Author Topic: Dentist etiquette - should I jump ship?  (Read 6689 times)

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Twik

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Dentist etiquette - should I jump ship?
« on: December 14, 2012, 03:47:57 PM »
So, I have a little etiquette/moral dilemma here.

Last week, I had a filling fall out. Not just a little one, a GREAT BIG HUGE HOLE IN MY TOOTH (or at least, that's what it felt like!) I called my regular dentist, who I've used for 20 years. Apparently, they have no emergency appointments, and they said the earliest they could see me is January. This apparently isn't unusual - I had to wait two weeks a few years ago when a molar self-destructed.

So, I thought that to avoid a catastrophic Christmas, I should shop around. And with luck, I found a dental office nearby, who got me an appointment within 48 hourse, and repaired the tooth right away. Which creates a dilemma:

1 - am I right in being a little bit miffed at my original dentist, who expected me to go nearly 3 weeks without treatment, even though I've been a regular customer for two decades, when the treatment could have taken no more than 30 minutes?

2 - should I feel obligated to change to a practice that clearly goes out of its way for new customers?
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Outdoor Girl

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Re: Dentist etiquette - should I jump ship?
« Reply #1 on: December 14, 2012, 03:52:54 PM »
You do have the right to be a bit miffed with your current dentist.  You do not have an obligation to switch to the emergency dentist.  You phoned, they were willing to accommodate you.  I'm sure they would be happy for you to switch to them but they didn't make that a condition of seeing you.

But if you had a good repore with the emergency staff and his/her staff, by all means, switch.  They've already demonstrated that they value you as a client.
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Judah

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Re: Dentist etiquette - should I jump ship?
« Reply #2 on: December 14, 2012, 03:59:01 PM »
This is a business transaction in which etiquette really has no say.  You can leave a dental/medical/auto repair/plumbing practice for any reason or no reason at all.  Leave if you want, stay if you want, move to the new practice if you want, or find a third dentist...


Edited to add that I wouldn't stay with a dentist who couldn't fit me in for an emergency regardless of how long I'd been with him.
« Last Edit: December 14, 2012, 04:04:34 PM by Judah »
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Tea Drinker

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Re: Dentist etiquette - should I jump ship?
« Reply #3 on: December 14, 2012, 04:28:01 PM »
I don't think you are obliged to go to the new dental practice, but you also aren't obliged to go back to the old one.

If I was making this decision, one factor would be whether the filling that fell out had been originally done by the dentist who said they couldn't fit you it. I know there's no warranty (I'm assuming this isn't "Dr. So-and-so filled this tooth in October and it feel out already," because you'd have said so), but I would expect them to feel more responsible for a filling that was in some sense their work, and make an effort to fit you in.

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Faerydust

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Re: Dentist etiquette - should I jump ship?
« Reply #4 on: December 14, 2012, 04:33:19 PM »
You have every right to be miffed that your dentist couldn't see you for an emergency. I'd probably find a new office if it were me.

You also have no obligation to any dental office. It wouldn't be wrong to go back to your original dentist or to switch to the one you saw for your emergency treatment.

NotTheNarcissist

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Re: Dentist etiquette - should I jump ship?
« Reply #5 on: December 14, 2012, 06:09:32 PM »
To answer your questions, 1=yes and 2=no. I would leave the dentist of 20 years for the new one.

HorseFreak

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Re: Dentist etiquette - should I jump ship?
« Reply #6 on: December 14, 2012, 07:19:36 PM »
If they couldn't see me for weeks for a disintegrating tooth I would jump ship- that's ridiculous. Leaving a cavity open like that for a month is asking for trouble.

Shoo

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Re: Dentist etiquette - should I jump ship?
« Reply #7 on: December 14, 2012, 08:00:17 PM »
I don't think I'd stay with a dentist who couldn't see me in an emergency.  One thing you might do before switching dentists, however, is speak to your old dentist in person if you can.  It could be that his appointment scheduler has no idea what constitutes an emergency, and the dentist had no idea he/she had put you off like that.  Give him a chance to tell you he's appalled at what happened.  If he doesn't, then go forth to your new dentist!

Mr Wigglybones

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Re: Dentist etiquette - should I jump ship?
« Reply #8 on: December 14, 2012, 09:46:37 PM »
This is business - it has nothing to to with etiquette. Just pick the one you prefer.

