I had decided to take control of my dental health. I’d allowed anxiety to keep me away for too long. A friend told me about dental sedation and it sounded like the perfect solution for me. Now I’m wondering if I made a huge mistake. We’d set up this carefully laid out plan that worked within my financial limitations. We were doing everything on a specific schedule to phase out the treatments giving me time to save up for the next group. They had me sign everything ahead of time because they said I couldn’t agree to anything while under sedation so had to sign now. I liked that I could trust that they wouldn’t do anything without my consent…or so I thought. The day of the service went well enough. My husband took me. I seemed to have slept through everything. He took me home and then I slept through the majority of the rest of the day. I was in heaven thinking I’d finally be able to get my mouth in order again. But, two days later, they called to “check up on me” and announce that the dentist was able to do more work than he originally thought and would I please submit the additional payment. I was shocked. I reminded her that we scheduled everything according to what I could afford. She said, “Well, it’s done now and the dentist should get paid for his work. I’ll have 30 days before they “have to” turn it over to collections. Really? Can they do that?
First, let me say how impressed I am that, despite your dental anxiety, you’re taking the initiative to improve your situation. That is fantastic! Second, I’m horrified at what you experienced. In fact, they can’t do work while you’re under sedation that you haven’t pre-approved. Signing a scheduled treatment agreement doesn’t count. You agreed to have that work done at another time.
The first thing I’d suggest is you bypass the front desk. Tell them you need to speak directly to the dentist. Remind him of your agreement and that you don’t have that money at the moment. If he gives you trouble, tell him he’s leaving you no option but to go to the dental board. That should give him a moment’s pause to think about the consequences of his unethical actions
I’m also going to suggest you not return to this dental practice. They obviously can’t be trusted.
Finding a Trustworthy Sedation Dentist
Obviously, the first step is just to do an internet search for sedation dentists in your area. Though, you didn’t need me to tell you that. The next two steps are vitally important. Make sure the dentist is DOCS certified. That is the Dental Organization for Conscious Sedation. This will give you an extra level of security that your dentist knows what they’re doing and can handle any emergencies that crop up.
After that, you want to do a tiny bit of research. Check their reviews. Sites like Yelp! and Google Reviews are great at giving you insight into the type of dentist you’d be seeing. Are they professional? Do they seem to care about their patients? People are pretty blunt in their reviews.
Above all else, don’t let this one bad apple discourage you from continuing with your determination to get your oral health back on track. There are fantastic, caring, dentists out there. Ones who will bend over backwards for their patients.
This blog is brought to you by Hilton Head Cosmetic Dentist Dr. Bonnie Rothwell.