Today I went to the dentist, it was the first visit in maybe 2 years. I know, my new dentist was shocked too when I told him! But, I had a great time; honestly, it was the most pleasurable experience that I have had since probably my teen years. I am now 29, going to be 30 this August! #SoExcited
This wonderful dental exam that I received today, reminded me of my last visit, which was the worst experience that I have ever had with a medical professional. Let me tell you how they tried it… and lost it and the lessons I took from that experience.
Back in San Jose, CA, I went to the dentist after not seeing one for years, I was busy working and commuting in the Bay Area and did not have time for doctors visits. When I found myself in a position to where I wasn’t so busy commuting to work, I had no health insurance and never signed up for ObamaCare, it was far too expensive for my meager earnings, compounded with my rent that took half of my monthly income and not to forget the rest of my monthly financial responsibilities. So when I did eventually get a good job that paid well and had great health insurance I ran to the dentist.
Unfortunately, I ran to the wrong dentist and for the love of me, I can’t remember her name or practice, but she was horrible! My first visit, I was waiting for 30-40 minutes before being seen, granted 15 of those minutes were spent filling out paperwork, which I did online already but whatever. Then when I finally got to the chair, I told the assistant that I was nervous and I didn’t like pain. She says nothing regarding my concerns and proceeded to stroke my hair and told me how pretty it was… I seriously moved my ENTIRE upper body off the chair as if I was levitating and gave her the most savage look.
PSA: Black women have amazing hair, it is thick and full of volume, our hair grows to the sky and tumbles down like strands of fire doing whatever it wants, whenever it wants. We know our hair is amazing, we understand that you may have never seen anything like it before, and don’t feel ashamed if you don’t understand how our hair can “grow” 10 inches overnight. We are gifted creatures. That all being said. DO NOT RUN YOUR DIRTY, “I DON’T KNOW WHERE YOU’VE BEEN” FINGERS THROUGH OUR DELICATE CURLS, ELSE, YOU ARE LIABLE TO GET THE LOOK. Thank You.
Now, the dentist walks in and things go from uncomfortable to miserable. As she is examining me, she is poking my poor gums until they bleed, I can taste the blood, and I’m telling her that it hurts, she then rubs some numbing gel on my gums and proceeds to poke and scrape. I personally felt like she was working out her aggression on my swelling gums.
The pain is too much at this point, so she injects me with novocaine and continues on. Towards the end of the exam, she tells me that I have stage 3 periodontal gum disease and some ludicrous number like 17 or 27 cavities, she tells me that I need to come back and we need to basically do a root canal on my entire mouth. I was speechless.
Against my better judgment I went back a week later because I like my teeth and I didn’t know any better, she was the doctor and I was the patient and I trusted that she would unbiasedly give me the care that I needed. I sat in the waiting room for 45 minutes straight when I heard the receptionist talking on the phone to my insurance. Now I’m not sure about y’all, but when I hear my name and various amounts of money in the same sentence, I immediately perk up. Once he hangs up, naturally I ask if there is a problem with my insurance. He says no problem and smiles. I’m extremely uncomfortable at this point, there is clearly an issue with my insurance and my dentist has all the bedside manner of a wet cat.
I suppose at this time my dentist realizes I’m here and tells me to go to the back and she would be there shortly.
It is at this time when I decide that ultimately something wasn’t right so I ask again about the insurance and want to know EXACTLY how much I’d be paying BEFORE I had any work done.
Girl… they had no idea. In fact, the dentist and the receptionist was arguing back and forth in a completely different language in front of me! I was done. Absolutely done. I told them that I didn’t feel comfortable not knowing how much I was going to be paying and that I would probably be back after speaking with my insurance company.
The dentist looked at me and said: “no matter where you go, you will have to pay.”
With that, I quickly walked out of the office, down the elevator, and ran to my car.
I say all of this to tell you that you have to trust your gut. Period. Your gut will never lead you astray because it is your natural instincts that will tell you when something’s not right. I paid close attention to all the signs that screamed get out and I listened to everything that dentist said, but most importantly I heard what she didn’t say, and to me, that was the most important sign that something wasn’t right. She couldn’t give me a straight answer to any of my questions.
My dentist today told me that my teeth and gums were in near perfect condition considering that I had not been seen by anyone in 2 years. Had I ignored my gut, that woman would have unnecessarily drilled holes in my teeth, filled those holes with silver composite, and left me with a bill that I would not have been able to afford.
So, when you are in a situation that makes you uneasy, listen, pay attention to all the signs and react accordingly. I don’t believe in taking everything that people say as truth, I’m not cynical, just more of a realist and I understand that sometimes people aren’t honest, and sometimes, some of the people who on your “team” aren’t actually playing for your benefit. I don’t go looking for lies and being overly suspicious, that is unnecessary and exhausting, but, I absolutely will not allow anyone to take advantage of me, regardless of the situation.
Keep your head up and your eyes open boo, and I’ll talk to you next time!