bggggggg6hhhhhhhhhhhhh7ybnh666666tPlease bear with me - I know this report is long but I wanted people to hear about my entire experience at this place.
I visited Western Dental Centers out of pure desperation -- against the advice of nearly everybody I spoke to about them. I had an impossible tooth-ache and there was nowhere else for me to go as I don't have any kind of insurance.
I had originally planned on having the tooth pulled but the lady who spoke to me about my x-rays convinced me that I could make payments after using my credit card to make a sizable down-payment.
I reluctanlty agreed to having a root canal but then changed my mind when the dentist came to give me the novacaine shot. I told the dentist I wanted to change my mind and just have the tooth pulled as I really could not afford the payments. But the dentist just told me that they weren't sure they could save my tooth anyway and that if I had it pulled that it would just cause complications for the teeth around it. So I should just let them try to save the tooth. From the tone of her voice and way she was talking, I felt that there was no way they were going to let me change my mind.
At that point, if I wasn't in such horrible pain and so desperate to get the tooth taken care of, I would have just walked out of the place. But, I reasoned that it would be better this way and I could find a way of making the payments so I just went along with it.
So I sat there in the chair and waited.. and waited... and waited. Finally the first dentist came back and told me that she was waiting for her dental assistant to arrive. Several long minutes later, a different dentist started to work on my tooth (without a dental assistant).
Later on I saw the first dentist just sitting around while the other dentist was running ragged trying to take care of all of the patients. Meanwhile, I find myself just sitting at times waiting for the dentist as he goes to check on other patients. During this time I am listening to a couple of the dental assistants arguing about who is supposed to do what and that they are not supposed to be doing somebody elses job. Not a pleasant situation at all.
Finally, my tooth is finished and I am relieved to finally be pain free.
Two weeks later I go back for my permanent crown. After waiting for what seems like an eternity in the waiting room, I am taken back to get my crown put in.
As I am waiting in the dental chair, I get the priviledge of listening to the two dentists arguing about what to do for another patient (either she wanted her tooth pulled or didn't want it pulled or something but the dentist wanted to do something different - all I truly remember is that the lady finally walked out of the place).
I was also treated to listening to more arguments between the dental assistants and hearing an unsettling conversation between two dental assistants as one told the other about how they were going to have to save on latex gloves by not changing them so often. Instead they were supposed to put some other gloves on over their latex gloves when then left the patient to do something or other back at this sink area then take the overgloves off when they were done.
One of the assistants said, "We all use the same gloves?" and the other assistant said yes - that everybody used the same 'overgloves'. I thought to myself, wait a minute, how many germs are going to collect inside those overgloves??!! But I didn't say anything because I was nearly finished and I had no intention of ever going back to that place.
Believe me, I was grateful to get my crown and get out of there!
For the first year, everything seemed fine. I noticed that the tooth 'felt funny' but nothing seemed wrong until the entire top of the tooth broke off!! Now this is not a case of the crown coming off - the tooth broke! The crown popped off with the filling material inside of it.
That was when I noticed that there was no post! The dentist did not put a post in to anchor the filling material - instead, he just built up the filling then put the crown over it. Without the post anchoring the tooth, it just broke apart. I should point out that the original tooth was badly broken and there was no way there could have been enough of the original tooth left for the dentist to even think about not using a post.
At that point, my first thought was to call Western Dental Centers and make them fix the tooth. But then I started thinking about that place and how uncomfortable it was --not to mention the unsettling thought of the germs being spread by the unsanitary practice of not changing the latex gloves. Honestly, I don't ever want to step foot back into that place again no matter how desperate I am.
Finally, I decided to just use temporary filling material that comes with those emergency dental kits sold in drug stores to try and hold the tooth together. So far it seems to be working but I have no way of knowing how long it will hold. I guess I just have to keep glueing it together as needed.
I have considered legal action but the contract that Western Dental Centers makes the patients sign states that the patient agrees to go to arbitration (a lot of good that will do me).
So, the bottom line is, I have spent over $1000 on a botched root canal and still owe just over $400. In other words, I have been ripped off for over $1400 and I basically have no recourse except to go back to that miserable place or just learn to live with it.
I guess I'll just learn to live with it.
San Bernardino, California