I have a good friend who recently had a very challenging experience with her longtime dentist. She has been in the practice since she was a child and has always trusted him – loved him, in fact.

To make a long story short, she had a tooth prepped for a crown after a cusp broke off. The tooth became very sensitive after the prep and she asked me about it. The symptoms pointed to an irreversible pulpitis, and I suggested she call her dentist immediately and tell him. Her dentist dismissed her signs and symptoms and sent her home. The pain persisted to the point that I finally sent her to an endodontist for an evaluation and he ultimately did the endodontic procedure.

She lost trust with this longtime dentist because he didn't listen. She didn't feel heard and her concern was not addressed. Pretty easy to figure out.

Here is the point of this story. She decided to let him cement the crown since she had already paid for it. She texted me while she was in the office and said, “I just saw his invoice for the crown, it's only $105. Is it going to fall apart in my mouth? I would think a crown would have cost more than $105. I spend more than that for a hair appointment or on a pair of jeans ... much more! Even a mani-pedi is $100, LOL.”

She was laughing, sort of...

Wow, do you think this woman gets it? She is questioning the value of the work that is being done in her mouth and she thinks that something that is going to be a permanent part of her body should cost the dentist more than what she pays for a pair of jeans. She never said, “You only paid $105 and you charged me $1,200!” She is afraid that she isn't getting quality that she thinks is needed for her own health and well-being. My friend gets it!

I think we sometimes underestimate how smart our patients can be.