At Barotz Dental our mission is clearly defined:
To enhance the lives of the people that we touch by providing the most up-to-date high quality dental care in a comfortable and personalized matter.
We do not begin each day by asking, “how can we achieve this mission?” Instead, we focus on the here and now in order to provide the best, most personalized care for each patient, and in the end, we strive to fulfill this mission. Excellence in dentistry is about so much more than clinical know-how. It is about people, understanding their needs, wants, concerns and fears and then working together to achieve a lifetime of quality oral health. Many patients tell stories of how their ability to eat the foods they love again or a confident new smile has changed their life for the better. Perhaps the best example of this is a testimonial written by one of our success stories, a Barotz Dental patient who only recently overcame a lifetime of dental discontent and frustration. This lengthy but heart-warming testimonial means the world to our team at Barotz Dental, and it’s feedback like this that gives us the gratification of knowing that we truly do make a difference in people’s lives:
When I was born, one of my permanent teeth never formed above the baby tooth in the front of my mouth and I had my first bridge, a Maryland Bridge, when I was 8 years old.
Although money was tight when I was younger, my parents always made good dental care a priority. I had braces, and I recall my parents saving money for my first bridge so I wouldn’t have to face my classmates with a big hole in the front of my face.
Because of the financial sacrifice, I was always nervous about breaking the bridge, and it prevented me from doing a lot of things. I wasn’t able to wear a mouth guard so my athletic options were limited (in fact the most athletic thing I’ve ever been able to do is use Adobe Acrobat), I could never eat corn on a cob, or an apple; I had to cut up all my food, even peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.
But I was thankful that I had it, it prevented the anxiety and insecurity that I might have had to deal with had I not.
As I grew older, and my mouth grew, the Maryland Bridge eventually failed and I had an even larger bridge placed in my mouth, sacrificing the two adjoining teeth which would serve as the anchors, in the process.
Again, I was nervous about breaking the bridge. The thought of the bridge failing during a period of time when I was unable to afford a replacement haunted me. I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t nervous about the bridge. It seems silly, but the bridge really did dominate many decisions and thoughts throughout my life.
About the age of 30, the replacement bridge failed, and I now needed an extraction which would extend my bridge to another set of teeth. This extended the span to now cover two missing teeth, and three anchors. This bridge, although more expensive, was not more sturdy.
While I saved the money for a permanent solution, I opted for temporary, acrylic bridges in the mean time. These plastic bridges were never meant for more than a three or four month solution, but I would have to keep them in for up to a year until they, too, would eventually fail. Year after year, I paid up to $1000 each visit to keep the temporaries in place until I was able to afford a porcelain bridge. Year after year, the bridge caused me anxiety – they determined the kinds of restaurants where I could eat, the kinds of food I could eat, the kinds of activities I could join.
I remember a Carl’s Junior hamburger commercial and the actor would bite into a big, juicy looking hamburger and I would watch it, listen to the sound of the bite and the chewing, realizing I’d never get to do even that. Heck, I’d still never even bitten into an apple!
After about seven years, I finally had enough money for the porcelain solution and it looked great. But it wasn’t very strong. The extended span made me nervous and the thought of saving for another bridge would keep me up at night. Seriously.
I don’t consider myself a particularly vain person, but my teeth aren’t merely a tool to consume food, they’re part of my self-esteem, they contribute to my confidence, they serve a function beyond utilitarian. Over the decades, the conscious awareness of my teeth has made me all the more aware of other people’s teeth, their smiles, the way other people can easily bite into a fruit or eat a pizza – it’s super silly, but, I longed to have a mouth with a long term, sturdy solution.
In 2013, I was the victim of an assault. The assailant knocked out the bridge, compromising the adjoining teeth in the process. The pain of the assault was amplified by the shame of the gaping hole in the front of my mouth.
Once the assailant was apprehended and charged, Crime Victim’s Assistance awarded me enough to pursue the long term, permanent solution I’d always dreamed of.
The first prosthodontist I visited had difficulty submitting proper paper work to the county, and as a result, the process of my dream solution dragged. There were more temporary bridges, unnecessary work, work that was depleting my award and not offering me any sort of permanent relief. The emotional toll was measurable, I saw my opportunity at finally having normal, functional teeth, fizzle – visit after visit, dollar after painful dollar.
After two years of stalling and excuses from the prosthodontist, I finally cut my losses and made peace with the fact that I’d never get the mouth I’d wanted since I was a kid. My spirit was deflated, I felt like I’d lost.
One afternoon I was walking to my favorite soup restaurant on the 16th Street Mall and I saw a promotion going on next door. People from Dr. Barotz’s office were all smiles, happily giving out free toothbrushes and gladly inviting people in.
I’d never imagined that I’d find a dental provider from a mall promotion, but the employees I spoke to on the mall were so excited, so friendly, and they spoke with such confidence in Dr. Barotz that I thought I’d at least give the office a call.
Later that day, when I returned to my office, I dialed the number. My expectations were low, after so many years of shoddy dental work, temporary solutions, anxiety and headache with the situation, I felt defeated before I’d even begun.
