Saturday, February 3, 2007

One time, I almost killed a dentist.

One morning about three years ago, I woke up with a toothache.

Being one of the millions of Americans without dental coverage, I tried to ignore it and eat ibuprofen to mask my discomfort.

A few days later, I was dizzy with pain and decided enough was enough. I called around to try and find a dentist to fix me.

It was a scary venture for me. I'm embarrassed to say that before this, I hadn't been to the dentist for close to twelve years. On my list of favorite things to do, having someone dig around in my mouth doesn't break the Top 50.

There are a lot of dentists in this town, but only one who could get me in that day. A little research would have clued me in to the fact that I was making a BIG mistake by settling for this guy. But I was desperate and in an ever-growing amount of pain. I was afraid something was really wrong and I didn't want to end up toothless. Not a good look.

I arrived at my appointment, filled out the required paperwork and waited in the closet-sized reception area. The staff was cordial and professional, complete with Stepford Wife smiles and demeanor. They called me back and took me to my chair.

The minute the dentist sat next to me, I didn't like him. The tan, the foo-foo highlighted coif, and his creepy girl hands gave me a shiver. I chalked it up to my general disdain for dentists and moved on.

His evaluation was that, since I grind my teeth in my sleep, I needed his patented end all-be all cure. This device, he told me, would most certainly help my toothache and stop me from grinding my teeth--GUARANTEED (or my money back). Oh, and it was going to cost me a very large amount of money. So much in fact that I'm not even going to say what it was.

I should have laughed in his Ken Doll face. I should have told him to shove his patented device up his asshole device. I should have, but I didn't. I was hurting, people. I was desperate. I was stupid.

This "cure" was an exercise in humiliation. It was supposed to fit over my top two front teeth to keep me from grinding my teeth at night--but I was supposed to wear it all day, every day.

I know I can be a little vain, but this thing went beyond vanity. It was straight up ridiculous. Not only did it impede my speech, but it looked like a prop from a beaver costume.

He wanted me to come back in two weeks to "re-evaluate". After paying the exorbitant bill, I headed out to car and promptly put my new, very expensive plastic toy in my purse where it would stay until I threw it away a few weeks later. I felt like a sucker. I let this guy talk bullshit to me and sell me his snake oil. I could have gotten one of those crazy plate things at a fucking Walgreens to stop me from grinding my teeth (if that was even the problem to begin with).

When I later went to another dentist (who I love) and told him this story, he told me what this other dentist did was WAY over the top--that I was "over treated". It seems that Dr. Fuckface has a reputation for pushing his fancy device on a lot of patients. It's a status thing I guess. The more he sells, the better he looks. Maybe he's trying to be famous for making people look like assholes while bilking them out of tons of money. I think he'd be better off as a televangelist. He already looks like one.

In the two weeks between my initial appointment and the follow up, I learned a lot more about this guy and none of it was good.

*He once ran for state representative--as a Republican.
*He is a convicted wife-beater.
*I don't know the whole story on this one, but he had his prescription writing privileges revoked a few years back.

On the day of the next appointment, I was ready to rumble. I tend to get weepy when I am angry, but I was determined to keep my cool and give this asshole the 'what for'.

When he asked me how things were going, I told him that I wasn't happy with my treatment, and I didn't think the device was the right decision. The fact is, my tooth got better the day after I saw him (without wearing the bucktooth dohickey). I had a stressful week that week. Sure, I grind my teeth when I'm having a bad week. I didn't need a dentist. I needed a glass of wine and a good night's sleep.

Nothing bothers me more in life than feeling like I've been taken advantage of, and that's how I felt. I concluded by telling him that I wanted my money back per the guarantee clearly printed on the info sheet. I knew it was probably a stretch that he would actually honor the request. I couldn't really say it didn't work because I didn't use it, but he certainly couldn't say it did either.

He was livid!

You would have thought I asked him to put his dick in a vice. He angrily explained that his success rate with the device is 87%. I reminded him that 87 does not equal 100. It was at this point that I saw the spittle in the corners of his mouth start to foam up, and it was ON.

I knew I couldn't back down if I wanted any chance of walking out of there with my dignity intact (and at least part of my money refunded), but this guy was fuming. It was as if no one had ever told him 'no' before.

He practically ripped the paper bib off of me, and refused to make eye contact with me. He started pacing back and forth and his breathing got all weird. For a half second, I considered the fact that he could very well raise his hand to me. With all the adrenaline I had going, I so could have taken him down. I eyed the tool tray in case I needed to fight dirty.

At this point, I didn't care about the money anymore. Getting this Republican, wife-beating asshole this worked up was worth every penny. I wish I had it on video to enjoy again and again. This was quality entertainment.

He then had the presence of mind to show me the door, but it wasn't over yet.

"So, I'm not getting my money back then?"

I then told him that since he wasn't going to give me my money back, he had to give me my records and x-rays. This about put him over the top. He stood at the door, seething and ordered one of the techs to fetch my paperwork. He was breathing erratically and finally looked me in the eye, trying to stare me down or intimidate me. All that did was make me giggle. His face was red, he was sweating, and he had that pouty-lip thing going on that my two year old does when I tell her she can't eat the gum she found stuck to the playground equipment.

Because I was so proud of myself for keeping my cool and also for the added bonus of ruining this asshole's day (and possibly his whole week), I decided the occasion warranted a little cherry on top. In the most patronizing tone I could muster I said,

"Wow. Must you be such an infant about all this? Can't we be grown ups?"

I truly believe that if no one else had been in that waiting room, he would have literally kicked me out the door.

Then I definitely would have gotten my money back--plus punitive damages.


Grant Miller said...

You are my hero. My wife gets weepy if she gets angry at people sometimes. She would probably get angry if she knew I mentioned that in a blog comment. And then she might get weepy.

Always remember, a dentist should never ask you to remove your pants.

Winter said...

I love it, could I hire you?
I never do stuff like this, but always want to.

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