I am not a fan of dentists. Even though I got a toy at the end of my visits as a child, I always associated these dental visits with Novocaine shots in my mouth and unpleasant drilling and filling my cavities. You see, I didn't grow up in a household that valued dental hygiene. In fact I didn't start a daily teeth brushing regiment until high school. I remember challenging myself to fall asleep with a Skittles candy in my mouth to see if it will be there in the morning. This meant lots of cavities. It wasn't until my first year out of college that I had a dentist visit without the need for a cavity filling.
In the last 2 years I have been to four different dentists due to job changes and physical relocation. I have always trusted my dentists' expertise and never questioned their recommendations or procedures until the last few visits that really made me wonder if they had my best interests in mind.
Dentist 1: I've been with this dentist for a while and he was the first to tell me (after a few years with him) that I was clear of cavities. He was low-key and on my insurance plan so visits were relatively affordable. I was happy with his services and never questioned his work.
Dentist 2: I switched to a new job and dental insurance plan which meant I needed to see a new dentist. This woman told me I had to replace many of my older fillings and digitally showed me where the 'seams' began to come apart from my tooth. Although it was a scary thought, I didn't have the money to cover $13,000 worth of work with her. She was adamant that I get the work done quickly but I had pretty bad dental insurance and decided to wait.
Dentist 3: My family moved to a new town and we didn't have dental insurance. My husband bought a Groupon to see a Cosmetic Dentist in San Diego. This group was professional, had a nice office, and commanded immediate respect. They took X-rays and over the course of 3 different visits finally told me I had to replace my silver fillings because they only last 7-10 years with crowns. The work would cost $8,000. Again, I didn't have the funds and left.
Dentist 4: My husband moved us back up to Northern California with a new job. We now had dental insurance again and found a nice dentist in the small town of Dixon. She had a great team of people with a beautifully decorated office that used to be a fire station. She ran her tests on me and said I had two cavities. I gave her the low-down of what the San Diego dentist recommended and her response was, "fillings last 20-30 years depending on how your care for them." She also said I was too young to have significant work done like getting crowns which removes most of your original tooth. After getting my two fillings completed (costed under $200) I am now well on my way.
I was very happy with the service I received at my last visit and am very comfortable with the latest diagnosis. BUT I am still confused about how my four dentists can have such different standards when it comes to treating my teeth! Isn't there a set standard when examining and treating patients? How can two dentists tell me I need a ton of major work while two others (both of which I was insured with) say there isn't much to do?
Do you have any interesting dentist stories to share?