boo to HDS

I know I said I wouldn’t rant, but now that my hand has almost healed…

I am so upset with my dental service. I had been putting off for *years* going to the dentist because he told me at the time I would have to get my wisdom teeth out. I was afraid of getting them out, so I didn’t go back. Well, last year, I finally did, because I figure I have to be a good example for the boy. I go, and again, he implores me to get them pulled. Well, maybe not begged but strongly, strongly suggested. They even set up a consultation for me, so I had to go.

I went to see the oral surgeon and was told that my wisdoms hadn’t bothered me for this long, and probably never will–we don’t know for sure. So I can be proactive and get them out, or wait until they start giving me trouble. He explains the risks of both letting it go, and of doing the surgery. I am still deathly afraid, but what was worse was when I was given the price quote for the procedure. $635! I would never be able to afford that, especially since I was furloughed last year. How I was supposed to come up with that money? Especially since my reserve that I had “just in case” was used up for a car trouble expense. I was told it would probably be cheaper if I had more insurance to cover it, but it’s just that a large part was used up for a crown my dentist suggested I get. So I asked if I waited until July, when my insurance renews, it would be cheaper? I was told that yes, it would be, because it renews, and I can use the full amount to pay for the procedure, instead of just the “leftovers” that was in my account now because of the previous dental work.

They scheduled my pulling for December, but I called back in December and told them that I just could not do it with my finances–I’ll have to wait until July. The receptionist responded chillingly that she would call me back to schedule since they don’t have a July calendar right now. Fine. I was super-relieved.

So in April, I go back to my regular dental appt for my biannual cleaning. The receptionist tells me, “Oh, you didn’t get your teeth pulled huh? I checked your reserve for your insurance, and you still have a lot of money left.” I told her that I couldn’t afford it right now being furloughed, so I wanted to wait until July when I got more insurance to help pay for it. She agreed it was a good idea, especially since doing it in July will allow me the time off I need to recuperate. But then when I went in for my cleaning, the dental hygienist remarked that I had not gotten my wisdom teeth out yet, and I should. I asked what was wrong? And she said the same thing the surgeon had told me, except not the good parts of just waiting. So I told her of the risks the surgeon told me–paralysis of my jaw, puncturing my sinus cavities, etc. But she said it would be worse if I didn’t get the teeth out. I didn’t know what was worse than being paralyzed or having a punctured sinus cavity, but that scared me. Then when the dentist came in to check my teeth, he chastised me for not getting my teeth out. So I told him I was getting them out in July, just to shut them up. He again said I shouldn’t wait, and to make sure I really do. Geez, all 3 of them on my back to get my teeth out! Sheesh!

In May, the surgeon’s receptionist (who really is very chilly and rude) called and said I needed to schedule something, as the July calendar has opened up. Huh. Did she really remember, or was that my own dentist calling to schedule me? Does he get a percentage or something? I couldn’t understand why he wanted me to get my teeth pulled so badly! So I make a July appointment.

As the days came closer, I began dreading it. I don’t want to have my wisdoms pulled. They never gave me any problems. All I heard were stories of the pain from both sisters who have had theirs pulled, and numerous cousins on Facebook that was complaining of their pain after getting their wisdoms pulled. I went back and forth–pull or not? cancel? or not? Ugh.

At the end of June, the surgeon’s chilly receptionist told me they would have to reschedule my appointment because the surgeon was going to be out of town in July. The next available date just happened to be the first day of school for us. Uh. No. I cannot. She then tells me I could do it on a Saturday, then. So she schedules me for the first Saturday in August, but not until 11, so I knew I was going to be miserable because I wasn’t allowed to eat or DRINK for 12 hours prior. I didn’t know how I was going to be without my water! How can you not even drink anything for 12 hours? aiyiyi.

So I gather up all my courage and walk into the surgeon’s office that Saturday. Many times I thought of turning around and going back home, especially since it was a long, long wait. But my mom had drove me and was missing games to take me, and my son was there, and I had to show him I could be brave, right? Eesh.

When they finally took me, close to 1pm (remember, I had had nothing to eat since the night before), the surgeon laughed and said back again? So I told him that my dentist really pushed for it, and he said that the dentist must not have read the report he sent after the first consultation, saying that I didn’t really need to get them pulled. They had not bothered me so far, and they may never will. But, he said, if your dentist is going to keep bugging you to get them pulled then… and his voice trailed off, before he shrugged and said, “It’s up to you. I convinced you once before to put it off–but it’s up to you.” I asked what he would recommend I do, and he said, “It’s really up to you. I can go either way. You can wait until it bothers you, or you can get them out now. But I have been at this job long enough to know when things *need* to come out, or whether it’s okay to leave them in, but if your dentist is going to scold you every time you go…it’s up to you.”

