Last year I left my dentist of more than twenty years. I started going to a dentist who practices "biologic dentistry."

I did this because my long-time dentist surprised me during one appointment with the cavalier statement, "Well, teeth fall apart just like everything else." At the time, he was in the process of fitting a crown on a tooth that had cracked for various reasons. One of the reasons: a large filling that *he* had put in the tooth.

His statement just floored me. Clearly he was not, as I had thought for years, devoted to making sure that teeth *don't* fall apart.

Having received the Primal Gospel with joy, I knew I had to do something more than just accept conventional health care attitudes. So I did research and found an area dentist whose philosophy of dental care sounded really good.

I started going to this new dentist despite the fact that the dentist was not on my dental insurance "approved" list. (This has made reimbursement a more tedious, more costly issue). I started going even though the office is not at all convenient to get to.

Ironically, one of the first things my new dentist did was to put a crown on another tooth (which I broke one day when I tripped, fell on a sidewalk, and hit my head--thank God no damage other than the tooth). That went well, and it wasn't too painful to pay for.

Since that time, I have become more and more wary of my new dentist because, as nice as she is, her practice seems really focused on getting me to commit ASAP to all sorts of expensive procedures.

For instance, I have a number of amalgam fillings, and several of the teeth with those fillings are cracked. If I had all of those teeth "fixed," that is, essentially ground down to stumps and fitted with crowns, it could possibly cost me $10,000.

I need to have something done with my teeth. However, even with the "dental credit card" that allowed me to get my broken tooth fixed, I couldn't possibly pay back $10,000.

I also have sleep apnea (diagnosed six years ago and treated with a CPAP machine). I have talked to my new dentist about getting a dental appliance to use instead of a CPAP machine. I have been told that I have to pay upfront and get reimbursed directly from my health insurance provider. This contradicts what my health care provider has told me: my primary care doctor has to refer me to a sleep doctor who has to refer me to the dentist after getting approval for a dental appliance.

This is making me crazy. I feel as if I should be looking for yet another dentist. Someone who practices really sound dentistry AND communicates well with patients on things that matter AND earns a well-deserved living because he or she is doing really good work..

I'll admit that I can be a fussy patient at times. Or maybe often. Or maybe always. But I really want to know that my dentist knows what he/she is doing and knows how to communicate that to patients.

Am I living in a fantasy world on this, or does such a dentist exist? Could I find one in my area (Rochester, NY)?