Thursday, September 6, 2012

A visit to the Dentist

I went to the dentist for my six month checkup on Monday. I don't need to go to the Dentist to know that my teeth are a mess. I sometimes look at people on the TV and am awe struck by the quality of their teeth. My teeth are probably the product of growing up in the 1950's, but I'm stuck with what is left of them. The left half of my top set of teeth have already gone and been replaced by plastic teeth that are, to be honest, perfectly horrible. However, the NHS, which is an admirable service on the whole, is rubbish when it comes to teeth. If your hip fails you, the NHS will give you a new hip at enormous expense, but if your teeth fail you .... My Dentist suggested that I consider implants, at £2,000.00 per tooth! For the love of God, I'm a retired teacher, not Richard Branson.

Anyway, I went to the Dentist on Monday to discover that my Dentist is on maternity leave. So,for the time being, she has been replaced by a Locum. No problem with that at all. He checked my teeth, suggested a course of action that my real Dentist had told me was untenable. Suggested that I might like to have my entire set of bottom teeth pulled out and replaced with plastic teeth (I told him that I would consider his suggestion. I didn't tell him that I would consider it for a very long time.)

Then I was told that I would need two appointments to make all the corrections that need to be made. So I made an appointment for today. I arrived ten minutes early, but I had my iPad with me, so I could read my book on Kindle. I was happy. The Lady sitting next to me was much less sanguine, bouncing up and down in her chair. Anyway, we eased past my appointment time and on for another twenty minutes with no sign of movement from the Dentist's consulting room door. It opened twenty minutes after my appointment time to let the patient out. But it wasn't my turn! It was indeed the turn of the bouncing lady sitting next to me. Ah well, another chapter, soon be my turn.

By now we were entering the lunch hour and the waiting room emptied bit by bit. After another twenty minutes had passed, so we are now 40 minutes after my appointment time, there were only three people left in the waiting room. The receptionist addressed one of the ladies who was waiting with me, and said, "Would you like me to see how long he is likely to be?" Interesting, she had to be speaking about my Dentist, because all the Dentists in my practice are female, except the Locum. "No," said the Lady who had been addressed, "I've already waited over an hour, it can't be much longer."

So I asked the receptionist how much over schedule the dentist was running. The receptionist pointed out that there were two patients in front of me, each with twenty minute appointments, and we were already 40 minutes past my appointment time. The patient in the surgery had not yet emerged and she had already been in the surgery for more than twenty minutes of a twenty minute appointment. So it could easily be ....... At that point I suggested that I might let them off my appointment and I would come back for my second appointment next Monday. But you have to be careful, you cannot walk out or they consider that you have missed an appointment, and if you miss appointments you can be removed from the Dentist's list. It isn't easy getting onto an NHS Dentist's list these days! The receptionist thought this was a good idea. She was very sorry, but he had needed to attend to an emergency this morning. (Hmmmmmmm).

The irony is that the walls of the waiting room feature several notices pointing out how many hours of Dentist's time has been wasted in the last month by patients who don't keep their appointments. But not one single notice about the about the patient hours lost by waiting for the dentist!

I am a grumpy old sod, aren't I.



Pearl Cook said...

I'm sorry about that, Kevin. Unprofessional things like that actually happen to patients who wait in line. You should have called the receptionist first before visiting the clinic. Otherwise, you might end up waiting in vain again. Though I haven't seen your teeth, for a dentist to suggest the entire set of your bottom teeth to be pulled out and replaced with plastic teeth, I think you have a major problem. But as much as possible, if the natural teeth have the potential to be saved, they should be saved.

Pearl Cook

Jerri Franceschi said...

First of all, you are not a “grumpy old sod”. Second, it upsets me too that some dental service don’t even consider giving a heads-up to the patients when they are going to be late. That is why, I WENT TO ANOTHER DENTIST. My current dentist is the best! He is very accommodating and he takes care of me real well. I can tell he sincerely cares for my dental concerns. He even shared me applications for my iPad about dentistry and dental care.

Jerri Franceschi

Patty Gurrola said...

If I were the one who read those notices on the waiting room, I could really get upset then. I think, just like any other service, whether public or private, dental clinics must also provide a space or a box wherein you can leave your comments or suggestions regarding their services. After all, it’s just a matter of simply being able to tell them what they need to improve on or what are the things they need to focus on. Although, patients should also make it a habit to stick to their appointments, or at least notify the dentist beforehand if they can’t make it so he can accommodate the next patient immediately.

Patty Gurrola

SethOswald said...

That was so annoying. How could they not afford to accommodate all the patients? Good thing I never experienced that with my cosmetic dentist in Beverly Hills. Appointment is appointment. They value their customer’s time and effort.