Today we went to the dentist! The last time I went to a dentist we were living in Lompoc, and a filling fell out. That was about 5 years ago! And Brad hadn’t been for around 7 years. We recently found out that Medicaid in South Carolina covers dentistry! So I looked around and found Palmetto Dental http://palmettodentalrockhill.com . They had good reviews and are close to us.
Both Brad and I were a little worried before going, because we didn’t want to call ahead to ask if they were OK with service dogs, and we didn’t want to call ahead and check if they were wheelchair accessible. We want to be treated the same as non-disabled patients. Now neither of us have ever had a problem with a dentist and our disabilities, but we’ve heard lots of stories from others that have.
When we arrived, the receptionist was super nice and got us checked in. He even offered to change the TV channel for us (which was good because waffle donuts were being made on TV, and Brad didn’t want me getting any ideas LOL). I went back first.
The first thing they did was put me in a 360 degree X-ray machine where you stand up. The lead wrap was just like a shawl going around my neck, so Hestia couldn’t fit underneath it. I chose to have Brad hold Hestia while I got this done. Then we went back to start the cleaning and exam.
The dental hygienist was SO NICE! Her name is Ellen, and she is very gentle and respectful. She told me before doing things what she was about to do, which was great for my PTSD. She LOVED Hestia! She told me about her dogs, and we talked a little about service dogs. I felt completely at ease with her. Plus she had a great collection of dental-related art around the room. It was very cute.
Hestia was a little scared at first (this was her first dental appointment) when I started leaning back in the chair and Ellen started putting things in my mouth. She did a little bit of shaking until she saw that I was fine, then she stopped shaking and just hung out sitting or laying down on my lap.
Ellen was super nice and gave me lots of compliments on my teeth. She did a good job of cleaning them, and then it was time for more X-rays. This time we used the traditional X-ray machine. Since I was lying down, and the lead coat went down over my lap, I put Hestia underneath it. Hestia was VERY confused about this! She just had to poke her head out. I figured that was OK.
Ellen said you could tell by her behavior that she was a “real” service dog. Proud mama here!
Then after the X-rays, Ellen went to get Brad so that he could take some pictures of us in the chair. Must have pictures! LOL!
When Dr. Park came in, he was equally as nice and respectful as Ellen. He showed me my X-rays and we talked about which were spots to watch, and which were cavities. Hestia was a little bit weirded out because he had magnifying things on his glasses and a light on them, too! I’m not sure she’s seen someone like that before. I had only two cavities (pretty good for not seeing a dentist for 5 years!). I handed out a few flyers during my visit there, and told everyone about my blog 🙂
Then it was my turn to wait while Brad had his exam. It turns out that they were able to do the cleaning and exam with him in his wheelchair, which looked more comfortable than the dental chairs. Brad also had a glowing report about Ellen and Dr. Park. And they had a glowing report on his teeth– no cavities! Having gone to graduate school in philosophy, he’s a very good floss-opher.
Then it was time to settle the bill and schedule my fillings. We were unable to decipher the medicaid coverage on dentistry online, so we weren’t sure how much everything would cost. It turns out we each had to pay $3.40 for our cleaning and exams! That is a GREAT price! Then I asked how much the fillings would be, so we could save up for them. Turns out medicaid covers extractions and fillings (but nothing more than extractions and fillings) up to $750 a year with a copay of $3.40. We were SO excited to have such affordable care! And such nice and respectful care!
When we got home, I rewarded myself with a bit of chocolate. Yum! Take that agoraphobia not wanting me to leave the house! Not only did I leave the house, but I had an appointment and made a new appointment and talked about money! All with Miss Hestia’s help. She did start licking my arm at one point during the exam, but I didn’t need her licking for long.
Then Brad’s high school friend Rohit called. He and Brad started the philosophy and religion club in high school. Of course Brad went into philosophy, and Rohit went on to study religion. Brad has been helping Rohit apply for positions as a professor. So Rohit called and he got an offer!!!!!! At a great school, too!!!!! And it isn’t too far away from us, so maybe we can go visit him sometime. That news made our day.