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The smile bites back

Image
Showing off the pearly yellows?

I took that photo of my teeth a couple seconds before beginning this blog entry.

Not bad, right?

I hope not. I had braces as a kid; I brush and floss every day; I use Crest Whitening Strips—the whole shebang.

But listen to this…

I just had a dentist appointment with Dr. A. (This was my first - and last - appointment with Dr. A.) At the very end of it, the guy looked me right in the eye and said, “I’d recommend tooth whitening. You have some yellow in the bottom region.”

I was floored. For a couple of reasons.

First, the obvious ones:

-I don’t need tooth whitening. My teeth aren’t yellow. They’re white.

-Even if my teeth were yellow, it’s not a dentist’s job to push zoom; it’s a dentist’s job to make teeth healthy.

(That’s why I scheduled the appointment—I made that much clear on the phone.)

But the main reason I was floored, the thing that most upset me about Dr. A’s recommendation was this: The guy is shamelessly banking on his patients’ insecurities that he himself develops.

When I walked into the office, I had to fill out a form filled with questions like, “Are you satisfied with the color of your smile?” and, “If you had a magic wand and could change one thing about your teeth…?”

I swear to God there was a “magic wand” question.

And then, after my x-rays, I had to fill out another form that asked, essentially, the same questions. The form had statements like, “I am satisfied with the color of my teeth,” and places to circle numbers indicating how strongly I agreed with the statements.

The purpose of these forms, I realized, was to make me insecure and vulnerable… like when evangelists ask me “When you die, do you think you’re going to go to heaven or hell?” before telling me to accept Christ as my savior.

But it didn’t work; I circled all the 10s, indicating that I was as satisfied as I could be with the appearance, shape and color of my teeth.

You’d think Dr. A. would have a policy in place, like, “If a patient circles all 10s, on the form, don’t try to sell him Zoom.”

But no. He called my teeth “yellow” nonetheless.

I called him out on it, and he didn’t defend his recommendation. He didn’t even seem offended that I questioned it. He just got quiet.

So I’m guessing 1) no patient has stood up to him before, 2) he’s not all that thrilled about having to push Zoom so egregiously to pay the bills in the first place.

I hope that Dr. A. visits the ENT to complain about a ringing in his ears… and walks away with a rhinoplasty recommendation.

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