Bad Disease

I am grateful for trustworthy medical practitioners. You’re supposed to be able to talk to your doctors and dentists honestly. But when they don’t deal honestly with you, a barrier comes up. You won’t be able to get the best medical care possible while the barrier is there.

I switched dentists. Not long ago, I had my first cleaning with the new dentist. This new office was fantastic! They put me at ease from the waiting room onward. The ladies at the front counter were friendly and seemed to be content in their jobs. And so was everyone else I met.

They talked to me about my teeth and my past dental history and everything was put out there in a nice neat row. I didn’t feel that I needed to lie and they seemed to truly have my best interest in mind. They even took photographs of each individual tooth and let me see the pictures and ask questions. That was cool!

Now, I know, this is probably how it is supposed to be. So let me briefly describe dentist #1 for you. I’ve never been afraid of the dentist and I take good care of my teeth. I don’t even eat much candy or sweets.

But with dentist #1, I began to get very anxious. The dentist and hygienists made catty remarks about other dentists in the area. Then, they proceeded to tell me how I needed thousands of dollars of work done to my mouth, including braces (which I’ve already had). I left in an emotional haze. I called my husband and bawled. We could not afford it. Did I need it? Did I really have four cavities? I haven’t had a cavity since I had baby teeth and now I have four?!?!

After the tears dried, rationality settled upon me. For some reason, I continued going to this dentist for another year. Each time, they told me I had cavities, although at one point they decided it was maybe two. But they were so wishy-washy with where and how many that I don’t even think they knew. So I never got them drilled.

I left the new dentist office with the great news: No decay. No cavities.

Some doctors and dentists don’t want you to be involved in the medical process. They may feel that you have nothing to offer that could contribute to their expertise. They shut you out and tell you about your health and your condition. But that creates an incomplete equation.

The doctor or dentist doesn’t know your normal diet or other habits that inevitably affect your health in some way or another. They don’t know what you are feeling or where the pain is unless you tell them. So why do they cut you out of the conversation? (Dentist #1 also told me I have sensitive teeth, but I don’t recall ever cringing while eating ice cream.)

I believe doctors should be developing a relationship with their patients, not categorizing us. Each of us is genetically different and no situation is exactly alike. As patients we have a right to be treated as a human being. (Where’s Patch Adams when we need him?)

More importantly, as a doctor or dentist, it is your ethical duty to provide care that’s in the best interest of your patient. Not the insurance company. Greed is a bad disease, my friend.

So now, I’m rewarded for trusting my gut. Not only did I save myself money, but my healthy teeth were not drilled for the sake of padding someone’s pocket.

Question the things that don’t feel right. Just because someone says you are sick or you have a medical problem does not necessarily make it true. Get a second opinion.

Listen to your body. It’s the only one you’ve got. No one can know more about your health than you. You’re the only one who spends 24 hours of every day inside your body.

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