Poor Customer Service and My General Frustrations with Going to the Dentist

I don’t think many people really enjoy going to the dentist, but I had come to believe that with the right dentist and their assistants it would be bearable. The worst part of going to the dentist should be the sound of the drill, or whatever else may be unpleasant about the procedure. There is a problem when scheduling an appointment, waiting at the office, and talking to the dental assistants, x-ray technicians and dentist are the parts you dread.

My school’s insurance policy requires me to go to Western Dental. Don’t get me wrong, the people you talk to after dialing their 800 number are great. They promptly set appointments, give you reminder calls, and call your local office to confirm the appointment with them. Although, they did also send reminder post cards that arrived the day of the appointment. Considering that my mail arrives at noon and that was when the appointment was, the system is somewhat ineffective.

Now, it’s the people at the local office that worry me. My first question is, if you are a dentist why would you not open your own practice rather than working for Western Dental? It seems that if you have to work for Western Dental, you are not a very good dentist. Though Kaiser Permanente health care runs on the same system – namely that the same company runs both the insurance and actually employs dentists or doctors to take care of you- and I don’t have a negative bias towards Kaiser. Maybe someone working for Western Dental could inform me. Maybe you just don’t want to deal with the trouble of running your own practice…I could see that I guess. Or maybe you just can’t keep customers around long enough because of your junky customer service, so you get a continuous supply through Western Dental.

Besides the quality of care, which so far hasn’t actually been bad, let me tell you my story and you see where someone was not concerned with customer service. Number one issue: I am pregnant. Everyone knows you’re not supposed to get x-rays when you are pregnant, right? Well here is what the American Pregnancy Association has to say. Besides that, I’m an engineer and I’ve studied my share of physics and can understand statistical data when given to me. I know that x-rays are actually just high-energy light…light’s pretty scary and all, but really that’s why you where a lead shield. Other sources I’ve read said also that if a woman has a medical problem, even if she’s pregnant you should just aim the x-ray right at the abdomen and take the x-ray. There is not much evidence that it will hurt the baby and it’s a small dose. So really, I’m not worried about the x-ray thing. And I tend to get frustrated when people repeat things they have no idea about just because it’s what everyone says.

I’ll keep you posted on this ongoing saga. Here’s a week-by-week playback of the terrible customer service I have received so far.

Week 1Week 2Week 3

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