Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Coast Dental

Our dental plans just changed at work recently. My company offered a completely free, company-paid dental plan during our last dental plan choices and our most recent dental plan choices. This time and last time I chose this free, company-paid option because it was pretty much just as good as the ones I'd have to pay for out of pocket. The only difference is the last free plan was a DMO, and this time the free plan is a PPO. Wow, this is getting confusing and super boring already, so let me offer you a bulleted list to ease your confusion and pepper in some excitement:

  • Our free, company-paid dental plan from a few months ago - DMO!!!!!!
  • Our free, company-paid dental plan that is currently offered - PPO!!!!!!!

This doesn't seem like much of a difference if you don't know a lot about DMO plans vs. PPO plans, but I assure you, it's QUITE different indeed. With my previous DMO plan, a terrible dental facility (in which the dentist has barely graduated dental school and maybe knows a little more about teeth than I do) gets assigned to you.

I think it's like when people barely graduate hair school, so they go work at that "Blow Bar" chain where all they do is blow dry hair all day long because haircuts and hair coloring are too lofty of a goal. At least, I think that's what their shtick is all about at "Blow Bar". I don't know for sure because I can generally manage to dry my hair by myself without the aid of someone meagerly skilled - and also, the air, in general, does a pretty fine job of that. Probably not the best name. The point is that the people working there most likely aren't very good at their job.

Getting back to the dentist thing; you don't have much say in the matter in terms of the dental facility you get assigned to. I was assigned to a Coast Dental close to my condo. I've seen many Coast Dental offices around (mostly inland - that's a hilarious joke), so I knew it wasn't any type of luxurious, one-off dental facility, but beggars can't be choosers, right? I'm not paying a thing, so if you're gonna clean my teeth for free, ok, let's do this. Also, the reviews online said cute things like "they pulled my teeth out unnecessarily", "run for the hills", "this is the Walmart of dentists", "I think I was roofied", etc.

During my first appointment, I was told they would do my x-rays and an exam and that I would then have to schedule my teeth cleaning separately. I said I would like them "all together please", and the woman assured me their dental staff couldn't handle ALL of these complicated dentals tasks on the same day without a good night's sleep in between. After looking around, I thought "yeah, that sounds about right", so I scheduled my cleaning for the next day after gagging through my x-rays (yeah, that's an adorable thing I do). She then told me that I could actually come back in three hours for my teeth cleaning if I wanted - as if she was pulling some strings specifically for me. Three hours? Nice try Mrs. Migillicuddy. I have to get to work. Tomorrow it is.

When I arrived the next day for my teeth cleaning, I was in and out of there in like 20 minutes flat. No joke. The dental hygienist glanced casually at my teeth with measured interest (like one might when trying to determine if the pile of debris on the side of the road is a garbage bag or a body), waved a magic wand in my mouth's general direction, chanted some mantra under her breath, and then I was sent on my way.

Seriously though, that's pretty much what happened. I'm still used to the days where dental hygienists really scrape at your teeth and you leave bleeding - like you've been licking an iron skillet for an hour. Instead of "scraping", the dental hygienist educated me by explaining that if she holds this new fandangled contraption somewhat close to my teeth in a super lackluster manner while simultaneously using her other hand to smoke a cigarette or whatever the case may be, the wand is so powerful that my teeth magically become clean. Ok, cool - I'm not skeptical at all.

Needless to say, I was pumped when our free dental plan option changed to a PPO. I was able to choose my own, fancy dentist now! And choose it I did! And fancy it was! I no longer had to go to a non-updated dental office that looked exactly like one Kevin Arnold may have visited on "The Wonder Years".

When I just got my teeth cleaned at my new place, they did the x-rays, exam, and teeth cleaning all in one appointment. And, they had things like iPads, mouth wash, skilled dental staff, etc. I felt like my teeth actually got cleaned. It was a delight! They were sure to mention that it looked like my teeth hadn't been cleaned very well during my last teeth cleaning. I nodded emphatically, told them I had gone to a Coast Dental and explained about the wand thing. They understood. There was really no need to expound on anything else after that.

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