I don’t want to name names, but I see a local dentist in Auburn and have done so for quite some time. I’ve always been good about keeping up with my cleanings and never have outstanding work. Actually, most of the time, he’ll do my fillings the same day they’re diagnosed and I’m good for another six months.
Then, last February, he told me I needed to have a crown done on one of my molars. I have a big silver filling on that tooth and it’s starting to go. He said he thought there was decay there and the crown was the only fix.
Well, then COVID happened, and you know what that means. The office was closed for some time, and then on top of everything else, I lost my job and my dental insurance. Thankfully, I got a new job in October (with new insurance!), but I’m still recovering financially and I haven’t been in a position to schedule the crown work. I’m a couple months off my cleaning schedule too.
They called me when they opened back up and I got my reminders about my cleaning. Then they started calling and I explained to them what I was dealing with and thought they’d give me some breathing room. However, a couple weeks ago, I started getting letters too. The latest talked about how important it was to complete my treatment and basically said I’d be foolish to let my insurance benefits go to waste by not using them before the year is up.
I already felt terrible, but now I feel even worse. I don’t know if I can even go back for my cleaning. Should I bother trying to talk to them again or should I just move on?
Yikes! Sounds like you’ve had quite the year. Glad to hear things are looking up for you now. Let’s break apart what’s happening and what your options are.
Most of Your Contacts Were Probably Automated
These days, dental offices rely heavily on automation. Your recall reminders and even notes to use your benefits before the year rolls over were probably computer-generated or, at the very least, kicked off with a couple of clicks. That may sound impersonal, but on the bright side, there wasn’t anybody looking over your chart and passing judgment. They use these tools to make sure nobody falls through the cracks and to make sure the team can focus on the patients in the office receiving care rather than licking hundreds of envelopes.
You Can Still Tell Them You Feel Pressured
The reality is, most dental offices don’t staff writers or marketing teams. The person who penned your note was probably the same person who greets you warmly with a smile when you walk through the door and asks you about your kids and hobbies. They’re probably not an expert in what words to use or how many times they should try reaching out to someone. They’re just someone who cares about whether you’re having your needs met. All the same, if you took the notices the way you did, chances are others did too. It’s totally ok to tell them that, so they can refine their process and language.
Don’t Let Finances Stand in the Way of Vital Treatment
That said, there is a whole lot of people in situations like you are now. If the office hasn’t discussed financial arrangements with you, you may want to find someone who makes providing affordable dental treatment a priority. That’s not to say you should accept cheap dental care, but rather, seek someone out who will give you options and either accepts payment plans or Care Credit. That way, you can move forward without that crown looming over you.
This blog is sponsored by Dr. Raymond Bolt, an Auburn, AL family dentist.