To the Editor:
Recently I was subjected to a bizarre small-minded humiliation that could only happen in a small town.
As my dentist had retired, I made an appointment at a new clinic and duly showed up for a cleaning and checkup. All went well until the battery of X-rays, which I was reluctant to take, although two were done, which the clinician felt necessary.
After the teeth cleaning, the dentist came for an examination and recommended two procedures; one was a minor flaw that had happened during an extraction 40 years previous, another a polishing of a tooth cap, which my previous dentist had installed. I told my new dentist that I felt that this was not necessary, but agreed on a further check, for which I made an appointment.
On my way out, paying the receptionist, she noticed that I did not have dental insurance, and deducted my bill by one-fifth.
Imagine my not small amazement the next day when I received a letter that read, in part, “It is evident that our philosophies of dental care differ too much. … We will not be accepting you as a patient. … Any future appointments … have been cancelled.”
I have never had such a disrespectful experience in my life and can only deduce that in no small way, the reason was essentially that I, as a patient, was not a sufficient revenue generator for the small-minded, avaricious practitioner.
As in the case in the kingdom of the blind where the one-eyed man is king, in a town where dental service is limited, it seems that a small minded, greedy practitioner can cherry-pick his patients to generate the maximum profits instead of providing so-called normally required dental care.
Under normal conditions, the public health system, of which the practice of dentistry is a responsible part, exists to serve the public, and is suitably rewarded. In this case, the public, it seems, must be a cash cow at the whim of the indifferent provider. Otherwise, why bother?