The receptionist answered and continued the excitement that the employees down on the mall had exhibited. She asked me a couple questions, I explained the situation with Crime Victim’s Assistance and the paperwork that was involved, a little about my history with bridge after irritating bridge, and I was shocked when she said, “No problem!”
She asked if I could come in the very next day.
Certainly, there had to be a catch, no other dental office had been so eager to accept my situation and see me so fast, no other dental office had made the issue of working within the county’s bureaucratic stipulations such a non-issue. I’d expected, at any time, to be told I’d have to come up with gobs of money ahead of time or that I’d have to work with the county, myself.
My suspicion subsided the moment I walked into the door and was greeted by Cheryl. She had a warm cookie and a cold beverage waiting for me. She explained the process and we agreed to communicate via email as my job often had me out of town or on job sites, this was the most efficient way to reach me.
Cheryl accommodated my requests and made very reasonable requests of her own – mainly that I was patient, that I would give her time to work out the process with the county, that I would allow Dr. Barotz to work at his own pace because he was more interested in an individual treatment plan with quality results than he was in a conveyor belt approach. I’d been waiting for decades, what was a couple more months?
I agreed and met Dr. Barotz. The visit was great and I was given a comprehensive treatment plan with the assurance from Cheryl that she would handle everything with the county. Basically, all I had to do was show up. My second visit, I was taken aback by the fact that the entire staff knew me by name. I’d visited my previous dentist many times over a two year period and he continued to call me ‘Ramon.’
When it came time to have the implant surgery, I was nervous. Although I’d always dreamed of implants, I’d accepted that that would probably never happen. Additionally, the idea of drilling metal posts into my skull really freaked me out, but Dr. Barotz and Cheryl both explained the procedure in detail, answered all my questions, and clearly mapped out what would happen, what to expect, and a workable timeline.
I was beyond amazed at how painless the procedure was. I was actually able to return to work that very afternoon. Although I was given a prescription for narcotics, I found that I didn’t need anything more potent than Ibuprofen once the anesthesia wore off. This isn’t at all what I expected. I told Dr. Barotz on my next visit that I’d had teeth cleanings that were more painful than the implant surgery.
I’d seen on late night infomercials that there were other places that promised same day implants but Dr. Barotz explained that he wanted to wait a full two months for the bone to heal before he would proceed.
Although I trusted his judgment and he had no reason to make me wait other than concern for my complete dental health, the 60 days was a little frustrating. Dr. Barotz wouldn’t budge. I even tried to make the next appointment one week earlier than the 60 day mark because of work schedule and Cheryl politely told me that even one week early was too soon.
To me, this demonstrated Dr. Barotz’s commitment to the procedure. He refused to cut even the smallest of corners by agreeing to see me one week early. I was dealing with someone who cared more about making sure my implant procedure was successful than he was about a billable appointment.
Waiting proved to be the right thing to do. The first implant post was removed with no issues but the second implant didn’t seat properly in the bone and it actually fell out! Had I gone to one of those same day places or worked with a doctor who was willing to rush the healing process, I would have potentially been out thousands of dollars because the crown and the implant would both have to be replaced.
I was deflated. The fact that the implant failed wasn’t a result of Dr. Barotz’s work, it resulted from my bone not healing properly. It was as if I’d felt every one of the inadequate and insecure and impatient feelings I’d experienced through my entire life in that one moment. I was crushed. A new implant would be yet another two months to wait.
Dr. Barotz immediately sensed that I was crestfallen and he went back to work and put in a deeper implant at a precarious angle. I have no dental training whatsoever but it didn’t look like a particularly easy procedure. The idea of re-inserting my worn, damaged, stained, acrylic bridge was weighing on me, but I was happy to have a doctor who was focused on the big picture even though I was despondent because of the short term.
Jay also sensed my disappointment. Without a word to him, he knew I wasn’t thrilled about having the worn and damaged temporary re-inserted. He decided to give the temporary bridge a ‘face lift’ and worked to make it look a whole lot more acceptable. I loved it! It looked fantastic and the prospect of waiting two more months seemed a hundred times more doable.
Throughout the process, the staff remained in constant contact – Cheryl updated me on the progress, and Mrs. Barotz even saw me in the hall one day and relayed, almost verbatim, a message to the front desk. If I was asked to name the thing that impressed me most about the office, it’s the amazing communication and the fact that I always felt like a participant in the process because of it.
Not only had I never experienced this kind of attention from a dental office, I’d never experienced it from anywhere in my life! Including family and friends! HA!
I’m a firm believer that the universe sends the right people, with the right energy, at the right time, to remedy past struggles. My teeth have always been an issue for me, dental work has always been an albatross around my neck, the situation’s always weighed me down.
It sounds excessive, but I’m being honest when I say that since I was a kid, my dental issues have diminished my opportunities and experiences and have dampened my spirits. To put it another way, dental work has always been a real pain! (Literally and figuratively)
But Dr. Barotz, Mrs. Barotz, Cheryl, Jay, the friendly faces at the front desk, the whole team, has gone to great lengths to accommodate me, to make me feel welcome, to make me feel comfortable, to make me feel like a person who is cared for long before I am a patient who is billed.
Today, I received my new implant crowns with a custom stain. Today I feel like a life-long course of dental detour has been corrected. Today, I’ve bitten into my first apple, and I loved it.