The Most Important Things I’ve Learned Working at a Dental Office


  1. Know what type of insurance you have and the details of your plan.
    I can not stress this enough. Do you have a co-pay? A deductible? What is the maximum or does your plan follow a fee schedule? What is the percentage breakdown? Does your plan have a waiting period? Does it have a missing tooth clause? What is the frequency limitation for FMX, PAN, Bitewing, PA xrays? Does your emergency exam share frequency with your regular dental exams? How many times (if any) can you have a filling done on the same tooth? If you have periodontal disease can you have more than 2 cleanings a year and if you get an SRP done will it be covered or does your insurance require you to have osseous surgery first?  I mention all these specifics because I have seen patients getting screwed and owing big bills because they did not know their insurance plans and certain details slipped by those staff making treatment plans because there are LITERALLY THOUSANDS of different insurance plans and it is impossible for office staff to catch every important detail of every plan (particularly when certain insurances may not list all important details on their websites/faxes, and there are really fun (i.e. annoying) companies that don’t have websites or send faxes and will only give out information verbally over the phone).
  2. You need to floss. Seriously. 
  3. You need to brush your teeth properly, paying special attention to brushing the parts where your teeth meet the gums. You need to take care of your gums because if you don’t you WILL get periodontal disease and it is NOT reversible. Once you have it you are stuck with it for life and you need to come in to your dental office every 3 months to get a cleaning (note: you cleaning your teeth at home will not be good enough at this point because for periodontal disease the hygienist cleans below the gums and this requires a special tool) otherwise you will have bone loss and this will ultimately prematurely mess up your face. Don’t get periodontal disease.
  4. If you get a root canal done, you need a crown. Often a core as well. I know (all too well) that they can be hella expensive depending on the kind of insurance you have (Total cost for root canal+ core+ crown may range from $400-$2000. And yes, that’s only for one tooth) but you need a crown because your tooth is brittle (because after a root canal it essentially is hollow on the inside) and is more than likely to crack if you don’t get a crown to protect it. And after going through the terrible pain (and cost!) of getting a root canal done to save the tooth it only makes sense to protect your investment.
  5. Really, you need to floss. And properly – you shouldn’t be slamming the floss down on the gums, you need to gently ease the floss between the teeth and use it to scrape off the gunk that’s accumulated between the teeth. Your gums will bleed at first, but after about a week of flossing once every day they will stop and it won’t be such an awful experience.
  6. Want to save yourself hundreds, no, thousands of dollars? Take care of your teeth. Dentistry is expensive and it is in your best interest to take care of your teeth. Go to your office for your regular cleanings (1 x 6 months for regular cleanings, 1 x 3 months for periodontal cleanings). Brush in circular motions around the gums. When the dentist says you have cavities and need fillings, GET THEM DONE. If you don’t get a filling done, you will need a root canal. If you fail to get a root canal, the tooth will die and has to be extracted. Then you need to fill the hole because if you don’t 1) supraeruption 2) bone loss 3) messed up face will happen. And if you do fill the hole it will have to be with either a denture (which doesn’t prevent bone loss) or a bridge or implant (both hella expensive, but worth it as they do prevent bone loss), when all that trouble could have been saved literally by just cleaning your teeth properly and getting fillings/root canals done when you were told you needed them.
  7. If you have a DMO insurance, make sure the office you go to is the one you’re assigned to and if you’re about to go to a new office CALL YOUR INSURANCE to get them to assign you to that office, otherwise if you go to an office you’re not assigned to your insurance may not cover ANYTHING, leaving you with a huge bill.
  8. If you hate flossing and refuse to do it, at least get yourself a Water Flosser. NOTE: It does NOT replace traditional flossing, but it is certainly better than doing nothing at all.


Note: I work in an office in the United States that is a part of a corporation. There may be insurance/billing differences in private practices/other countries.

I may do another list like this in the future, since there are SO many things I learned working at my job, but if y’all have any questions, I’m happy to answer them, provided that I am able to of course.


