I switched dentists recently, from a guy in Revere to a woman in Malden. Before either of them I had a grad student at the BU dental school. I'd returned to East Boston from Maine, where I'd had dental implant work done that totaled $8,000. The cost and the duration -- about a year -- of that work were more painful than the physical discomfort. I went to BU because the prices are lower, and I was assigned a student named Kevin, with whom I had a wonderful rapport over the course of a year or so.
When Kevin graduated I decided to move back into the world of professional dentists, and I looked online and found someone nearby. I was his patient for not quite a year, but I actually saw him for only a brief period of time. He was always rushing in and out of the room, obviously tending to other patients. Even when he had to fill a cavity he did it in a hurry, and I felt as though I had little opportunity to actually talk to him. So recently I decided to find a dentist who moves at a more relaxed pace -- and who actually listens to me.
Maybe this is foolish, but when I am someone's patient, I like that person to talk to me, to know me and -- yes, I have to admit -- to laugh at my jokes. Is that strange? I tend to babble on and to make humorous remarks when on an exam table or in a dentist chair or an optometrist's chair. In fact, my eye doctor and I have a wonderful conversation whenever I see her. I've remained her patient for more than a decade despite her relocating twice, and she was my eye doctor when I lived in Maine for two years.
I want the same from my dentist, and the woman in Malden listens to me and laughs at my often self-deprecating jokes (as I am terrified of the dentist office -- especially the implement I refer to as "the pointy thing" the hygienist uses during cleanings). I'm happy to have found a dentist I feel comfortable with. Some friends laughed when I told them my criteria, but it works for me.