How do I get past receptionist to dentist - fibro related, sort of

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TheChickenPrincess
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Date Joined Jun 2010
Total Posts : 554
   Posted 7/3/2010 12:22 PM (GMT -7)   
Hi all,

I have fibro, ibs, chronic hives, allergies and a whole slew of other issues. I've battled it for years, and am now beginning the process of applying for disability. I explain this, because for the last years my income has been absolutely tiny.

20 months ago, I broke two molars in one week. The dentist thinks it may have been tmj / grinding / clenching related. I got temporary fillings - which were only to last a couple weeks - but I still have them because I can't afford the crowns he wants to put in.

Well, last night one of those teeth started acting up. I'm having swelling and pain, and although I'm rinsing every hour with baking soda/salt mixture, I'm worried this may need a dentist's intervention.

One Problem: it took me these 20 months to pay off the last bill - which was around $400. Two crowns will run $2400, together.

Second Problem: My dentist is a nice guy, but his receptionist is a dragonlady. She's rude and won't even let me get through on the phone to ASK him if I could make arrangements to pay for the crowns slowly, or have just the basic crown work done and wait until later for the expensive permanent crowns. I even thought of offering to barter the professional skills I have - not that he needs me, but I wish he'd take me up on it. Last year, I even started crying on the phone with her, but she still wouldn't put me through to him. Once, I called and the dentist's hygienist, who I think is his wife, answered and said, "If you're in pain, I'm sure he'd rather see you than have you suffer ...." She suggested I call back - but when I got the receptionist again, I couldn't get past her. :(

I feel so trapped!

How do I reach the dentist - and not get my message eaten by the dragonlady at the phone?

I am terrified of dentists as it is - but I'm less terrified of him than I am of other dentists. I'd like to stay with him, if I can. I'm also super terrified of medications and such - since I'm hypersensitive and allergic to so many. But I'm trying to force myself to be brave.

Just hoping you'll have an idea for how I can reach my dentist - and not the dragonlady. Maybe he'll be angry it took me this long to pay off a smaller bill and he'll refuse me, but I need to try to convince him to help. How do I do this? I only owe $18 on the original balance - and was hoping to pay that in August.

Ideas, please?

Post Edited (TheChickenPrincess) : 7/3/2010 1:58:17 PM (GMT-6)


getting by
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Date Joined Sep 2007
Total Posts : 40573
   Posted 7/3/2010 12:58 PM (GMT -7)   
I would just let him do the work and make the payments as I could. I am sure that they are happy to get a little money at a time instead of none at all. Which I am sure has happened to them through other patients. If they didnt' say anything about the last procedure, then I am sure that they are fine with payments.

As for the dragon lady, don't let her intimidate you. Sounds like he could use a new receptionist. I would mention something to him when you see him next. Get the work done now. So that you don't end up suffering more.

Hugs, Karen
  Moderator-Depression and fibromyalgia
 
fibromyalgia, Chronic fatigue, depression,allergies


Alcie
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Date Joined Oct 2009
Total Posts : 4645
   Posted 7/3/2010 2:08 PM (GMT -7)   
I'd ask a question and have her, or the dentist himself, call you back with the answer. If he won't call or you don't get an answer, it's time for a different dentist.
Alcie
 
 


Sherrine
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Apr 2005
Total Posts : 17094
   Posted 7/3/2010 2:26 PM (GMT -7)   
Usually billing handles these types of questions.  But, if you really want to talk to the dentist, go to the office and tell them you need to speak with the dentist and if she doesn't allow you to, be prepared to sit there until she does. 
 
Another idea is to call him right now.  The answering service will forward the call to him because you are having pain and swelling.  THEN you can talk to him.  He will call in a prescription to hold you over this holiday weekend.  This happened to me one Christmas Eve.  I got an abcessed tooth.  My dentist called right back, ordered a prescription, and told me to call the office for an immediate appointment the day after Christmas.
 
Let us know what happens.
 
Sherrine 
Forum Moderator/ Fibromyalgia
***********************
Fibromyalgia, Crohn's Disease, Ostomy, Diabetes, Autoimmune Inner Ear Disease, Osteoporosis
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
God does not give us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.    2 Timothy 1:7


SmurfyShadow
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Date Joined Dec 2008
Total Posts : 2386
   Posted 7/3/2010 4:13 PM (GMT -7)   
There is usually an office manager. You should call her/him and explain your hard time with "dragonlady" and ask what you can do to get ahold of your dentist. Also point out that some dental emergencies can be life threatening, and what would of hapened if these problem had been life threatening? They might help you.
 
