Wednesday, January 20, 2010

a second opinion...

Since last December, I've been on the verge of a toothache. The whole spectrum - from "whoops better not bite on that just now" to "HOLY #$%^ WHERE'S THE IBUPROFEN!" So, finally, right after Christmas, I went to my regular dentist, Dr. C.. He used to have a little office above a bank, close to where I work. I've been his patient since he first started out in 1984. Times have improved for Dr. C., and now he has built up his little bicuspid bistro into a multi-tentacled molar mega-mart in the suburbs. After X-rays taken by one of the scurrying assistants, a perfect stranger offered me her opinion. The suspect tooth had "no evidence of infection", but to eliminate any doubt, she recommended removing the metal cap, re-drilling the root canal, and replacing it with a new cap. $2300.00. Considering that i'm still operating on an economic down-turn of a reduced work-hour schedule, and no dental insurance, I got a good laugh out of that. I stood there under the spacious cathedral ceiling of the Patient Waiting Lodge, with one wall dominated by a huge Oprah Whimpery on a huge flat-screen TV, and I thought to myself: "Perhaps a second opinion would be in order." Oprah could not be reached for comment.

So, I remembered the recommendation of my General Practitioner, whose usual answer to any pain was "What T'Hell? You're getting old!" He said to try Dr. F. in South Milwaukee. So, I made an appointment, and did a little comparison. Here are my findings:

Dr. C
Dr. F

Available for Appointment

"Emergency? Well, if you're really in constant pain, we can work you in by the end of next month."

"What are you doing tomorrow morning, say, 9 am? I was going on vacation, but the flight's not till 6 tomorrow night."


For diagnosing that there was "no infection evident" and implying that I was imagining waking up in the middle of the night - $98.00

We don't charge for estimates, and the body shop doesn't fix teeth!

Lobby entertainment

Huge wide-screen TV, game room for the kids, with its own TV. People spend lots of time waiting here.

National Geographic and Home Handyman Magazine. TV is bad for kids.

Furnishing - hallways

Muted tone wall fabric, soft energy-efficient recessed lighting. Out the tinted windows, a wooded suburban residential lot.

Wood Paneling and Windows overlooking the swingset in the neighbor's yard

Chair-side music

XM satellite radio, soft speakers or headphones.

has the radio on, playing Lady Gaga and Abba

What to watch while Dr. is hard at work

TV in ceiling, pointed down for easy viewing in the chair, close-captioned, of course.

Red, white and blue snow-man cutouts taped to the fluorescent fixtures.


Takes new Xray almost every time, $80 / pop, and I'm radiated enough that I don't need the remote to change channels any more.

Asked if I could bring Xrays or duplicates from Dr. C. I asked Dr.C's office, and they sold me duplicate prints for $10 ea. Suitable for framing!

Computer monitoring

During any work, Dr. has multiple computer screens displaying Xrays, dental records, and Hi-Res photos of teeth to guide him.

Dr. F. relies on the older time-tested method of looking at the actual teeth in front of him. They're right there. I brought them in!

Payment Options

There is an in-house finance office with a full-time finance officer ready to write up a re-finance or reverse mortgage, payment plans to last a lifetime!

No credit cards. Cash or check. 10% discount for paying immediately after your service.


For removing, re-drilling, and replacing a cap - $2300.00*

*note, i didn't go through with this recommendation, BECAUSE...... >>>>>>

For finding the actual cause of the toothache was in the next tooth over, and replacing the leaky filling that was causing the problem - $117.00

If anybody doubts any of these details, I'LL BITE 'em!

Thanks for listening and contributing. For up-to-the-minute thoughts, come on over to I'm @dimbulb52


leslie (crook) said...

Oh, this was PERFECT! My Dentist of 20 years, who worked out of his basement, retired and turned all of us over a guy who is just like your Dr. C. So big and shiny and computerized. And they don't listen to what I ask!

I am seriously going to change to the Dentist all my friends use, who works out of his basement. Maybe it'll be less $$, too. ;-)

WV: torccing
Maybe you should consider torccing Dr C's little practice.

Sue said...

hahahaha...glad you found the new guy!!!
My dentist falls somewheere in the middle of these two..mor towards the new guy.

Glad your toofe is better.

Lydia said...

HAHAHAHAH - I can't decide which is worse - the $2300 or the Oprah!!!

Glad you feel better!!

wv: loopi - I bet you felt a little loopi after they numbed you up!