Welcome to Stamford, Connecticut, where people have to sell their liver for perfect looking teeth. It’s “The City That Works”.
Ready to read my long dental history? You’re going to have to, anyway.
I’ve had braces twice in my life time. Once for 2 years when I was a kid. Then another 3 years when I was 19 (braces didn’t come off till I was 22).
When I was 19, my dentist saw that I was genetically missing some teeth. I was missing my top lateral incisors, so my top row of teeth looked like this, and I was missing 2 second premolars on the bottom. My adult 2nd premolars never came in; so I still have 2 baby premolars in my mouth… the x-Ray looked funny (not my X-Ray, obviously, but it was what my teeth looked like at the time).
What was decided at the time; pull out my baby premolars from the bottom, and use braces to close the gaps. This would pull my bottom teeth back under my front teeth (how a normal bite should be).
Result at the time: my teeth were straight. All four of my wisdom teeth had room to stay in my mouth, so they stayed. I now get annual lectures about how I have to clean my wisdom teeth really well because they are hard to clean. Blah blah blah.
On to the Vampire Issue
So because I was missing the two lateral incisors up top, I ended up looking like a vampire whenever I smiled. My dentist at the time said he could flatten out the canine fangs and we can “pretend” that they were lateral incisors. I didn’t want to do it at first; but after a couple of years of whining, I let him do it.
So he put bondings on my canines to make them into lateral incisors. He also put bondings on my central incisors (2 front teeth) so that they would match. Great fix.
4 Years Later
The bonding on my left front tooth starts chipping. I get it fixed at my new dentist in Vancouver. New dentist is the first one to suggest using porcelain veneers instead. I said no, because it’s expensive and unnecessary. She tells me that me that the bonding will continue to chip every few years. Bondings are less expensive and are usually covered by dental insurance, because it’s not a strictly cosmetic procedure; bondings are typically used to protect any “open wounds” on your teeth in order to prevent cavities. I refuse again.
2 Years After 2nd Bonding
Front left tooth starts to chip again. This time I’m in Stamford. This is May of 2015. I go to Dental Care of Stamford for a regular cleaning, and I ask them to fix my front tooth with more bonding. I’m hounded this time to use procelain veneers. I ask for a quote. Too expensive (can’t remember exactly the cost). I turn them down. They charge me $153 for bonding on one tooth, since insurance only covers a part of it. I walk away happy.
My front left tooth has chipped a lot in the past two weeks. I put off going back to the dentist to get it fixed again, and this time I’m thinking maybe I should just do the veneers. Maybe the problem was that regular bonding just wasn’t strong enough.
I go back to Dental Care of Stamford, only to be quoted a whooping $2152 dollars PER TOOTH for procelain veneers (and Carol wants me to do 4 teeth. That’s close to 10,000!). The dentist spent about 2 minutes with me, telling me what she would do, and when I ask her for a quote, she says, “I’ll let Carol tell you that.”
Carol is the sales woman assigned to make me sell a liver. She’s dressed like a sales person and she has zero dental skills. Why do dental offices even have sales people? Carol fights hard to sell me this incredible expensive procedure that I “absolutely must have” if I “want to look my best.”
I refuse a couple of times. She tries other tactics of convincing me. I get tired of saying “no”, so instead I say:
“I have no money. My husband supports me. I have to ask him.”
You’d think Carol would leave it at that, right? Nope. She then starts showing me this brochure for some kind of medical services credit card, she tells me that my husband can finance it on a monthly basis. I want to stop her there and tell her that I have no credit here (I’m not American, and I don’t have a bank account here), but I figure I’d let her continue wasting her breath for a few minutes before I just say, “great, thanks. I’ll talk it over with my husband.”
Carol’s closing line, that really made me laugh? –> “Just tell him it’s your Christmas Present!”
ARE YOU KIDDING ME?
Dentist in White Plains
I walk out of Dental Care (I doubt they care) of Stamford, laughing internally and feeling like I needed a shower after 30 minutes spent with sleazy sales tactics thrown at me. I complain about the cost and experience to TubHubs for a while, then I ask him for the number for his dentist.
Turns out his dentist is The Lincoln Lawyer of dentists. His practice may not have all the fancy tools and shiny chairs that Dental Care of Stamford does, but there isn’t a single sales person on his staff.
After taking some X-Rays, the dentist came and looked at my teeth. I told him briefly about my dental history (he knew I had braces from looking at the X-Rays) and why my front tooth had been chipping so much. I told him that I was thinking veneers since they were stronger, but that I was worried about the cost.
Here is what he tells me:
There’s no reason for bondings to chip so easily after just months of use. The reason that mine are chipping more frequently is because I no longer had canines.
Canines are naturally designed to absorb the impact between your top and bottom teeth. He showed me how my bottom teeth have collusion “damage”.
He then gave me 2 options:
- Get porcelain veneers, and he could try building me proper canines. This would be expensive and out of pocket, as veneers are always considered cosmetic.
- Get bondings on that one tooth again, but this time he’ll give me a night guard to wear, which would prevent my teeth from grinding and chipping the bonding. This option is covered by dental insurance. Good bondings should last 5 to 10 years.
Out of all of the dentists I’ve seen (aside from my first dentist, who did my braces) before him, they’ve all pretty much omitted the “truth” about my ever-chipping tooth–just so that they could sell me a much more expensive procedure.
The Very Short of It
Honest dentists are hard to find. That’s all.