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Dentists
Old 11-06-2013, 03:10 PM   #1
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Dentists

I appreciate the group wisdom of these forums. So here's a short story and question regarding dentists.

I recently changed dental insurance, and my previous dentist was no longer in plan. So I googled for dentist reviews, and selected one. I also checked the state license registry for any discipline history.

The new dentist did an exam. He then told me I needed 2 crowns, a special "aggressive deep root cleaning" procedure, and he wanted to pull a wisdom tooth. Hmm, no dentist has ever suggested I remove a wisdom tooth. When I questioned him, he said I could get a second opinion if I wanted. So I asked for the xrays (which apparently no one has ever done, based on their struggles to send me the .jpg's.) I took these xrays to my previous dentist, and asked for a "second opinion". He repeated the exam, with the xrays from the other dentist, and told me I needed some fillings, but he couldn't see a need for any crowns, or a need to pull a wisdom tooth. Furthermore, gum recession was not a problem, and so a special procedure wasn't needed.

Have any of you had a similar experience? Whether its a dentist or a car mechanic, I look for both competency and integrity. For some car mechanics and dentists, I have found at least one of these lacking. But there's a difference- I would never ask a car mechanic if there's any work he would like to do to my car. But that's essentially what we ask dentists. I've never asked for a second opinion for a dentist before, but I'm glad I did. I think most dentists are probably honest, but it seems there's really nothing to prevent a dentist from doing more work than is needed.
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Old 11-06-2013, 03:23 PM   #2
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You're absolutely right. We rely on the integrity and good judgment of our dentists (and physicians) to recommend the appropriate treatments. As most dentists are in private practice, I don't think anyone is keeping tabs on how many procedures of different types they do, or the outcomes, unless the insurance companies are doing it. Professional colleges largely intervene only when things go wrong, but don't usually assess for appropriateness of care. Therefore, the information we, the public have, is very incomplete when choosing a dentist (or physician). In the future we may see better regulation of these professions, but implementation is complex because each patient is unique. There is certainly a financial incentive for the dentist to recommend as much treatment as possible.
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Old 11-06-2013, 04:02 PM   #3
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Oooooooooh, yeah! Many years ago, I went to a new dentist for the first time. It had been a couple of years since I had been to a dentist. He took a long look in my mouth, and said he saw about 17 (yes, seventeen) cavities that needed to be filled or fixed. He said we could do them a couple at a time over a few months. I freaked out (after I got home) and said, no way am I letting this guy do all that! Went to another dentist that someone recommended, and this guy said he saw 2 that needed attention, and maybe one or two more that he might watch. Jeez! I'm really leery about dentists. The one we've used for about 17 years is much further away than he used to be, but I don't want to break in someone new.
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Old 11-06-2013, 04:07 PM   #4
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Yeah, I also feel a lot of dentists are doing more than what's really needed. A good friend always used to say that for other than cleanings, the only time a dentist is needed is when you feel pain. That's a bit extreme, but I think he was burned by a few dentists that needed their golf vacations funded.
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Old 11-06-2013, 04:08 PM   #5
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I've always gone to a dentist regularly and had few cavities as an adult, but when I was in my late 20's I tried a new dentist and he suddenly drilled and filled multiple "cavities" in both my and my DW's teeth. Once we changed dentists, suddenly no more "cavities". I guess he was drilling for gold.

Later, the trusted dentist retired and the woman that bought his practice really amped up the pressure to make money off us including a demand that I replace my $400 bite guard (what a racket) sight unseen. Dropped her like a bad habit.
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Old 11-06-2013, 04:09 PM   #6
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While I don't go to doctors often, I am religious about my dental visits. I have had several over the years because of moves I have made, and fortunately they have treated me well. Except for one or two little cavities, I knew before I even went to my appointment something was wrong and needed to be fixed. It's a shame you get a dentist you can't trust, as they could really stick it to your wallet if they were dishonest.
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Old 11-06-2013, 04:24 PM   #7
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We had to switch dentists for a change of insurance too. We were shocked at all the work both of us needed as we always made the twice a year exams & cleanings. Old dentist (of 10+ yrs) always wanted to "watch" potential issues instead fixing them right away, but the new one wanted to not wait. The new dentist found all kinds issues and we both doubted if all this work was really needed. After needing an emergency root canal on one tooth and an abscess of another tooth that had a prior root canal I needed an extraction. Our doubts went away after all this and we both prefer the new dentist now. I actually had a small hole in a gold crown that the old dentist let slide for a few years without doing anything to fix it. Also, the old dentist always made referrals to non network specialists, so insurance would cover less than 50%. DW needed a root canal recently and was able to find a good teaching specialist that's in network.
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Old 11-06-2013, 06:47 PM   #8
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Later, the trusted dentist retired and the woman that bought his practice really amped up the pressure to make money off us including a demand that I replace my $400 bite guard (what a racket) sight unseen.
About the mouth guard...I wear one, too. I got one of those expensive one's the dentist fitted. $500! That lasted a year. It was laying on my night stand. I heard a "crunch, crackle, crunch". The dog ate my mouth guard!