Smurfy Shadow/Desirèe 
DX: Wegener's Disease, Migraines, Diabetese Type II, PCOS, Lactose Intolerant, Benign Heart Murmer, Depression, Asthma, Asperger's Syndrome, Necrotizing Gramultous Inflamation in eye, A.D.D., Acid Reflux, Tumor Behind the Eye, Carpal Tunnel, Fibromyolgia, Clasterphobic, Arthritis
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Undergoing Radiation Taking Lorazepam (Ativan) on Radiation Days


WhiteChocChip
Regular Member


Date Joined Jun 2009
Total Posts : 439
   Posted 7/3/2010 4:14 PM (GMT -7)   
Could you make an appointment for like a routine cleaning, and then talk to him?

TheChickenPrincess
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Date Joined Jun 2010
Total Posts : 554
   Posted 7/3/2010 4:52 PM (GMT -7)   
Thank you all very much. I feel so relieved to hear your thoughts on this.

I'm going to see how it does until Tuesday, after the holiday is over.

If it gets worse before then, I'll call his number and see if there is after-hours help etc.

If it doesn't get worse, I'm just going to see if they allow me to book an appointment - and I'll keep my mouth shut about money when booking it. Maybe that has been a problem all along, that I've been brutally honest that I'm worried about paying. Maybe just letting him bill me and sending money is all I should worry about.

Anyway - that's what I'm going to try. I'll let you know how it goes. He is the only dentist in the office - it is his business. He's been there for over 30 years. There isn't a real office manager, and the dragonlady also does billing. :-|

Will let you know what comes of it all. I appreciate each of your responses. They all helped me form ideas that weren't coming to me on my own.

MsBunky
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jan 2010
Total Posts : 1097
   Posted 7/3/2010 6:10 PM (GMT -7)   
In a worse case scenario, you can mention to the Dragonlady that you'd hate to have to report the office to the American Dental Association for refusing to let you speak to the dentist directly despite repeated requests. For your information, here are the Patient Rights and Responsibilities from the ADA:

Patient Rights
1. You have a right to choose your own dentist and schedule an appointment in a timely manner.
2. You have a right to know the education and training of your dentist and the dental care team.
3. You have a right to arrange to see the dentist every time you receive dental treatment, subject to any state law exceptions.
4. You have a right to adequate time to ask questions and receive answers regarding your dental condition and treatment plan for your care.
5. You have the right to know what the dental team feels is the optimal treatment plan as well as the right to ask for alternative treatment options.
6. You have a right to an explanation of the purpose, probable (short and long term) results, alternatives and risks involved before consenting to a proposed treatment plan.
7. You have a right to be informed of continuing heath care needs.
8. You have a right to know in advance the expected cost of treatment.
9. You have a right to accept, defer or decline any part of your treatment recommendations.
10. You have a right to reasonable arrangements for dental care and emergency treatment.
11. You have a right to receive considerate, respectful and confidential treatment by your dentist and dental team.
12. You have a right to expect the dental team members to use appropriate infection and sterilization controls.
13. You have a right to inquire about the availability of processes to mediate disputes about your treatment.

Patient Responsibilities
1. You have the responsibility to provide, to the best of your ability, accurate, honest and complete information about your medical history and current health status.
2. You have the responsibility to report changes in your medical status and provide feedback about your needs and expectations.
3. You have the responsibility to participate in your health care decisions and ask questions if you are uncertain about your dental treatment or plan.
4. You have the responsibility to inquire about your treatment options and acknowledge the benefits and limitations of any treatment that you choose.
5. You have the responsibility for consequences resulting from declining treatment or from not following the agreed upon treatment plan.
6. You have the responsibility to keep your scheduled appointments. 7. You have the responsibility to be available for treatment upon reasonable
notice.
8. You have the responsibility to adhere to regular home oral health care recommendations.
9. You have the responsibility to assure that your financial obligations for health care received are fulfilled.


based on that alone, I interpret it to mean you have the right to talk to the dentist regarding your treatment, etc.

