So about a year ago I finally decided to use my dental insurance to just get my teeth "cleaned." To my surprise, it's not that simple.
The Dentist I had selected (through my insurance) was:
Dental Group of Arcadia
440 E Huntington Dr
Arcadia, CA 91006-3776
Dental Group of Arcadia is individually owned by Farhad Manavi D.D.S., II, Inc.
It looked very nice and was very modern!
So once I made an appointment and show up and it turns out they can't just clean your teeth - there's a lot to do before that! They have to take a full set of X-Rays before they can even look at the teeth themselves! Before I continue, let me give you a little back story...
When I was 9? I was going regularly to the dentist. It wasn't a bad experience really, I wasn't traumatized or in extreme pain when I went - not that I remember anyways. But I do remember being told that taking unnecessary X-Rays could cause harm, so they only took what they needed. Years later I end up majoring in manufacturing and learn through it's cousin metallurgy that X-Rays could indeed be bad... So those things stuck in my head.
Back to my story. So when they said first they need full set of X-Rays I asked why? I just wanted to get my teeth cleaned. They explained it's so they can see the condition of my teeth. When I said they're fine, I just want a cleaning they said "no, because you probably have problems you're not aware of." So 45 minutes later we come to a compromise, they'll take a minimum of X-Rays and go from there.
Now I might be silly, but I know that X-Rays lead to more problems which lead to $$$. Also, since it's insurance they're going to try to claim as many expenses as aren't needed. That was my real objection.
So after the minimal set of X-Rays they technician goes "mmm mmmmmm." And I'm like "what do you see?" "I see a few problems. Doesn't your left side hurt?" HAhaha! No, it doesn't. So after arguing with her about my mouth/teeth/feet not hurting we're done and I'm finally able to see the dentist.
By the way, when I made my appointment they were aware it was my first time to this office. They acknowledged it and said I would be getting my teeth cleaned on that day. They didn't however do that. Once I showed up for my appointment it turns out that nothing is ever done on your first visit - you only get a "check-up/inspection." Then you can make appointments for what you needs.
So here's what I needed, according to the X-Rays and Dentist: I apparently have 13 cavities and am in need of 3 root canals, one of them immediately before I lose the tooth. So while there she referred me to the in-house specialist who could perform the RC because it was apparently very advanced.
Let me give you some more back story. So when I was a kid, I apparently got a gold crown? on one of my molars. While eating/chewing on some delicious candy, it came off. I was like "this is some ghetto workmanship!" So back to the dentist I go. Guess what gang? There was a sign on the door that said "Closed due to Mal practice." It was an official looking sign and had a lot of stuff on it, but that was in a huge font. So that was the end of dentists for me. Not because I didn't like them or was worried about them, because that was my dentist in front of Toys R Us! There's no reason to go back now!
But that wasn't where my mistrust of dentists started. No it started many years later when we found out one of my sisters friends also had the very same dentist but had a lot of dental work done because she had braces. Apparently, he didn't do a very good job as the repairs to the damage done cost some $ to fix. Guess what? My sister also had a little brace-work done as well! And yep, she also had a bad job but since it was very little the damage wasn't so bad.
So, now I'm thinking, they're trying to tell me my teeth hurt when they don't. They're saying they see massive damage to one tooth and I'm about to lose it. They're telling me I need to get this all done ASAP. Mix this with my previous experiences and that = I'm not doing anything, I'm leaving.
So on the way out the office manager is trying to find out what happened. Just for the f of it I ask for the list of items I need to get done and how much it'll cost me out of pocket. It's 13 things they can do there and then what I need to go see the specialist for (root canals). The total for me just at that dentist is $3,000! hahaha Thankssss but no thanks.
I ask if I can just get my cleaning done anyways (cause I'm a trooper) and they say yes but will I be getting any other work done? I said no. They didn't like that and she told me "but you don't understand how at risk you are."
So I say I don't care, I'm a biker anyways - I'm liable to get hit in the face with a tire or baseball on the freeway and lose my teeth. And with today's technology, I can get some awesome fake teeth with screws! How cool is that? Of course she didn't appreciate that. But in the end I was able to make my appointment for my cleaning!...
So before I go back for the cleaning, yes I know I should have looked for another dentist but because all the dentists that were recommended to me were outside of my network, and even on shitty 1-800-dentist (they didn't recommend dentists according to insurance plan which is stupid/pointless) I really couldn't find anyone other than "this one looks good." So before I go in I call and ask if I have to pay for anything out of pocket, the dental office says yes. I'm like wtf??? My plan states all preventative work is 100% covered, that's why I got it. So I start investigating.
After much arguing and to be honest, it was kinda scary because the dental office either didn't want to tell me what procedures are called or they didn't know, I found out a few things I want to share with the world!
For a cleaning apparently you have what's called scaling and root planing. That was 100% covered. But the dental office wanted to give me something called "Medical Irrigation." Sounds important doesn't it? But they wanted to charge me $220 for that. Oh, and the dental office wouldn't do a "full mouth cleaning" in 1 session, I could only do 1/2 the mouth at a time. So that's $440.
So no one at the dental office would tell me what medical irrigation really was, other than it was necessary. No one on my insurance's side would tell me what it was, other than it's not covered. So after much back and forth, I finally came across a wonderful lady who answered a few questions, one of them being "when you go for your cleanings, do you get it?" She said "no, because I just go home and use mouth wash. It's about the same thing."
They also check your "pockets" which is how deep your gums go to the roots of your teeth. A large # is bad. It was a really stupid question of the dentist one she thought about it when she asked what my pockets were when I last saw a dentist. She answered that herself when she said "oh you were 9, they wouldn't have checked your pockets back then." Did that even exist back then? (Yes all my pockets were in rocking condition!)
There was also something else about aristen/ariston injections, but it's been too long to remember what that's about. All I know is that I didn't want it! And don't let them fool you about the "dental disease" gingivitis. Apparently, after some research, EVERYONE has the "disease" to a certain extent. It's normal to have it at the normal levels (someone who brushes their teeth) and those who don't take care of their teeth get it really bad! Also those who do certain drugs.
So now I can get my teeth cleaned! Regardless of what happened, a few months later (like 6) I made friends with of all people, a dental office manager! I told her my story and she broke it down to me in 2 words: "Drill N Bill." That's what they call dental offices that max out the insurance coverages because they can. She also explained everything I had already investigated which was really cool. So of course I felt great I didn't let them rob my insurance blind.
So in the end, I might have only gotten 1/2 my mouth cleaned (they canceled my appointment to get the other side cleaned without notice - maybe because I refused all of their extra "services?"), but at least I know they didn't get the chance to fook up my teeth by making nasty holes and unnecessary route canals.
More than a year later and I still haven't found another dentist, and to be honest I probably won't until I can change my dental plan to get one that covers my friends dental office(s). But since then do you know how many times my teeth have hurt or bothered me? ZERO