Bite Me...

Apparently, this is my week for terrible health care-related experiences. Today, when I went in for a routine teeth-cleaning at the dentist where I've been going ever since I had teeth, my regular dental hygienist was giving me her standard overly-vigorous flossing treatment when she pulled out the wire connecting the permanent retainer that I've had bonded to my lower teeth for over a decade now, effectively breaking it. It was quite obvious that she had broken it, because the now-loose wire was jabbing me in the tongue. 

What happened next angered and disappointed me. The hygienist was quick to assert that the appliance was already loose, and that it would have broken the next time I flossed. She repeated this opinion to the dentist, who backed her up, as did the dentist's assistant, and the receptionist who made the appointment for me to come in and get it fixed later this week. Never mind the fact that I lived with the retainer in my mouth on a daily basis for years, and was adamant that it was in no way loose, and that I use a much gentler hand when cleaning around it than the hygienist usually does. There is no doubt in my mind that the culpability for its breaking was completely on her shoulders. 

Now I have come back and shell out a couple hundred dollars to have the retainer repaired, in what will doubtlessly be a painful procedure. All of this could have been avoided if the hygienist hadn't been so rough, and now I'm going to be the one suffering the consequences. What irks me even more is the way the dentist's staff closed ranks and protected their own instead of demonstrating some sense of value for me as a customer. I've been their patient longer than that particular hygienist has worked there, and given the sheer volume of dental work they've done for me over the years due to the congenital defect that left me without eleven of my adult teeth, I've more than lined their pockets.

Ideally, they would have offered to repair the problem for free, considering it was the hygienist's fault that it broke in the first place. At a bare minimum, I feel like they owe me an apology. I wish I could take my business elsewhere at this point, but I have such a unique case that I feel I should stay with the dentist who already has years of experience treating me. Curse the health care system this week!

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