Good luck and don't be afraid to stand up for your rights.

Pam
Conditions: Fibromyalgia, Severe Myofascial Pain, Chronic Pelvic Pain (with permanent muscle damage), Femoroacetabular Impingement (CAM and Pincer), Reynauds, IBS, Surgical Adhesions, Ophthalmic Migraines, Severe Hot Flashes (both Surgical Menopause and medication related), plus physically unable to vomit due to the Nissen, and I have extremely tiny veins with a lot of scar tissue...a joy when it comes to having to give blood or get an IV started

Surgeries: Appendix, Uterus, Nissen Fundoplication for GERD, Left Ovary, Gallbladder, Right Ovary, TVT

Medications: Oxycontin, Cesamet, Tramacet, Cymbalta, Flexeril and Clonidine plus Laxaday, Vitamin D and a Multi-Vitamin daily


TheChickenPrincess
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jun 2010
Total Posts : 554
   Posted 7/3/2010 6:39 PM (GMT -7)   
Very informative. Thank you, Pam. I'll try to be more firm, too.

Dagger
Veteran Member


Date Joined Apr 2008
Total Posts : 1522
   Posted 7/3/2010 7:58 PM (GMT -7)   
Most dentists will not do crowns without payment in advance. They have to pay the lab for the crown and the lab won't wait. Even if they let you make payments on their services, you'll probably need to pay between $600 to $800 to the lab for each tooth.

Many dentist offices now offer credit. There is no interest if you make the regular payments and pay it off in a year. A $2400 bill would mean paying $200/month, yuck! Plus you need decent credit.

TheChickenPrincess
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jun 2010
Total Posts : 554
   Posted 7/3/2010 9:46 PM (GMT -7)   
:(

My credit has no negatives, but I have no income, so no loans are possible. My dentist doesn't accept credit cards, or any of health credit services either. He is the only dentist in the county who takes medicare/medicaid - just fyi. None of the other dentists in my region will even let a new patient in without cash up front. Believe me, I've checked. Dang. I am just out of luck at every turn. So now from what you're saying, I still won't be able to resolve this. Can't tell you how upsetting this is.

Post Edited (TheChickenPrincess) : 7/3/2010 10:50:13 PM (GMT-6)


Sheila1366
Regular Member


Date Joined Aug 2005
Total Posts : 384
   Posted 7/3/2010 10:32 PM (GMT -7)   
I think you need to go ahead and make that appt. to see the dentist and discuss getting these crowns. My hubsand had to get a couple of crowns and they are exspensive even with insurance. I am sure the dentist would be willing to work with you since you are an established patient. Try not to let dragonlady upset you, she is just another person, no better than you or anyone else. You don't have to talk to her about anything other than appts. Just talk to the dentist about it.

I hope that you make it til Tuesday ok.
Fibromyalgia,arthritis,raynauds syndrome,gastroparesis,IBS,depression,severe costochondritis
 
God and Family is my life.


confused Okie
Regular Member


Date Joined Apr 2009
Total Posts : 164
   Posted 7/4/2010 7:46 AM (GMT -7)   
There is a kind of credit card thing for health care, I think it is called carecredit. I seen it in my dentist office. I think it is easier to get than a regular credit card and the interest and payment plan were very good. It would be a way to get the work done. Try searching carecredit.
If you think you can, you can. If you think you can't, you won't.
I may not do things like other people, but I get things done in my own way, in my own time.


Sherrine
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Apr 2005
Total Posts : 17094
   Posted 7/4/2010 8:15 AM (GMT -7)   
Many dentists carry various forms of dental insurance.  My dentist checks my teeth.  If I need something costly done, like a crown, they suggest which insurance would be the best for me.  Then I have to pay for the insurance up front...usually around $100.  That should be able to be done using a credit card because you are paying the insurance company, not the dentist.  After your work is done, you will owe the dentist part of the cost but, because he has received at least half already from the insurance company, I bet you can make arrangements to pay the rest off in monthly payments. 
 
It seems to me that dentists have to take a pledge, like doctors, to take care of problems like this.  Here it is.
 

The Dentist's Pledge

I, as a member of the dental profession, will keep this pledge and these stipulations.

