I know some really greasy dentists
The constant drive to do more work, do more work, do faster fillings
I just don’t trust dentists man I’m sorry. I wrote that back in June after my first Covid-era return to the chair and it remains true. In that piece I also included a bunch of people explaining how they always think their own dentist is bullshitting them about all the procedures they need to have done every time they go in.
Like so if you don’t recall:
I once went to the dentist and was told I had twelve cavities that needed filling. I went to a different dentist who told me it was actually just two.
I haven’t been to a dentist since 2010 because the first dentist told me I had four cavities and I went to a second because he didn't take my insurance and she was like “you have zero, I know that dude he does this all the time.”
It is so fucking wild to me that dentists will fabricate procedures to get money out of you and our main insurance policy against getting hosed is to get a second opinion.
Last month in light of Biden’s proposal to expand dental coverage under Medicare I wrote again about how fake dental insurance is in this piece here.
And of course there was this fucking huge bummer of a piece from a while back about people’s dental care nightmares.
Right now where we stand it does not appear that expanded dental (or vision or hearing) coverage under Medicare is going to make it through Biden’s bill thanks to Manchin and Sinema and the efforts of the American Dental Association a fiendishly well-funded industry lobbying group who are doing everything in their power to spike it. Guess old people can just go fuck themselves.
(Paid family leave — which I wrote about here recently — also looks like it’s fucked and is going to be whittled down to about four weeks now at best.)
One thing that has been floated as a potential compromise on dental in lieu of expanded coverage is an $800 voucher for care (lol) which is about enough to get one half of one tooth fixed a year. Who says this country never took care of its people?
All of this despite these modest social spending proposals remaining very popular amongst voters.
“The expansion of Medicare to cover dental, hearing & vision is supported by 84% of the public,” Bernie Sanders said recently. “It’s what the American people want and, after waiting over 50 years, what they are going to get.”
Maybe!? Nancy Pelosi doesn’t seem to be quite as bullish.
“Over the weekend, Pelosi acknowledged that Democrats are considering whether to cleave off the most expensive of the three Medicare services, dental care, in order to cut the cost,” CNBC reported.
“Dental is very expensive,” she told CNN.
Ok but compared to fucking what?
None of this reluctance makes any sense unless you assume the most obvious answer which is that a handful of senators are being literally bribed to stymie any progress.
Every time I post about dental shit like all those pieces above I get a dentist or two who writes to me defending their industry and saying they’re not all bad etc etc. So I decided to talk to one for today. Our dentist here is relatively new in his career and works for a corporate dental chain in New England. He asked not to use his name for fear of getting in trouble at work which is something he can’t afford to risk since he still has $500,000 in student loans to pay off. We talked about dental chains and the financial pressures of the job and whether or not dentists are all money grubbing scumbags. You can read it below but first a couple other things.
I know people say things like “You couldn’t write this shit it wouldn’t be believable” all the time but I would nonetheless like to say at this moment: “You couldn’t write this shit it wouldn’t be believable.”
Ok here’s me and the dentist.
My first question is this: Are you evil?
No… I try not to be. I try to be a good guy. I do work for corporate dentistry right now, so… I guess there is that element to it. But I try to resist their efforts as much as possible. I try to treat other people how I would want to be treated. I was raised as a good old Catholic boy, so that’s one part that still sticks with me.
I’m half kidding, but… When you wrote to me at first you said you realize you’re public enemy number one for a lot of people. Why do you think that is?
There’s a lot going on there. A lot of older patients tell me back in the seventies they weren’t really using anaesthesia. You'd get some nitrous and the dentist would be a pretty heavy handed old dude who probably didn’t treat you too kindly. So there’s a lot of that fear. The sounds. Having a dude’s hand in your mouth. It makes people very uncomfortable and probably brings back a lot of childhood memories. Then there’s also the cost, which is always shitty, and the dental insurance which is also always shitty. I was just talking to my front desk employees and they were saying dentistry as a system has never been overhauled. It doesn’t work like any other medical industry. The insurance doesn’t work like any other medical insurance. It’s a mess. And of course the ADA is fighting it tooth and nail.
They’re fighting any reform?
Oh yeah. I get emails all the time from them saying we can’t let this Medicare update pass to include dentistry. It’s not right. It’s like, what are you talking about? We have to do something for people.
That’s something I was going to ask you about. In Biden’s plan they’re trying to expand dental coverage under Medicare, and the ADA, they’re one of the better funded lobbying groups working against it.
They’re more funded than like any medical group. I guess because dentistry is still a private industry. It’s not federally funded like hospitals or anything like that. So all the richer dentists have more of an impetus to want to keep the system exactly as it is so they can keep raking in the money. That’s one of the questions I have. When dentistry does get reformed, am I going to be a dentist working in some hospital system, you know, when you come in for your physical I give you a look over as well? We were just trying to brainstorm. What countries do have dental care set up better than America? Some European ones I’m not aware of?
I did a piece recently where people talked about getting medical and dental care in other countries, going in and getting seen right away, being really cheap. I think however that even in a lot of countries with much better medical care, dental and medical are still considered different things.
I just had a guy come in and tell me he gets all his dental care in Costa Rica. It’s so cheap and easy. I was looking, and I said it might be cheap and easy, but you’ve got $5,000 of work that’s all going to need to get redone. He said, ok, well, I’ll go back to Costa Rica.
That’s another thing though. I did another piece where people talked about how they always think their dentists are bullshitting them.
Oh yeah, there’s certainly a lot of that. It’s just like any industry. You put a lot of people in a class and you teach them all the same things. At the end of the day a bunch of people are going to get different stuff out of that. Some are going to be conservative. Some will just be out to get money….I know some really greasy dentists. It’s like what the hell are you doing here? It’s really weird to come through school with all these guys, and see what some of my friends are doing.
Some of them are behaving unethically?