Tuesday, October 18, 2011

sort of like getting a car fixed (lyn)

I’m answering emails this morning, and in the background I hear a segment on The Today Show about car dealerships and how they cheat customers.  Producers of the show consult with independent mechanics and they create a simple, easy-to-repair problem…one that should take about 5 minutes to discover and less time to fix.  So they have a female producer bring the car to three Jeep dealerships.  They all tell the driver that she has a multitude of complicated things wrong with her car. The cost for fixing ranges from a low of $325 (from a Manhattan dealership) to $1,990 (from a suburban dealer).  It should cost about $100.

Today I go to a new dentist and I am using a $59 Groupon certificate, good for a full set of X-rays, an exam, and a thorough cleaning.  My regular dentist charges $175 for just a cleaning, so it’s a very good deal.  My family thinks I’m crazy.  The consensus over Yom Kippur break fast was, “Are you kidding?  I would never use a coupon for a dentist!  Maybe for a free pizza, but never a dentist.  You’re nuts.”

I skip breakfast as I want to maximize the cleanliness of my mouth.  The office, on the Upper East Side, is clean, professional, and occupied by normal looking people.  I meet my dentist.  He is handsome, well-dressed, and welcoming. He has pictures showing a beautiful family.  I feel I am in good hands.

First, we do the ten X-rays.  Next, I ask for nitrous oxide for the cleaning.  I float away with Hoda and Kathy Lee playing on the 60 inch TV in front of me.  The doctor is doing the cleaning.  In my relaxed state, I first think:  “Hey, this is great.  A doctor doing my cleaning.”  Then I think, “I bet he won’t be as good as the hygienist because this isn’t what he does all day.”  Then I wonder, “Is he doing my cleaning to impress me with his attention or is he doing my cleaning because he isn’t busy enough and therefore can’t afford a hygienist?” 

Suddenly the dentist is speaking to me, the nitrous oxide has turned to oxygen, and he is asking me to look at the TV.  A giant size close-up of one of my teeth has replaced Hoda and Kathy Lee.  It’s the same tooth that caused me a problem in 2006.  The one that caused me immeasurable pain.  The one I nearly had a nervous breakdown over.

The dentist tells me that this tooth is very problematic.  He suggests that I make an appointment to see a periodontist right away, saying he is not sure at this stage if the tooth can be saved. 

I leave feeling I’ve walked out of a Jeep dealership.  But my teeth are very clean and so I eat little the rest of the day.

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