Hello there :)


It’s been…about a year since my last post! I never expected to be gone so long, but life is a funny thing.

I basically got a job and let it take over my life (and a good portion of my mental and emotional state). I’ve been working as the front desk at a dental office, and if you’re like me a year ago, you may think that sounds like a pretty chill, relaxing position. Certainly, all the dental offices that I have gone to as a patient seemed that way. Although now I’m realizing it might’ve been because they were private practices.

The office I work for is a part of a large corporation, and it is, in a word, hectic. The phones are constantly ringing, we get a fair amount of walk-ins, and even when you think you’ve done all your work, there is always more work to do. Insurance verification, talking to representatives about the details of plans or why claims were not paid, making treatment plans, managing the schedule (which involves a lot more than one would expect), responding to all types of patient questions/complaints ranging from the normal to the bizarre and flat-out ridiculous, I could go on and on.

However, it is not really the busyness that I mind, it is the busyness combined with soap opera drama that is my workplace. For an office that has less than 10 staff, it is really absurd how much drama occurs. Gossiping, betrayal, tantrums, sharp remarks all keep the pot of negativity brewing and bubbling. Of course, not all days are like this, but enough that I almost quit on the spot three times.

I actually did try to quit for real at one point. I gave my notice, counted down the days, but then when my boss offered me more money and allowed me to work part-time I decided to stay.

It has certainly been so much less stressful working since then, and I get along well with many of the people in the office, yet I still somewhat dread going into work. However, as currently I am planning to move out of my parents’ house, and am seriously paying off my student loans, every bit of money is necessary. I’m keeping my eyes on the prize and working towards my goals. 🙂

And one of those goals is to get back to writing on here. Although I have a bit of a tumultuous relationship with the process of writing, in the end when I do write it is a rewarding experience that also helps bring clarity into my life. And, ultimately, I do want to craft a body of work and get it published. This sort of project is very intimidating to me, as it is, more than anything, a test of discipline, which is not a strong quality of mine. However, the only way to get better at something is to keep practicing, and that is what I aim to do. 🙂


Toxic friends

Toxic friends
burn like stomach acid
when you’ve thrown up.
Even with them out of your system,
a rancid taste lingers in your mouth.

Your stomach is empty and hungry,
begging to be filled.
But while it may be quick and easy
to fill it with chips and cookies,
only a nourishing meal
will truly satiate it.

So you wash and peel and chop the vegetables,
grease the frying pan,
throw down some garlic and spices,
listen for that sensuous sizzle before
adding zucchini, red peppers, broccoli, tomatoes,
while in the other pot you have rice cooking,
and in another pan a fat fillet of salmon
needing to be turned over,
lemon juice squeezed,
black pepper ground.

Time and effort pay off
and deliver you a meal that satisfies all your senses.

Time and effort make you forget
that rancid meat
that looked so appetizing on the surface,
so delectable to chew,
but once inside you,
poisoned you.

Time and effort bring friends into your life
who are nourishing,
and nontoxic.


Rumination is an intoxicating drink
that makes you want to think and think and think
because maybe if I think enough I can solve this,
he will love me,
she will forgive me,
they will give me another chance.

Rumination, empty sensation,
a tangled knot that won’t unravel
no matter how much you tug on the string.

Rumination, hurricane of worry
with an Eye so calm the air is paralyzed,
while self-indulgent chaos destroys genuine action,
thoughts spiraling out and out
breaking connections.

Rumination, where obsession becomes your possession,
cherished and played with all day
while life is gradually swept away.

Let go of the spinning top
and let the momentum settle,
there is only so much you can do,
the rest is up to Them.


via Daily Prompt: Ruminate

Doubt as a positive force

When I started looking up quotes on doubt to inspire me in writing this post, I found most were negative about doubt itself as a concept, or saw doubting as a negative, even harmful action. And to an extent these sayings are valid. The saying “Distance doesn’t ruin a relationship, doubts do” is true in that physical distance itself isn’t enough to destroy a relationship, there have to be strong thoughts/feelings which lead people to decide to dissolve their union, and these thoughts/feelings can indeed be doubts about the person or the relationship itself. And of course, in some cases it may be personal insecurity or jealousy that births these doubts, but sometimes doubt forms from just taking a honest look at a relationship and realizing you just aren’t compatible with the other person, that you each have different needs and goals that the other person can’t fulfill because of who they are as people. So definitely, doubt can be harmful if it comes from a place of insecurity, but it can also be helpful if it comes from a place of wanting honesty and clarity.

