Well, I talked to Cousin, and got additional info:
- The dentist in question does only low income/government benefit work - so his scope is going to be limited to relatively basic procedures.
- At the time of the remark, the dentist had just spent 3 hours doing one back-of-mouth filling, and said, 'I can't spend any more time with you'
- Cousin has a self-described 'small mouth, which he can't open very far'. Slight eyeroll; this is a real issue, but Cousin has a habit of latching on to any tiny issue that would make him 'special'.
So I mentioned to Cousin that what he needs is to find a dentist who is certified and set up to do work under general anesthesia. I will take a wild stab in the dark and guess that Original Dentist didn't mention this because many people who have their medical/dental needs taken care of under a government program do not have the cash to seek out another provider for a more expensive service. Since they are in a very small town, with the closest metro area about 200 miles away, there are likely not any providers on the government network nearby who can do that level of work, so he just didn't mention it. Sounds like it came down to poor communication by the dentist.