Based upon a referral from my dentist's office, I arranged to see a dental student who was attending school in San Antonio. According to the dentist's office, the student had stated that dental treatment at the school was free. I called and made an appointment with the dental student for treatment.
I would travel over 20 miles, passing through areas of town that looked like skid row, only to arrive at the dental school to find out I was not on the list of appointments for that day. Despite this, I would be examined by the student. After being seen, I was given a bill that came to about the same amount as I was paying to my private dentist. I was very angry. I made an appointment to travel round trip from Austin to San Antonio and did not save money.
When I returned home, I spoke to the individual who had referred me. There reply was that the student told them it was free. That was some experience.
Kathleen's Reply: Thanks for your story - This is a lesson for others to learn by. First: Always confirm appointments, especially when traveling a far distance. Second: Confirm directly with the student dentist any fees prior to receiving treatment. In your instance, you took the word or someone else, never confirming the amount of your out-of-pocket expense.
As for not being on the appointment list, some dental schools may not be as organized as others when it comes to handling large volumes of patients. Always call to confirm an appointment, making a note of the person you speak to. If a dental clinic phone goes unanswered, call the main number and ask to speak with a Clinic Manager, Director or the Dean of Clinics. So if any dental problems were to arise - no one can easily lay blame with you.
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