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The Broken Tooth and the Disappearing Dentist
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Old 02-22-2021, 04:35 PM
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Ghel Ghel is offline
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Default The Broken Tooth and the Disappearing Dentist

I'm going to start this story about a year ago, near the beginning of the pandemic. I broke a tooth (last one on the top right). I called my dentist, and the receptionist told me that, because of the pandemic, they were only doing emergency dentistry. Did the tooth hurt? No. She said she would add me to a list to call as soon as they were doing appointments again.

The hole in my tooth didn't really bother me except when I got food stuck in it, so I just dealt with it. Until today, when a different tooth cracked (upper left side). This one has a much bigger hole in it. It doesn't hurt, but it has a kind of sharp edge that rubs against my tongue.

So I tried to call my dentist. TRIED. The phone number has been disconnected. I actually googled him to see if he died. He's an old man. If he'd retired, you'd think they'd have sent me a letter or something. I'd almost rather think that he died than that he retired without letting his patients know.

I asked a coworker who uses the company's dental insurance who she uses and called them. They were really nice about it, but they don't have an appointment for 2 months. I'll have to get some temporary filling and deal with it as best I can until then.

While the receptionist was getting my info, we had this conversation:

Me: It seems my previous dentist has retired. His phone's disconnected.
Her: Oh, was it <name>?
Me: Yeah. It would have been nice if he'd sent me a letter or something.
Her: We've been getting that from a lot of people.

He wasn't the greatest dentist, but he was ok and he accepted my insurance. Now I have to start over with no access to my old dental records.
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Old 02-22-2021, 07:11 PM
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Y'know, federal law requires that you have access to your medical records. If he's no longer in business one way or another, someone should still have your records.
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  #3  
Old 02-22-2021, 08:18 PM
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But who? And how would I get hold of them? The best I could do would be to send a letter to the office and hope someone checks the mail (seems unlikely).

I'm far more upset that they closed up shop without informing me, especially after the receptionist said she'd give me a call when they could fill my first broken tooth.
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"I look at the stars. It's a clear night and the Milky Way seems so near. That's where I'll be going soon. "We are all star stuff." I suddenly remember Delenn's line from Joe's script. Not a bad prospect. I am not afraid. In the meantime, let me close my eyes and sense the beauty around me. And take that breath under the dark sky full of stars. Breathe in. Breathe out. That's all."
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Old 02-23-2021, 01:42 AM
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I have only changed dentists four times. None of the dentists have asked for records. They just took X-rays and looked inside. Unless the new dentist asked for them, I would say that chasing the old records is a waist of time.
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Old 02-23-2021, 11:47 AM
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I have changed dentists several times over the years and not once has a new dentist asked for records. The only time I wished I'd gotten my dental records was when a new dentist tried to say that I needed work that the previous dentists had already completed. I went to yet a different dentist at that time for a second opinion and he said that he couldn't figure out why the other one said I needed work that was clearly done and one well. Needless to say I stuck with the the new new dentist until I moved yet again.

I know for medical records I don't get asked for them anymore when I go to a new doctor, but this is because everything is filed electronically and everybody in the health system has access to it. I can go to a walk-in clinic where I've never been before and they can pull up my medical records there without any issues.
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