fixed. I looked in the mirror at home and it appeared that #25 was partially fixed.
My note to myself 5/08/2016.
“I had believed that 3 of my front teeth, 24 – 26 were being filled.
My priority was 26 being saved. That was accomplished and I am pleased.
I believe that part of the confusion was due to the delay in my appointment of approx 45 min.
I should have communicated that I was requesting 24 – 26 be filled. I will be more explicit going forward.
The night of the procedures, after taking out my contacts, It appeared that 25 was not completely filled.
I am near sighted and I see very well up close without the contacts in.
It still appears that way but I assume this will be rectified when 24 is filled.”
The insurance paid toward the work on #25.
I came to the office in December 2017. I wanted to have the work on the front teeth finished. I explained that my disability case was still moving forward and that money was tight. I paid the $ 190 that the assistant indicated would be my portion.
The letter I sent to the dentist explains the rest.
“I showed up early for my appointment today scheduled for 12:10 PM, Tuesday, April 10, 2018.
I was called to the front by your assistant and asked about the account balance. We discussed again what I believed that we had covered several weeks ago. Tooth # 25 had broken. The one you worked on in December 2017.
When I consulted with the same assistant last year, I explained that my funds were limited. She looked at my insurance coverage and stated I would have to pay $ 190 which I did. Since my disability case has been dragging on forever, my savings have dwindled to almost nil. I have to be very careful about spending.
The first statement showed a balance of $ 13.80 which I would have paid. And then I get a statement showing a balance of 146.80. My initial reaction was to let the insurance take it’s course.
Then I got a statement from the insurance company stating they did not pay for everything. I thought that was resolved when I first posed the question before getting the tooth “fixed.”
Then tooth # 25 broke, eating a soft sandwich. So, I made an appointment for today and waited several weeks.
I explained that I had an IT business twice. If I had assured my customers that something would work, billed them more than they were led to believe and the project failed after a short time, I assure you we would have talked and that if there were a balance open, we would come to an agreement before a payment would be made.
When I first asked about work being done on my lower front teeth, you assured me it could be done. Otherwise I would not have thrown good money after bad.
I was shocked at the response I got from your billing assistant and apparently from you via her. She even stated that there could be problems with the filling bonding. It would have been nice to know that earlier.
My favorite dentist by far, one who helped me for many years, was Dr. Ira Efird. I always felt that he was looking after me. I was hoping that you would be cut from the same cloth. The bridge Dr. Efird installed for me in my early twenties is still functioning!
It is one thing for the billing to be flawed. It is quite another to insist on my paying the higher amount for work that failed!
The reason for my writing this letter is twofold.
- I endeavor to be a reasonable person.
- It is possible that you do not have all of the facts.”
— Letter end —
I have observed over many years that medical professionals are generally not good business people and that their staffs are not always competent.
I had a doctor years ago that I really liked but his office staff was unprofessional.
Perhaps that is the case with the dentist.
However, I did find this review which I find disturbing.
“Today, I experienced the most bizarre, most unprofessional treatment of my life. Dr. [Redacted] and one of her office personnel approached me in a very confrontational manner– [Redacted] on my left, the other woman on my right. I was baffled by her adversarial demeanor in spite of how calmly I responded to her. There are not enough characters to go into detail, but I can truly say that the utter disrespect & disregard for me is something I will never forget.”
For years I have found the attitudes from dental offices as being a bit flippant, out of touch with the average American. Dental services are extremely expensive and out of reach for many.
Consider the following.
Dental care is one of the great untold stories in our society. This must change.
By the way, unless I get an apology from the dentist, an acknowledgement that the dentist was unaware of my mistreatment, I will not be returning there for treatment.
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