Need Help Finding a Trans-Friendly Elgin Dentist

I have had the same Elgin dentist for about five years and have never had a problem with the office at all. However, everything changed when I told them I had undergone gender reassignment. I took the time to phone the office in advance and let them know. I gave them all my new information and requested that they call me by my new name. The woman said she’d update my records, but when I went in, they still had all my old information- to the point where they tried to tell me I didn’t even have an appointment with them because the names didn’t match up. Then, the hygienist called me back, but used my old name, which resulted in everyone in the waiting room eyeballing me when I got up to go. Once in back, she asked me no less than five different ways which medications I was taking. After a while, I realized she assumed I was taking hormones, which I’m not. I didn’t address this. I just told her my list was up to date and accurate. During the cleaning, she was very rough, and I can’t help but wonder if she was trying to get me out of the chair. I could tell I was bleeding a lot- way more than normal. At one point, she mentioned that hormones could cause the bleeding. At last- she finally acknowledged what she was really trying to ask in the first place. I again clarified I was not taking any hormones and she made a puzzled face and kept going. I don’t understand why it’s so difficult for people to understand that everyone is different. Not all people go on hormones when they go through reassignment. And, I don’t really appreciate that she was so persistent about insinuating I wasn’t telling the truth about my medications. It didn’t affect her cleaning my teeth. The only thing that did was her harsh treatment. In the future, I need to find a new Elgin dentist. How can I go about vetting them in advance to make sure the office is trans-friendly, so I don’t wind up in this situation again?

Thank you,

Trans in IL

Dear Trans,

It’s understandable that you’d want to find another Elgin dentist after this experience, but it doesn’t seem like you were dealing with an office that was unfriendly towards the trans community. It sounds more like they are just inefficient on a general scale.

The name issue can be a problem because insurance companies have to have your full legal name. Without it, claims usually get denied. Depending on what kind of computer system they use, they may not have the ability to note preferred names. While this doesn’t matter so much if someone named “Donald” wants to go by “Don,” it can create difficult situations for others. If their software is limited in this respect, they really should upgrade. Otherwise, it comes down to the staff remembering and that’s tough to do when they have a lot of patients.

As far as the hormones go, this might actually reflect that the hygienist was genuinely concerned about you, not that she was being accusatory. As noted above, people are forgetful. Patients forget to note medications all the time. Knowing for sure whether bleeding is related to hormone therapy or periodontal disease is a huge difference. It can totally change your prognosis and the treatment they recommend. If it was reversed and they overlooked periodontal disease, assuming you were on hormones, that mistake could cost you your oral health and perhaps even your teeth.

With all this said, you may want to try to give them another shot to see if they get it right this time around. They probably have not managed a case like yours before. If you are uncomfortable there, the best thing to do when finding a new Elgin dentist is to get referrals from friends. Aside from this, you can ask pointed questions when you call to schedule, to make sure they can track your preferred name properly.

This blog is sponsored byElgin dentist, Dr. Steve Sirin.

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