Thursday, March 27, 2014

Day 234 of 365: Bettering Bridges

After a year-long hiatus from any type of dentistry, I've finally set up a new appointment with a new dentist. I had such a wretched experience last year that I was downright terrified of trusting my teeth to anyone else ever again. Last year, I went to the dentist for the first time in probably five years (because it was the first time I had dental insurance). I knew I had at least one cavity and a wisdom tooth that needed to be pulled. I go in and am told I have 8 cavities, bad gums, and, oh yeah, that wisdom tooth. I listened to them, because that's what you're supposed to do with a doctor. After a solid month of dentist visits (and nearly $1000 later...), I have that bothersome wisdom tooth removed and nearly every single molar has a filling in it. I go back 6 months later and...I am told I have 5 cavities.

Now, I'm willing to believe 8 cavities sprung up in 5 years. I'm not willing to believe that I got 5 in six months. I'm not gnawing on sugar canes all day and then not brushing my teeth. I'm young, I brush my teeth, I eat fairly well (especially considering I'm a salty-snack eater and not a sweet-snack eater) and floss roughly every other night (especially after getting 8 cavities filled). I cancel my appointment, decide to do my own research, and realize I was being scammed like you wouldn't believe. I found out that my three "surface cavities" (as they so called it) were most likely not even cavities in the first place. It's a term they coined to milk more money out of patients. I kept looking into them, only to confirm what I already knew: this chain has a long history of telling people they need treatments when they don't. I get my teeth informally checked out and get met with a, "what cavities?"

So, given that I was big on Yelp during those days, I wrote an honest review. I come home from work to find a voicemail on my landline from said dentistry, wanting to make sure that I was happy and to right any wrongs. I don't reply because, frankly, at this point, I am exhausted.

Cut to over a year later. I'm making said appointment with new dentist -- who I chose because he came recommended by someone I trust a lot, someone who isn't afraid to call people out on their bullshit -- and the dental lady tells me that I need to get my old dental file sent to them. Which I am okay with, because they don't want to do x-rays on me if I've already had them within the past year or so, and I appreciate not having a million things done on me to jack up the price. But that also means having to talk to the dental chain again.

I called them up and learned that the only way my files can be released is if I sign a release form. I save that dreaded date until the next time I'm in the area, and, with my resolve as hard as steel, I go on in.

Save for actually being confronted about my review, it couldn't have gone any worse. A clerical error had resulted in my file getting deleted and transferred over to my husband -- who had never even been there. Meanwhile the doctor I wrote a review about walks by, sees me, and whispers something to a hygienist with a look usually saved for two mean girls discussing a dork in class. I can feel my cheeks starting to burn. I just want out of that place, and I'm stuck waiting around while they call up headquarters and try to figure out what went wrong.

I thought to myself, "Maybe I should play nice and apologize and make this hellish experience over with. Even though I was clearly wronged, maybe I should be the bigger man and mend fences and maybe -- just maybe -- I'll stop feeling like I'm two degrees away from spontaneously combusting."

And then an Anna Nalick lyric popped in my head: "Never better bridges that were meant to burn."

Which reminded me of something I saw on Facebook: "They say you should never burn bridges, but sometimes I'm okay with going for a swim if it means not dealing with that asshole again."

I spent a solid chunk of my life giving people way too many chances. I got back with boyfriends that I should never have gotten back with. I gave bosses second, third, fourth, fifth, sixth changes, even when it was obvious to everyone else that I was just a cog in the machine and they really weren't concern with things like burnout. I've given family and friends alike the benefit of the doubt, even when the proper thing to do would have been to call them out on their shenanigans. I spent so long worrying about "burning bridges" that I compromised myself and my livelihood.

Sometimes bridges are meant to be burned. Sometimes you need to stand your ground and refuse to feel bad about calling a person, a corporation, whatever out. And yes, that might mean that certain people don't like you, but that's life. People aren't going to like you sometimes. I spent so much of my life worried about people not liking me, when people would hate on me regardless because of shit as stupid as, "Oh, she's a model. She must think she's so great."

Never better bridges that were meant to burn, because sometimes you're just not meant to go down that path. And sometimes the more circuitous route leads you to exactly where you need to be.

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