Tuesday, May 21, 2013

My Dental Care Experience at the UCLA School of Dentistry

Dr. Erica Gomez and her smiling patient


UCLA School of Dentistry 
Los Angeles, CA—I just completed my treatment at the prestigious UCLA School of Dentistry.   I chose this facility for really good reasons.  I had no dental insurance dropping it because it seemed worthless with regular dentists.  More importantly this school has it’s own dental lab, great professors and their gifted students.
There are no shortcuts or substandard materials used here.  The students are doing their absolute best under the watchful eyes of the professors.  Often the student will have a peer watching the procedure and that must bring out the competitive spirit of anyone.  When you think about it who watching the street dentists?  Where do they get their materials and dental lab work?  
Going to the dentist is never pleasant unless it’s an examination with no work required.  Even that brings apprehension.  When you think about filling cavities, getting deep cleanings or root canals or extractions, one word comes to mind, pain.  Nobody likes pain and when it’s over you’ve got to pay the bill.  That brings even more pain.
My dental student, Erica Gomez is an adorable young woman working to make her parents proud by her herculean accomplishment.   She was as gentle and careful as she could possibly be.  Erica was as good as it gets.  For me its was a positive experience despite my fear and loathing along with the seeming endless sound of the dental drill.
In less that a month Erica Gomez will become Dr. Gomez.  She can count on being unleashed during a miserable economy being saddled with huge student loans.  In addition to being a dentist she will be dealing with a paperwork blizzard of insurance forms.   No matter what her life will be a lot of things but easy really won’t be a part of that. 
Dr. Gomez will be helping people in many ways.  Dental health is also directly tied to physical health.  Your employment and station in life is also directly tied to your smile.  The cosmetic factor of dentistry is directly connected to your emotional health.
Dr. Gomez may be young but she’s got the latest and greatest dental education behind her now.   This young woman made a difference in my life that I won’t forget.
As for becoming a patient at this or other dental schools requires a screening and approval by the faculty.   The process is sometimes painfully slow because of too many patients and too few faculty members.  The end result here at UCLA was worth the wait and the fees charged.  The cost was at least 50% to 70% less than I would have paid anywhere else.
Even if you have to commute a serious distance to get your care at UCLA School of Dentistry it is worth it.

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

Paul, You loooook marvelous, but, I'm not sure Dr. Gomez is going to recover anytime soon from that bear hug.... They won't recognize you at 300 N. State.

Anonymous said...

I hate going to the dentist. When I was a lad of about 12, I was sent to the dentist alone with a $20 bill in my pocket. I had a tooth drilled with no anesthesia which made me fearful of the dentist for life. When I was done, I asked the dentist what I owed. He asked how much I had. I replied $20, and he said that will be $20. That was a long time ago but not every dentist is as gentle and nice as your Dr. Gomez.

pdxr13 said...

+1 on dental school students as great!

I would add OHSU Dental School in Portland Oregon and University of Washington Dental School in Seattle as very good teaching facilities to get work done at. They love peering in my 45 year old mouth with 32 teeth, about half with gold crowns (from dental school). They never fail to comment on a 3/4 gold crown on tooth #1. That's a long way back there.

Mom always said "They can't tell what kind of car you arrived in, but they will look at your shoes and your teeth, so smile when you talk."
I've sold cars to get teeth fixed. I've still got the teeth, and they don't need smog, reg. or ins.

If you have good dental insurance coverage, dental schools work is almost at no cost, even for gold. If you pay cash, it's never more than 1/2 the cost of a commercial dentist in the US, and often cheaper than non-US trained Mexican dentists. If you have the time, quality of care is what very wealthy people get, often supervised by dentists at the top of their practice who will not accept new patients for private-practice (and charge plenty to their current crop of cash-paying happy patients).

Modern dentistry has at most the amount of pain that you will get picking a rose. A little pinch, a lot of tedium, some temperature sensitivity on new crowns (hot coffee, then ice cream- yeaow!) is the worst. Digital X-rays have speeded things up a lot, and let a dentist see more and get perfect views for confirmation of good work. X-ray patient exposure is lower every year due to improving sensors and film.

Having teeth is good! Having teeth that don't hurt is even better.

Cheers.

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