A few months ago, I had a pretty bad cavity so I went to my dentist to have it filled. Everything seemed to go well but a few weeks later I started having this weird pain in the area of my sinuses (on the left side of my face). Naturally, I didn't think it could be related to my teeth and I took Motrin and cold medicine for it. This helped at first but over time it became extremely painful and absolutely nothing helped the pain. The pain also started changing locations. It had moved from my sinuses into my upper and lower jaw. I still didn't think it was any of my teeth because I don't have any cavities in that area except for the one I just had filled. But I figured I should make an appointment with my dentist just to make sure. So I tried to make an appointment but they couldn't get me in for two weeks. At this point, I was in horrible pain and it was honestly night and day. I could barely eat or drink anything and I couldn't get any sleep so I was becoming more and more sleep deprived. So I started looking around for an emergency dentist which is pretty hard to find in rural WV, but I found a place that had just opened up not too long ago. It was only an hour from where I live.
This was my first introduction to Aspen Dental, a chain of dental clinics all across the country. I have never been to a dental chain clinic and let me tell you, it was quite the experience. This particular office advertises that they have an emergency service that's open every day until 9:00 PM so I showed up at 5:00 PM and was told they couldn't see me and I would have to come back tomorrow. If they're going to say they're an emergency service then why turn me away when I showed up 4 hours before closing? But I was desperate so I went home and suffered through yet another night of agony and went back the next day.
At this point, all I care about is getting x-rays and finding out what the heck is wrong with me. Do I have another cavity that my regular dentist somehow missed? Did something go wrong with my filling? But all they cared about was money. So there I was, in excruciating pain, trying my best not to cry, and they're trying to sell me some stupid toothbrush that's $135 and sign me up to come back a week later for some special cleanings. Are you kidding me? I understand they want to make money but there is a time and a place for that kind of thing and it isn't when someone is hurting and in need of help.
Finally, I got to see their dentist who explained that the cavity my other dentist filled was too deep. The filling has been pressing on the nerve and the nerve is extremely irritated. It would either have to be given a root canal treatment or be pulled. Unfortunately, I can't afford a root canal treatment so I decided to have it pulled.
They wouldn't do it that day so I had to come back 2 days later. But before I left they insisted on printing out a list of all the recommended treatments they think I should do. Keep in mind, I'm still in horrible pain. I don't have the money to pay for a lot of unnecessary dental treatment so they tried to get me to sign up for some credit cards too.
I went back to get my tooth pulled and the dentist did a good job. My pain is gone and life has gone back to normal. But Aspen Dental is clearly overly focused on money and needs to be more concerned about patient care. If you work at a dental clinic and someone is sitting in front of you in pain and about to cry and you're just trying to sell them junk they don't need, I think something is seriously wrong with that picture.
But now that that ordeal is over, I'll be happy to return to my regular dentist who actually treats patients like human beings.