I understand and accept that my primary responsibility is to my patients, and I shall dedicate myself to render, to the best of my ability, the highest standard of oral health care and to maintain a relationship of respect and confidence. Therefore, let all come to me safe in the knowledge that their total health and well-being are my first considerations.

I shall accept the responsibility that, as a professional, my competence rests on continuing the attainment of knowledge and skill in the arts and sciences of dentistry.

I acknowledge my obligation to support and sustain the honor and integrity of the profession, and to conduct myself in all endeavors such that I shall merit the respect of patients, colleagues and my community. I further commit myself to the betterment of my community for the benefit of all of society.

I shall faithfully observe the Principles of Ethics and Code of Professional Conduct set forth by the profession.

All this I pledge with pride in my commitment to the profession and the public which it serves.

Did you know?

The Dentist's Pledge was written by Dr. Rob Strauss, a VCU School of Dentistry faculty member, and a group of VCU students. It was then adopted by the American Dental Association.

Sherrine


Forum Moderator/ Fibromyalgia
***********************
Fibromyalgia, Crohn's Disease, Ostomy, Diabetes, Autoimmune Inner Ear Disease, Osteoporosis
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
God does not give us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.    2 Timothy 1:7


TheChickenPrincess
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jun 2010
Total Posts : 554
   Posted 7/4/2010 9:58 PM (GMT -7)   
(I'm sorry not to have written sooner - my notifications of replies must have ended up in my spam folder. )

Slight news - my doctor's office is open tomorrow - and I can see her at 10:am. (Online booking is so helpful.) Thankfully, I do have coverage for that. I have a sneaking suspicion I'll need antibiotics. This will be scary for me since I'm allergic to so many. So if you have a spare prayer or good vibes that aren't being used, I'd sure appreciate them for tomorrow.

Sheila - Thanks for giving me more encouragement. I'm going to try that right after I find out what the medical doc says tomorrow.

Confused Okie - Carecredit is a nice idea - and I do actually have some credit with them - but my dentist does not accept it as a form of payment. Thank you though!

Sherrine - Great pledge. Would you send me a name of one of those dental insurance companies? I'll look at it closer. When I asked his office last year if they accept any of the dental discount services, they said no. When I asked them which types of insurance a person can buy for dental, they said it is more expensive to buy the insurance than the proceedure itself - and that I'd have a waiting period of 6 months before I could do any work under the insurance plan. I'd REALLY like to know more about the insurance company you found, please. Maybe there is one that would work for me.

Fingers crossed. I really appreciate the encouragement. I get myself worked up into a terrible state when I think I might have to try a new med, or be exposed to new dental chemicals which might cause a reaction. I don't even mind the pain that much - but the fear of allergic reaction is paralyzing for me.

Sherrine
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Apr 2005
Total Posts : 17094
   Posted 7/5/2010 6:34 AM (GMT -7)   
I'm sorry.  I don't have a list of insurance companies.  My dentist does...about 10-15 to choose from.  And he will accept their insurance.  I left a really good dentist because they didn't accept any insurance.  To me, that tells me they are in the practice just for the money.  I checked around my area and found another wonderful dentist...graduated from Baylor University...and I now go to him and he accepts these insurance policies. 
 
You might head to the phone book and do some calling and see it a dentist accepts dental insurance.  Then google "dental insurance" and there will be companies that will come up.
 
Sherrine
Forum Moderator/ Fibromyalgia
***********************
Fibromyalgia, Crohn's Disease, Ostomy, Diabetes, Autoimmune Inner Ear Disease, Osteoporosis
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
God does not give us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.    2 Timothy 1:7


TheChickenPrincess
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jun 2010
Total Posts : 554
   Posted 7/5/2010 10:49 AM (GMT -7)   
That's okay, Sherrine. I'll search more - your story gave me more ideas of where to search - that's useful to me. My dentist will take insurance - but he won't take discount cards. I think it is because his regular rates are already lower than the other dentists in the county (hence why he even accepts medicaid).

I did find a couple of dental insurance companies on a site just now - one called Security Life another called Symetra. Both have a plan for $38 per month with no waiting for coverage. They pay a percentage from 30-50% - that's worth something. I'll call his office tomorrow and see if he accepts their plans. I may ask my boyfriend if he would be willing to pay for a month or two of my insurance on his credit card until I can find the money elsewhere.

