Monday, April 26, 2010

Dental Adventures - Day One, Monday

I don't understand dentistry.

I mean. OK, I understand dentistry. What I don't understand is the division of practice, the referrals process and the overwhelming degree to which dentistry is still a rather barbaric practice.

At the beginning of SweetPea's recent dental adventures, she had two broken teeth and an obstinate refusal to admit she needed dental care. Now, at the end of her adventure, I cannot say that I blame her.

Should I be embarrassed to tell you that her first phone call to the dentist was the result of being yelled at? She had been reduced to a soft diet, a steady stream of generic Excedrin (the only thing she said worked) and regular vomiting.

And still she refused to make that phone call.

When we finally arrived at the dental office, we ended up spending over two hours there. What we got for our trouble was two referrals, four prescriptions and no immediate help whatsoever.


Good thing it wasn't an emergency or anything.

Referrals from our physician would mean that the doctor forwards your information to the specialist, who then contacts you directly for an appointment.

Referrals from the dentist mean taking the paperwork, calling the insurance company, getting a list of potential providers, and then calling those providers to attempt to wrangle care.

This is particularly exciting when you, like me, throw out an entire pool of potential providers because of a bad experience you had a few years back*.

The agenda, as told to us, was as follows:

1. Endodontist for a root canal

2. Oral surgeon for an extraction

3. Cleaning

4. Crown

The last two items would be handled by our regular dentist after the root canal and, preferably, with some time between the cleaning and the crown.

Given that SweetPea is in severe pain, vomiting regularly and eating mainly yogurt, tapioca and ice cream, my goal is to get this wrapped up as swiftly as possible. As I'm sure your goal would be if you were in my place.

On Monday, the day of her initial dental appointment, we managed to contact and get appointments scheduled with an endodontist and an oral surgeon, although neither office will say for sure whether the appointment is for a consultation or for the procedure.

Our first specialist appointment would be that Friday with an Endodontist. I'll tell you all about that tomorrow.

*SmileCare, for those of you in the Greater Sacramento Area. When attempting to find a dental provider in our area, we tried out a SmileCare office. They did an exam for the Monkeys and I, then declared that MonkeySee had a handful of cavities and would need to come back for fillings. He got a cleaning the same day because of this. MonkeyDo and I, cavity free, would have to schedule our cleaning for a later date. I have a feeling they bill dental per appointment. Also? The next exam MonkeySee had (no, we did not go back for the fillings) showed he had one cavity. Wasn't it nice of them to attempt to make a profit from drilling the crap out of my baby's mouth? Assholes.

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