Now I go to CVS pharmacy and get the ones you form with hot water. They do just as well as the expensive ones and last a long time. More than a year for one. You can get two of them in a pack for about $20. If something happens to yours...don't waste your money on the one from the dentist. Go to the drug store. And that's my dryer sheet tip for today...
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Old 11-06-2013, 07:22 PM   #9
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I think you should show your previous dentist the list of dentists in your insurance plan, and ask him if he could recommend one of them. I am sure he would be glad to do so, under the circumstances.
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Old 11-06-2013, 09:25 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by tfudtuckerpucker View Post
I appreciate the group wisdom of these forums. So here's a short story and question regarding dentists.

I recently changed dental insurance, and my previous dentist was no longer in plan. So I googled for dentist reviews, and selected one. I also checked the state license registry for any discipline history.

The new dentist did an exam. He then told me I needed 2 crowns, a special "aggressive deep root cleaning" procedure, and he wanted to pull a wisdom tooth. Hmm, no dentist has ever suggested I remove a wisdom tooth. When I questioned him, he said I could get a second opinion if I wanted. So I asked for the xrays (which apparently no one has ever done, based on their struggles to send me the .jpg's.) I took these xrays to my previous dentist, and asked for a "second opinion". He repeated the exam, with the xrays from the other dentist, and told me I needed some fillings, but he couldn't see a need for any crowns, or a need to pull a wisdom tooth. Furthermore, gum recession was not a problem, and so a special procedure wasn't needed.

Have any of you had a similar experience? Whether its a dentist or a car mechanic, I look for both competency and integrity. For some car mechanics and dentists, I have found at least one of these lacking. But there's a difference- I would never ask a car mechanic if there's any work he would like to do to my car. But that's essentially what we ask dentists. I've never asked for a second opinion for a dentist before, but I'm glad I did. I think most dentists are probably honest, but it seems there's really nothing to prevent a dentist from doing more work than is needed.
This has happened to me at least 3 times. A good and honest dentist is worth his weight in gold.

Ha
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Old 07-17-2014, 05:04 PM   #11
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Wanted to bump this thread with a similar dilemma.
Previous dentist left town to be an instructor at a dental school. Found a new dentist that seemed to have good marks. Scheduled a check-up and clean.
From the get-go started getting bad vibes. Even though I have been under a dentist care locally for seven years, I had to have a "comprehensive" exam which included a full mouth xray battery even though I have no known issues. Had a clean exam 7 months ago.
Declined the xrays (had lots of rads when I was young and try to avoid if at all medically possible). Hygienist did periodontal measures. She had pockets scores twice what the previous dentist measured--scores of 7-10 whereas before deepest was 4. Keep in mind, in prior case, the dentist himself did the measurements not a tech. With new tech, I had gum bleeding were none before, and could feel occasional discomfort as she probed deeper. Never happened with prior dentist. Was he doing it all wrong?
New dentist comes in and takes issue with me declining xrays and tells me I some serious periodontal issues. Says other xrays from prior dentist less than a year old were not sufficient quality for diagnostic use. I asked him to help me understand how I should feel about getting periodontal measures that were twice as deep as my previous dentist (not by his tech). He got huffy, and said maybe I should not be a patient and invited me to leave. Which I happily did.
What would have been your reaction to such a wide difference between care givers?
Was I wrong to ask him to explain the wide difference in results?
I guess I am looking for a new dentist but how to find who is not working a "revenue" model instead of a care model seems a bit of a challenge.
All ideas and/or insights appreciated
Nwsteve
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Old 07-17-2014, 05:14 PM   #12
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First, I treat all my docs the same way as I treat my next door neighbors. They need to earn my respect. I often refuse X-rays and CT scans and other pseudo diagnostic tests. But these folks know me. Docs are just human beings and make mistakes ALL THE TIME, so one cannot trust them.

