Rant: Why am I paying for a flat-screen TV at a dentist office?

Like most people, heading to the dentist is never on the top of my priority list. They are going to tell me that despite my best efforts my notoriously porous chompers will require me to empty my pockets and endure a morning of drilling and an afternoon of a numb face. When a sore tooth caused me to canvas Denver for a dentist with an immediate opening, I took the first appointment I could get. The office was beautiful. The modern design with a calming blue and green interior initially made me wonder if I wouldn’t hate this experience.

I parked myself in the chair awaiting my certain destiny of pain and numbness; the hygienist yanked down a mobile television with access to an unending selection of onDemand TV shows. I saw some favorites (Mad Men, Grey’s Anatomy, Cake Boss) pass by before the dentist says from behind the wall, “Let’s watch Married with Children. Yep, that’s what we should watch.”

Don’t get me wrong, a little Al Bundy in your life is fine, but the dysfunctional family isn’t the one I want my peepers forcefully glued to. It doesn’t help when the dentist is cackling with the hygienist over the lowbrow humor at the same time he is drilling around my tooth. Talk about being the third wheel. With the filling wrapped up, the dentist tells me I’m in desperate need of a handful of crowns and I should really buy his $30 toothpaste to tide me over. When his hygienist shows me to a closed-door office with large flat-screen TV to show me my bill, it clicks. All of this is what my astronomical bill pays for.

Rave: Maybe going to the dentist isn’t such a bad thing.

When it came time for my six-month check, I switched dentists. I thumbed through the 5280 Top Dentists package to choose my next torturer. I found one on the list and decided to give him a shot. As I walked up to Dr. Chad Braun‘s 4th Avenue Family Dentistry office in Cherry Creek North, I was curious just what kind of damage my wallet would take after the last dentist’s strong recommendations.

The modest office was comfortable. I wasn’t afraid to mess up the design scheme when I picked up a magazine. Back in the exam room, the hygienist was perfectly chatty, but not talking and expecting an answer when she was checking my teeth.

Dr. Braun came in for the check and before he even looked at my teeth, he wanted to know a little about me, what my summer plans were, and if I had any questions for him. I peppered him with teeth questions that have lingered since the last dentist visit. He answered all of them, then gave me recommendations of what his office could do or referrals to others. Did I mention I was his last patient of the day? With the all-clear (no crowns needed), I made my next six-month appointment before I left the office. That’s a first. Dr. Braun made this dentist-phobe feel at ease.

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