Smile Cafe + Groupon = A Round of Clean Teeth

Posted: March 21, 2012 by sirdiggy in health, life
Tags: , , , ,

Once again, I am awake and en route before 9am.  I know this is normal for most of America, but by now you probably know I am not a morning person… actually, let me clarify that: I’m not an early morning person.  Go ahead and try to cram a bunch of info on me this early in the day; I might as well have ADD.  In fact, it’s 8:15am EST and my mind just drifted off on about four or five tangents in this first paragraph (one of tangents focused on the number of fine women on this train).

So why the hell am I up and on a train downtown? Thanks to Groupon, I was able to buy a heavily discounted teeth cleaning and exam package.  I honestly can’t remember the last time I had a dental appointment; maybe I was 18? 20? In college? Right out of college?  I think I still need my wisdom teeth pulled, and I’d sure like for food to stop getting stuck in my teeth.  But I’ll settle for the cleaning and week’s worth of whitening strips.

I’m almost expecting some sort of recruiting pitch either before or (more likely) after my cleaning.  Hopefully, they will have noted that I did not list any insurance information on their forms, and I sure as hell don’t have the money to pay for an appointment wholesale.  Of course, if they have a Groupon sale every year, then I’ll become a yearly customer.  Let’s see how I feel once this appointment is over…

Well, that wasn’t so bad.  In fact, it wasn’t bad at all.  I understand why some people don’t care for dentist, with all the gum/teeth digging and all, but I’m feeling healthier already.  The name of the place is Smile Café on Park Ave off 37th Street in Manhattan.  And wouldn’t you know, the lobby/receptionist area sure enough looks café-ish:

Looks a hell of a lot different from the dentist office I used to visit as a kid.

My appointment was at 9am; I got there a bit early and expected to wait about 15 minutes or so past my appointed time (like your typical doctor’s office).  But to my surprise, the dentist came to greet me promptly at nine – great news since a brotha had to be at work in a few hours.  After a brief introduction, she had an x-ray taken of my teeth and was fairly surprised at how well the structure of my chompers are considering the years since my last dentist visit (thanks Mom and Dad for the genes).  Upon further review, she noticed some plaque had crept deep inside my gums in a couple back teeth (which she claimed was pretty normal for someone who’s shunned dental cleaning for as long as I have).  She suggested I come back for a deep root cleaning with would involve numbing my gums – but she didn’t push the sale to speak.  She then proceeded to clean my teeth, blasting away years of plaque and then polishing off my bicuspids, canines and molars.  When she finished, she handed me a mirror to examine her work; I had to remind myself that normal teeth don’t have that eggshell-white color to them naturally, so I had to temper my expectations (lol).  That said, they looked significantly cleaner:

Look at the freshly cleaned chompers.

She then brought the headline doc (the dude who’s name is attached to the practice) in to give my teeth and x-ray a once-over.  He noticed I had a cavity on one of my wisdom teeth (don’t know why pops never had my old dentist remove them back in the day – I don’t care for food finding its way wedged in-between them), and advised to have them removed so they don’t press up too much against my right-side up teeth.  They then brought me into the money-lady office to explain their care plan and pricing for the procedures they recommended.  I was already mentally armed for a hard-sell with “let me get back to you”-based scripture, but thankfully, she was polite and informative versus pushy.  I thanked the professionals for their work and departed with the pricing list, along with my new toothbrush, toothpaste, dental toothpicks and whitening trays.  I was out by 10:20am.

So to recap: polite, courteous and timely service; slick receptionist area (complete with a fake bar that was a multicolored water fixture), and no being treated like “fresh meat” with any hard sales push.  I probably won’t sign up for the care plan ($399 for the year) for now, but their $150-down then $20-a-month payment plan is definitely reasonable, which includes:

  • two exams with x-rays
  • two cleanings (once every six months) with fluoride treatment
  • covers most procedures
  • 20% off any major, restorative or cosmetic work
  • emergency visit fees waves

If you just need someplace to go for routine work and cleaning and you don’t have dental insurance, this is a good alternative.  Even the prices for the extra work they suggested for me ($225 for deep-gum plaque removal, $504 for a tooth removal) doesn’t sound terrible, although you might want to look at a more traditional insurance plan to cover such costs.  Personally, I’m just happy my teeth have withstood the test of time and not-quite-attentive care for all these years, lol.


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