I took a deep breath. I had already psyched myself up the whole week, and all night (I kept thinking what if I didn’t wake up from the procedure? I’m so morbid.), I had fasted and not had anything to drink–I just couldn’t quit now? I thought about my dentist scolding me and his receptionist scolding me and his hygienist scolding me, and I thought geez. I’m here. I might as well. So I told the surgeon that–“I’m here. I might as well get it over with.” He said it didn’t sound as if I was sure, and told me to think about it. But I said, “No, let’s do it. Otherwise it’s going to take me a long time to build up the courage to come again.” So he said okay and that the receptionist would come in with the bill that I had to pay before they could start.

She comes in and tells me that I now owe $822. WHAAATTT?!?!? She shows me the breakdown–$1,000 of it is being covered by my dental insurance, and I was to pay the remainder, which was $822. I didn’t understand why they were only taking $1,000, knowing my coverage is supposed to be $2,000. But I didn’t question, as I thought maybe that’s the limit that they were supposed to take for one procedure at a time. But I was so upset. The whole reason I waited was because I thought it would be cheaper, and here it was, $200 more! UGH.

So I signed off on the bill. I get knocked out, my teeth get pulled, I wake up with a mouth full of gauze, the taste of blood in my mouth, and numb lips that feel funny to play with. For the next 3 weeks I live in torture. I can’t eat anything but poi, tofu, and pudding. For 3 WEEKS. I had to go to school with my mouth full of stitches, and it hurt SO much to talk–yet I HAVE to, for my job. I couldn’t drink anything without tasting blood, and I was seriously weak from the lack of food. Oh, I just do not want to relive that again!!! In addition to all that, I also get an infection which wipes me out, and I was put on strong antibiotics, which had its own very itchy side effect, if you know what I mean. The antibiotics would stay in my system for 3 months, and the side effects just did not seem very good! I was so scared to take it, but I knew I had to. UGH.

Two months later, I am feeling better. I can eat again. YAY! I am stronger. The nasty infections had almost all cleared. And I had to go for my biannual cleaning again. This time I expected a LOT of praise from my dentist for getting my teeth out. But you know what? All 3 of them said NOTHING. NOTHING AT ALL!!! Did not even acknowledge it!!! I was so angry with that!!!

Anyway, back up a bit. My bank put a stop on my credit card because it was such a big charge that they wanted to investigate it. I had gone to get a haircut, and my card was rejected. I went to a restaurant with my sister, and my card was rejected. I had bought some mp3s from Amazon, and the same thing — they sent me an email saying my card was rejected. Now the first two things, since it was the same day, I figured maybe the bank was down that day. But the Amazon thing was 3 days later. Something was up! After calling the bank I find out about the stop put on my card. GRRR! Even more I cursed the pulling of my wisdoms!

Then here’s the kicker. About a month after I had gone in for my cleaning, the receptionist calls me. She asked me how much it cost to get my wisdoms out. So I told her HDS covered $1,000 and I paid $822. She was shocked. $1800 for three teeth? Yes, I replied. $500 for each tooth plus the consultation. “Wow” was her response. Then she tells me that I should’ve told her that they used up all $1,000 of my insurance, otherwise she wouldn’t have scheduled my cleaning. Now I had to pay FULL PRICE for my cleaning, because I had no insurance left to pay for it. WHAAATTTT??!??! I told her “I thought I was supposed to get $2,000 a fiscal year?” She told me, usually, that’s the case. But this year (THIS YEAR??!?) HDS decided to give teachers only $1,000 this year, so that they can change the year to start in January, and not July. So I would get my other $1,000 in JANUARY. JANUARY. Why THIS YEAR? And why only for TEACHERS??? WHY NOW?!?!???!?!?!??!?!?!

I wanted to cry. I was out $822. Because of this charge, my credit card had a stop put on it during which I was unable to use it, and ultimately, it was cancelled, and they gave me a new card, but still–a new number to memorize. I lived through pain for THREE WHOLE WEEKS. I was weak. I got the infection. I was on too strong of an antibiotic. And all of that drama. And ON TOP OF THAT, I now had to pay FULL PRICE for my recent dental cleaning because I had no insurance left!!!!!!!!


I kept thinking of all these past years when I never even used a cent of my $2,000 coverage because I was afraid to go to the dentist because I knew I had to pull my wisdoms. NOT EVEN A CENT. And then when I need it–they only give me HALF?!?!? Because they want to change the year?!?!??!! What happened to all that other $$$ I had been paying to them all those years?!??! I lost that, I know, but geez, can’t that be used even a little bit? ARRHGHGHGHHGHGHGHGHGHGHHHH.

So. I am mad at HDS. I am mad at my dentist. And I’m mad at my surgeon’s chilly receptionist for not mentioning why I only had $1,000 instead of $2,000 (since it did show up on the bill I had to sign before the procedure was done, so she must have been able to pull up my records to see this…). I’m just mad at everything.



I think even more I’m not going to the dentist. I don’t care if my teeth rots and falls out. I DON’T CARE. I’m never stepping foot in a dentist office again.



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