Second, I would never worry about insulting a dentist or doctor. They work for me and I have the money just like a plumber works for me or a yardman works for me. If they cannot handle me, they don't deserve my money.

Third, you really don't know which dentist is more correct. The old one or the new one? You need to find a tiebreaker.
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Old 07-17-2014, 05:21 PM   #13
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I am fortunate to have a great dentist, and he has his hygienist do the periodontal testing so I don't think that's a red flag. I'd have to agree with LOL, you really don't know if you've had a bad dentist until you find a good one (I learned that the hard way, thinking that my childhood dentist was competent, only to find out in my 20s that every filling had decay under it).
I would ask friends/neighbors about their dentist to find another one to try. Good luck!
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Old 07-17-2014, 05:34 PM   #14
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All ideas and/or insights appreciated
Nwsteve
I try really hard not to pi$$ off anyone that is in a position to cause me extreme pain. I think you did the right thing.
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Old 07-17-2014, 05:43 PM   #15
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First, I treat all my docs the same way as I treat my next door neighbors. They need to earn my respect. I often refuse X-rays and CT scans and other pseudo diagnostic tests. But these folks know me. Docs are just human beings and make mistakes ALL THE TIME, so one cannot trust them.

Second, I would never worry about insulting a dentist or doctor. They work for me and I have the money just like a plumber works for me or a yardman works for me. If they cannot handle me, they don't deserve my money.

Third, you really don't know which dentist is more correct. The old one or the new one? You need to find a tiebreaker.
+1 Exactly my view. I have in fact made an appointment with an actual periodontist to do an assessment.
Another "watch out flag" for me was that I had no other symptoms associated with periodontitis--ie. bleeding gums, bad breath, etc. Have been using electric toothbrush for a number of years twice daily, and regular flossing without bleeding.
Guess I have too much experience with "sales" types in all professions. The ones that push the hardest and are the most confrontational/adversarial are the same ones who are trying to sell you your own shirt.
Nwsteve
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Old 07-17-2014, 05:49 PM   #16
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What LOL! said. I have had yearly or semi-annual cleanings and exams since 1976 and I take ridiculously good care of m teeth. My teeth are excellent and I have never had a problem. (one nascent cavity after living for 5 years in places with no fluoridated water.)

If a dentist starts to tell me I have "issues" and I "need" this or that it is prima facia evidence that he is incompetent or lying to scam me. This has been my personal experience. I have always been right and the "sinister dentists" have always been wrong. I need no further evidence.
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Old 07-17-2014, 06:00 PM   #17
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I love the way all the ads on this thread are about teeth and dental help. OK, except for the delicious one about nail fungus.
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Old 07-17-2014, 07:37 PM   #18
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Dentist I was going to for a long started out great but as years went by she was always trying to sell you on getting this tooth or that tooth capped and root canals. Couldn't take it any more when the dental hygienist would start saying, "so when are you going to schedule that root canal or whatever?". The reception would ask the same question. It was like the whole office took a "how to sell anything" class. How could things be so bad, I went to the dentist every 4 months for check ups and cleaning!!! Found a new dentist who was great. I didn't have any problems with my teeth and he said he didn't see any reason for root canals or caps. He passed away. Found a new dentist based on a friends recommendation and he's great. He hasn't tried to sell me anything other than my yearly cleanings.
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Old 07-17-2014, 07:46 PM   #19
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I love the way all the ads on this thread are about teeth and dental help. OK, except for the delicious one about nail fungus.
I have heard mention of people seeing ads but I never see any.

BTW, I love my dentist of 21 years and live in fear that he might retire. He is 62 and works a very abbreviated week-day schedule...Mon-Thurs days only and most days finishes by 2. He has a very high tech "fancy" practice but never tries to sell me on anything. And my teeth are far from perfect. I do take good care of them with check ups and cleanings twice a year and flossing and brushing at least a.m. and p.m
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Old 07-17-2014, 08:26 PM   #20
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I have heard mention of people seeing ads but I never see any.
Same here. Might their computers have some spyware that's watching what their watching then directs ads to them based on that ...?
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