Also - the doctor was really helpful and understanding. She said the swelling in my neck (glands or lymph nodes) was/is the my body mounting an attack fighting the infection, but she wanted me on the antibiotics too just to be sure we get rid of it all. She gave me doxycycline because I'd taken it 4-5 yrs ago successfully and my chance of being allergic is reduced. She also wants me to keep rinsing with baking soda and salt every 2 hours since that has been helping a lot.

I screwed up my courage and stopped at the dental office - but he is closed today. I'll call tomorrow and just try to book an appointment. He needs to look at this at the very least. I'll bring the insurance info along with me.

Lastly, the doctor suggested I should schedule with a particular rheumatologist at their nearby office so that I can properly submit my application to disability with more credence. She said regular doctor's opinions carry less weight than if a specialist gives his opinion.

So many doctors and dental visits coming up. *sigh* At least my medical stuff is covered though.

TheChickenPrincess
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jun 2010
Total Posts : 554
   Posted 7/6/2010 8:59 AM (GMT -7)   
Just updating. I called the dental office. I booked the soonest appointment I could get - which is in 2 weeks. He's out of town currently. The dragonlady raised her voice and said they needed money up front when I arrive for the appointment. She said at least $50 plus the $18 I owe. She got very loud explaining they can't go on like this. I kept my composure and explained that I understand that and will try to borrow the money to bring to the appointment - and that I've been very ill and money is hard to come by. She asked why I don't have the basic health plan my state offers, and when I explained to her that I already have it, she said she would TRY to enter this as an emergency visit (and it is!) and get the x-rays or something covered. (State only covers extractions for emergencies - possibly x-rays - not sure) She is NOT happy about me coming to see him, but that's not my problem and I tried to keep perpetually cool and monotone in my answers. I asked her to please inform me if there is a cancellation prior to my date when the doctor returns. She made a large exasperated sigh and said, "all right!" She is so intimidating!! It isn't like I chose to be ill. It isn't like I haven't tried to stay out of his office for 20 months.

I have a call into my doctor to ask if I can safely wait until this appointment. She may want to recheck me before then, I don't know yet.

I also have a call into the Insurance Commissioners office for my state and the nicest woman is helping me figure out which insurance companies are legit - and make sure when I order a policy that seems too good to be true that it REALLY covers what I think it covers. She's calling me back with more info shortly. My dentist's dragonlady wasn't familiar with either insurance company I named - but the commissioner is. More research before I go ahead.

Sorry to ramble. I'm getting somewhere - but it is taking a lot of out me in the process!

Thanks for supporting me and giving me the guts to call - and to know I have a right to ask for help.

MsBunky
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jan 2010
Total Posts : 1097
   Posted 7/6/2010 9:34 AM (GMT -7)   
Good work so far Princess (I'm leaving the Chicken part of your name out, because I don't think you need to be chicken at all!)

It's amazing how much more confidence you have, when you know the rights and responsibilities you have as a patient. If you keeping responding as you did with the Dragonlady today (you know...confident, cool, collected), you'll have no problem in getting what you need.

hugs to you...stay strong!

Pam
Conditions: Fibromyalgia, Severe Myofascial Pain, Chronic Pelvic Pain (with permanent muscle damage), Femoroacetabular Impingement (CAM and Pincer), Reynauds, IBS, Surgical Adhesions, Ophthalmic Migraines, Severe Hot Flashes (both Surgical Menopause and medication related), plus physically unable to vomit due to the Nissen, and I have extremely tiny veins with a lot of scar tissue...a joy when it comes to having to give blood or get an IV started

Surgeries: Appendix, Uterus, Nissen Fundoplication for GERD, Left Ovary, Gallbladder, Right Ovary, TVT

Medications: Oxycontin, Cesamet, Tramacet, Cymbalta, Flexeril and Clonidine plus Laxaday, Vitamin D and a Multi-Vitamin daily


TheChickenPrincess
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jun 2010
Total Posts : 554
   Posted 7/6/2010 10:59 AM (GMT -7)   
Thanks very much, Pam. :D Hugs back at ya. You're right, it did help being more informed. It did help not to react in a terrified manner when she blustered, too.

Have to tell you something funny about how I came by the handle I use. My b/f refers to me as The Chicken Princess because I love chickens and have a dream about having my own tiny flock again one day. ;-) (Yeah, I know, pretty unusual)
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