HorseFreak

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Re: Dentist etiquette - should I jump ship?
« Reply #9 on: December 14, 2012, 10:07:00 PM »
I don't think I'd stay with a dentist who couldn't see me in an emergency.  One thing you might do before switching dentists, however, is speak to your old dentist in person if you can.  It could be that his appointment scheduler has no idea what constitutes an emergency, and the dentist had no idea he/she had put you off like that.  Give him a chance to tell you he's appalled at what happened.  If he doesn't, then go forth to your new dentist!

That's a good point. I was flossing once and broke off a filling, but I couldn't tell if it was filling or tooth since it was a natural colored filling. I called my dentist and the idiot I talked to said I could see a hygienist in 2 weeks to evaluate it, but I would not be able to see the dentist and I would have to schedule something after the hygienist saw it. The next day I started to be in some serious pain and called back in tears. I spoke to a different receptionist who told me that it was an emergency and I could be seen whenever I arrived that day. The dentist was furious at the first woman I spoke to and replaced the filling in 30 minutes.

I also had a receptionist at my back surgeon's office refuse me an appointment for three weeks despite progressing neurologic deficits. The surgeon stormed out of the room when I told him why I had waited so long to come in and I had surgery two days later. I imagine that discussion between the doctor and receptionist was not pretty.

sweetonsno

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Re: Dentist etiquette - should I jump ship?
« Reply #10 on: December 14, 2012, 11:54:20 PM »
I'm of two minds on this. One the one hand, I'd be pretty upset if I couldn't be seen in an emergency. On the other hand, I'd be annoyed if I came in to my scheduled appointment and had to wait (or it got canceled) to accommodate someone else. Would I stop seeing my dentist in either case? Probably not. However, I would be unhappy.

I do agree with the PPs who think the receptionist might be at fault here. Are you sure that it was the dentist and not the scheduler?

WillyNilly

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Re: Dentist etiquette - should I jump ship?
« Reply #11 on: December 15, 2012, 12:21:08 AM »
I've been going to the same dentist since he bought the practice from my previous dentist, 20+ years ago. They are almost always on time with appointments, its a very efficiently run office.  But over the years, a few times i've had to wait a bit due to emergencys coming in.  And I put up with it because it wasn't often and because i liked the idea that if I had an emergency, they'd see me.  If they in turn did not see me, I would be very put off.

I do think its worth speaking to someone else there though, like the dentist or the office manager before totally writing off such a long relationship. But if they still didn't care?  Well maybe that practice has run its course.

RegionMom

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Re: Dentist etiquette - should I jump ship?
« Reply #12 on: December 15, 2012, 12:35:26 AM »
A few summers ago, I was helping a group of children tie off leather laced beaded necklaces, and pulling the knot tight with my front teeth.  Yes, I knew it was a no-no, but I did it anyway.

And, Floop!!  my front tooth, which had already had a good bit of dental work done in it, went flying across the table! 
I had less than half of a front tooth.  No pain, but I looked terrible.  Complete Hicksville.  A bad TV character. 

My dentist saw me that afternoon.  He did a temporary, and I had it fixed permanently later.

The only issue for me was that I was going out with DH that night for our wedding anniversary, and I was cautioned to only eat soft foods.   :P

Anyway, similar to pediatric offices, there should be built in time for emergencies.  If no one comes in, catch-up on paperwork, or have an office karaoke sing-off!

Find out why you were told no, and decide then what to do.
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Sara Crewe (previously Tia2)

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Re: Dentist etiquette - should I jump ship?
« Reply #13 on: December 15, 2012, 04:55:54 AM »
I'm of two minds on this. One the one hand, I'd be pretty upset if I couldn't be seen in an emergency. On the other hand, I'd be annoyed if I came in to my scheduled appointment and had to wait (or it got canceled) to accommodate someone else. Would I stop seeing my dentist in either case? Probably not. However, I would be unhappy.

I do agree with the PPs who think the receptionist might be at fault here. Are you sure that it was the dentist and not the scheduler?

My dentist schedules time for emergencies.  You can either make an appointment in the afternoon and usually be seen within 20 minutes of your appointment time (at worst) or show up at 08.30 and wait with the other emergencies for a dentist who deliberately leaves his schedule free that morning.  You can sometimes end up waiting 2 or 3 hours, but you will be seen that day.

cicero

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Re: Dentist etiquette - should I jump ship?
« Reply #14 on: December 15, 2012, 05:20:13 AM »
*your first dentist should have taken you immediately (or as soon as possible, not a month later)
*you CAN leave your first dentist over this - but as Shoo said - i would speak to the first dentist before I do anything. Sometimes the receptionists need to be re-trained. If *this* was the first issue you had with them, i would talk to him first.
* you dont' have to feel obligated to switch to the other practice. It's nice that they were able to fit you in, but that is how they run their business.

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