Monday, December 17, 2012

I Can Finally Talk About It

Now that I've had a few positive experiences under my belt, I can finally share my horrific experience at the orthodontist's office 2 weeks ago.

We have a larger amount of Medical Flex spending allocated than we had anticipated. Due in large to the fact that we were able to purchase all of our medication in bulk before we left and got 6 months worth of pills for only one co-pay. A smokin' deal! But we're left with money to spend and we really don't want to lose it.

Shortly after we arrived in Chile, our dog chewed - ever so slightly - on Andrew's Invisalign retainer. Apparently, it's not uncommon for the dog to get ahold of the retainers. We hadn't had that problem before because our dog was never allowed upstairs at our home in Arizona. Here, he goes upstairs and sleeps with Alex. So when Andrew put his retainer on his nightstand, he didn't even think about the dog. Live and learn. We boiled the retainer (like you would a football mouth piece) and used pliers to bend it back into place. It works, but if we've got the money to spend, we decided replacing it was a good idea.

Alex also needed a new Invisalign retainer. He got his braces off just before we left the states. Then, only a month later, while in Chile, decided that he didn't need to wear it at night anymore. In his defense, I think there were so many changes happening. So many things completely out of his control, that he just needed to breathe. He just needed a little control of something. If not wearing his retainer was his way of grasping for some control - then so be it. I also didn't remind him and wearing it at night, was something new. Who knows why really. It really doesn't matter at this point. But his teeth have moved, and he also needs a new retainer.

So back to my story...

We decided that if we got both kids new retainers and then had all of our teeth whitened, we'd easily blow through that money. So Greg called and set us up an appointment with an English-Speaking Ortho. Greg then had some things come up and would not be able to attend the appointment with me. He wanted to reschedule, but I figured that I'd be fine. The dentist spoke english.

I couldn't have been more wrong.

Nobody in the staff speaks english. I blubbered my way through reception - but really, that's how I get through everything. No big deal.

Then comes the appointment. Yes, the doctor speaks english - but that was not enough. There is so much more going on in the kid's mouths and they want to put both kids back in braces to fix it. "Only 6 mons" Then I try to tell them (while my kids are both having full-blown conniption fits) that we don't really want braces. Do they do Invisalign? I can't really understand the response. I gather that one of two things is happening, either whatever is wrong can't be fixed by Invisalign, or they don't do them.

They want to re-do Andrew so that they can better shape his two front teeth and give him proper, healthy gum spacing between his front two teeth. This is something I paid for from the last ortho. If they aren't right - HE needs to fix them, free of charge.

The concern I had was that every time the kids were examined by a dentist, they would then send us back to the waiting room, CHARGE me, and then call us back again. This happened numerous times. I'm paying for all kinds of things. Am I paying for braces? Or molds for braces I don't want? I can not communicate with the lady at the desk taking my money.

At this point, I'm losing my freaking mind. They molded Alex. They x-ray everyone, twice. They take Andrew and I up to another floor for another person to look in his mouth. Are they putting brackets on him? WHAT IS HAPPENING?????

Eventually I tell the dentist that speaks english that I would need to schedule an appointment WITH my husband so that we could go over everything before we made any plans.

The thing was - I DID NOT feel like anyone was taking advantage of me, or trying to milk me for every dime. I think they were honest and legitimately steering me in the right direction, but I didn't know what direction that was. I paid some more and got out of there. I was completely frazzled. I wasn't in tears ---- which is a huge step in the right direction. Three months ago, I'd have been in tears for days over that type of stress. Now, I've learned to roll with it.

I am mostly frustrated with my inability to speak the language. I hate not being able to communicate. I'm getting better, and I know I need to be patient with myself, but I still hate it.

Greg and I went back last week and had a great visit. He felt very confident in the diagnosis (just as I did) but was able to communicate with the dentist much more clearly. Once the dentist realized that we'd be gone for a chunk of time during the summer and out of the country in July, he wasn't comfortable doing the procedure as he didn't feel he'd have enough time. He recommended to put them in retainers to keep things from moving and visit our ortho once we got home. Which is EXACTLY what I would have told him IF I could have communicated the first go around.

So we went in (just the kids and I) for molds. The english speaking dentist wasn't there. The assistant who was molding the kids, had things mixed. We only needed top retainers for Alex and a full set for Andrew. Luckily, Andrew knows the right words and could tell her what we needed.

Whew! Glad that's over.

1 comment:

  1. I'm almost in tears just reading about it. You are one strong lady, Tammy Schick.