I believe that doubt can be a really beneficial tool when used in the right way. I believe that it is especially healthy to practice a degree of doubt when you examine your own beliefs and ideas about the world. To scrutinize your religious, social, political, cultural beliefs and ask yourself “Why do I believe this? Where did I get the information for these beliefs? How do I know that the source(s) is trustworthy and valid? What evidence have I seen that contradicts my beliefs? What are some of the different opinions about (x) topic? How much of what I believe was taught to me from birth and echoed around those in my family/community, whether explicitly or implicitly?”

Doubt can help us better ourselves as human beings by realizing which beliefs we hold are harmful, which beliefs are false, and which beliefs need to be changed if we want to live in reality. By trimming away these harmful or false ideas from our consciousness, we help ourselves flourish as more positive individuals and become fuller, more complex-thinking human beings. 


via Daily Prompt: Doubt

Finding my center

Finding my center of balance
I wiggle
and fall
face down onto the floor
Face pancake
Face red, face stinging, face making mountains of wrinkles,
Face broken into tears.

“It’s okay. It’s okay to fall. You don’t have to be perfect,
Try again.” My yoga teacher says,
her soothing voice sashaying
through my center,
finding my center.

I stand,
Tree position,
left foot against my right thigh,
palms together at my heart,
feeling my center.

My center is rooted,
and stretches like branches
through my head and legs.

via Daily Prompt: Center

Lessons from Animal Farm

Reading Animal Farm was definitely one of the best choices I made last year. For those that do not know, Animal Farm is a famous novel by English writer George Orwell which through its allegorical storytelling shows the techniques that dictators and those in power use to keep the masses submissive and from revolting, even as living conditions get worse and worse.

One of the techniques those in power use is controlling the narrative. That is, to say what is true and what is not, what happened and what didn’t, who is good and who is bad. This is shown very clearly in the book when Napoleon (the leader of the animals on the farm) has his second-in-command Squealer periodically tell the lower animals things about his rival Snowball which at first makes the animals see Snowball’s ideas in a negative light, then Snowball himself is made to seem detrimental to the animals’ plight, then the problems that happen on the farm are blamed on Snowball, then finally Snowball is made out to be a traitor and enemy, with a death sentence on his head.

Napoleon also gains control of the narrative in Animal Farm by slowly  (and without any announcement) changing the actual rules that all the animals originally agreed upon. Thus, “No animal shall kill any other animal” turns into “No animal shall kill any other animal without cause.” Of course, when Napoleon decides to change things he has Squealer eloquently rationalize and justify the changes to the lower animals. If any animal raises objections, Squealer is quick to remind the animals how “lucky” they are to have what they have and how well Napoleon and the others in charge take care of them (as of course, this veneration of those in power has also been subtly woven into the narrative), and if all else fails, he uses the animals’ fear of “the enemy” to silence them into submission. And so even as life grows more and more unfair and cruel to lower animals on the farm, they do not realize it, and still consider themselves lucky to live on Animal Farm.

This very clearly shows the danger of oversight, the danger of missing out on what is going on right under your noses. This is what those in power rely on, your ignorance. Those in power – dictators, presidents, senators, etc. – rely on your unawareness, your oversight, to pass the laws which benefit them and the corporations/wealthy people that have given money so those specific puppet politicians could have that office.

Do not give them that power.

Pay attention to news stories, and more importantly, pay attention to trends. Pay attention to the narrative that is being told to you, both overtly and subtly.

Do not let your rights and the rights of others be taken away due to oversight.


via Daily Prompt: Oversight