- Annmarie Throckmorton, M.A.
I did not do report my former dentist to the American Dental Association because of pity due to the apparent deleterious, lingering COVID effects that we all seem to be suffering. And, because the ADA website states that "The ADA is unable to respond to individual questions about dental treatment, proposed treatment, conditions or problems, fees, diagnoses or requests for research. If you need a referral to a dentist, have a complaint or you simply want information about a variety of dental procedures, please visit our dental health topics on MouthHealthy.org or consult your dentist." Apparently too many patients have complained about too many dentists, and the ADA just cannot take anymore.
Anyway, because I floss my teeth each night before bed I have relatively little plaque and tartar around the gum line, but it is my habit to fully utilize my Humana dental insurance benefits of two dental exams and teeth cleanings each year. This year I am stopping at the one I had last month to give myself time to recover from the following situation.
I had a 3:00 P.M. appointment with Dr. (name redacted out of the aforementioned pity) for a basic exam & cleaning, clearly stating to both the receptionist and the dental hygienist that I wanted only what is covered 100% by Humana. I have had a lot of trouble with doctors billing me for optional services that Humana does not cover and which doctors did not inform me will be out-of-my-pocket, so now I inform all medical care providers in advance that I do not want the extras that cost me money. I had even sent this dentist an email a few days before my appointment stating in writing that "Humana told me today that I have 2 unused dental exams with cleanings in 2021 that are covered 100%, and that the dentist is still in my dental plan. I would like to schedule a basic exam and cleaning. Please call or email me at your earliest convenience. Humana also said that the following x-rays are 100% covered, if you need to do this: 1 bitewing per year, 1 intraoral x-ray (periapical) per year. By the way, I have had no recurrence of the blister on my upper right gum, no pain, no heat, no symptoms at all—and I have decided not to do anything further in that regard at this time."
My complaint is as follows.
The dentist chose not to do any imaging to check the cyst in my upper right gum. He did a visual inspection (there is nothing to see on my gum), then he said that if I do not have the "treatment" for a cyst inside my upper right gum (a treatment consisting of 4 root canals/implants estimated to cost me $5,084.00 and which at my age might not heal easily) then he would dismiss me from his practice as my declining his treatment would be a "liability" for him. That was extortion. He said this three times and three times I politely said no, I do not want this treatment. He had burst into the exam room to have this argument with me, interrupting the dental hygienist who was cleaning my teeth so that I did not even get to rinse out my mouth, and he seemed pent up, even angry. I soon asked to let out of the dental chair so that I could leave the office as this was a horrible experience. The chair was positioned with my head lower than my feet, for the hygienist to work on me, so I could not get up out of it. Even after I repeatedly asked him to let me out of the chair he would not, perhaps could not stop arguing with me. The hygienist finally released the chair and I left his office immediately.
I have had this cyst for the past several years inside my upper right gum and have never any symptoms, no pain, no heat, no symptoms at all. That is why I have decided not to do anything further in that regard at this time. I had told the dentist that I cannot afford his treatment for something that does not hurt, and that I have no family left living to help me with any recovery I might need. The dentist did not respect my right to decline his treatment and he dismissed me from his care. I think that he is a terrible dentist for dismissing me in this way, and I told him so.
Further, his office requires even vaccinated patients to keep a COVID mask over your mouth whenever they are not looking into it, which excessive.
animation and still image by Annmarie Throckmorton 2021