Bobbing for Floss

October 20, 2006

When we were younger all the books we read were in the realm of the Bobbsey Twins or the Hardy Boys. My sister got to read Nancy Drew but I was stuck with Freddie and Flossie or Frank and Joe. I’m not complaining about juvenile detective mysteries, I’m actually complaining about the dentist.

For a while I was doing some work for Tweeter and the firm that placed me there offered dental insurance. It was a great perk and the best part was that it became available right away. So, the moment I realized I was eligible I called the dentist and set up a bunch of appointments. I was going to have a cleaning, maybe get a crown or post (or some such dental term) put in where a back tooth had cracked.

I even was thinking of going with Invisalign to straighten out some of my teeth. Let’s NOT talk about Dr. McCabe and his inability to make me wear a retainer back in the late 1970s.

So the receptionist and I set everything up and then I give her my dental insurance info. And she responds in just the way I should have envisioned – “Oh, I’m not sure we take that.”

What the heck!? The insurance I had, and I cover that in a minute, was Delta Dental. As the actor in Monty Python says in the Cheese Shop skit about cheddar (i.e. It’s the single most popular cheese in the world!), I felt the same way about Delta. Their name is plastered everywhere, they run billions of ads and they are actually accepted at nearly every dentist on the planet. But not mine.

I should have known. Back when I first joined this dentist it was because they had dropped off some toothbrushes at the office where I worked. They invited employees in for a free evaluation and were gung ho about getting new clients.

As you might think, a company researches the insurance plans at the places where they’re trolling for new teeth to clean or repair. This dentist did that, BUT THEY KNEW THAT THEY DIDN’T HONOR OUR INSURANCE.

So when I signed up for my first visit I didn’t have any worries about my cleaning being covered. Then I got hit with the $70 bill. When I asked about it they said that they didn’t accept MetLife Dental. And yes, they knew that was the dental plan at my office. And no, they didn’t think it was important to tell people who came in. And yes, they would take a check or even a credit card.

It’s now been five years and I’ve stayed with the dentist because he’s really good and the hygenists are kind, gentle and very attractive. The gentle part is most important because even the hottest hygenist in the world is going to look pretty heinous through a mist of gum blood and tears.

Which brings me to flossing. Since I’m off of dentists for a little bit I’ve had to floss more frequently. This means my mirror in the bathroom looks like it was in a spitball war and there are long strings of floss lining the inside of the trash bucket next to the toilet.

To avoid this mess – and to ensure that I keep my gums healthy – I’ve started flossing in the shower. It’s like standing inside a big WaterPik and there’s no danger of flinging a piece of chicken or a sesame seed into your hair for the day. The trick is to floss first and then do my washing.

This has made my teeth happier, it’s kept my bathroom looking like a bachelor’s bathroom (OK, at least the mirror is clean) and it’s lessened my fear that the next visit to the dentist will be a bloodbath.

Oh. Yeah. I let the dental insurance expire. I might not be a detective, but it doesn’t take the Bobbsey Twins to figure out that flossing is a good idea and it’s stupid to pay for an insurance plan on top of the dental fee.

More to come…