Dear PFM, Can you tell me something? WHY DON’T YOU ANSWER YOU ER LINE?

I guess I could start this post almost like a Dear Abby but put the Dear PFM.. What should I do?  My dentist did not answer his ER phone line in our time of need? Perhaps we can all learn through this person’s challenge..

Dear Pittsburgh Frugal Mom:

I don’t know about you Pittsburgh Frugal Mom,  but since I have had kids there seems to be a never-ending need for runs to the emergency room or doctors office because someone is always sick, hurt, etc.  I honestly can’t believe how many times I have had to call a Dr. at their current ages almost more than when they were infants.  We only have switched Pediatricians once in 13 years because our Pediatricians split up then, but I can tell you our Dr.’s and their staff are TOP NOTCH!

I love that if you need something you can call right into the Dr. office and get help, or a return call right away, especially when things have happened!  We have had broken toes, legs, arms, ribs, concussions, strept, rashes, and more and that just names a few and our Dr. Is just a phone call away, however one things we can not seem to get under control is a dentist.

We moved just a few years ago and when we moved, I changed dentists, purely logistical reasoning, it could have been one of the best things I did.  We moved and got a new dentist, he was ridiculously priced because we were paying for his single serve coffee machine, bottled water refrigerator, iPods and televisions in everyone room and 35 magazine subscriptions.  After being wildy over-charged for basic teeth cleaning and then the fact that he made a 5 year old get fillings(4) truly made me stop and say “NO MORE”   We returned to our dentist, for what has been less than a warm-homecoming.

We have had 2 needs for an emergency phone call to him in 3 years and on every count he has FAILED to return the calls even close to promptly.  My one son had something happen to his tooth and it was suddenly GONE out of his mouth, I called and never heard back for over 5 hours, I was trying to be patient and wait it out, but this was ridiculous and in the middle of it I gave up on waiting and called the Pediatrician who once again came to our rescue.  With the tooth problem solved I called back to the ER line at the dentist and clearly stated HOW RIDICULOUS it was that we could not get a return call.

This past weekend my one son, tripped, fell and broke his front permanent tooth ~ much to my chagrin I had to make that call again to the dentist ! I called at 4p to the dedicated emergency line with what was an emergency, a fat lip cut by a tooth that was almost gone and that tooth was permanent.  With a 12 year old in massive pain, blood everywhere and a bit of chaos, I waited, after 30 minutes, I called the pediatrician whom within minutes returned the call and said head to the ER.  This was the first time we did not listen to the Pediatrician because we knew there was nothing the hospital could do.  We even had asked the pediatrician what he thought they would do and he said he had no idea. We called a dental hygienist friend, who was more than happy to help and even spoke to the dentist she works for. We sent a iPhone picture over to her.  We were lucky to have someone who could help. Naturally upset from all the on goings I really thought that our dentist would call back he never did.

We never heard from the dentist and I called again the next morning.  I ABSOLUTELY called and told the receptionist we never heard from anyone on the ER line and no apology, no explanation, just ‘so did you need to come in’ .

I am just curious, why have an ER line if you are not going to answer? It does not matter that we went and got it fixed the next day or that they took us in, it matters that again, in our time of need the dentist or whoever tends to the ER line let us down.  My question, ‘WHY DON’T YOU ANSWER YOU ER LINE?”  I honestly have never heard of anything like this and it is disappointing. I spoke to several of my friends and a few other hygienists at other places, they said this is not how dental emergencies work.   Was it right that the dentist never called us back? What is the purpose of an emergency line if no one is going to answer.  If I might ask, ‘Dentist, Why don’t you answer your ER Line”

I would love to know if your readers have heard of anything like this? What would they do?  Thanks Pittsburgh Frugal Mom.


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