Beware the Dentist

Yes, I realize that there is a stigma against dentists - usually stemming from a fear of needles going in one's mouth, one's teeth being pulled, etc. But with modern techniques (i.e. anesthetics), being afraid to go to the dentist is, for many, a thing of the past - unless you have a fear of lock jaw from keeping your mouth open too long. I'm sorry to reintroduce a concern involving dentists, but this story must be told so as to save you, my friends, from undue unrest.

About a year and a half ago, I came across an ad for $45 x-rays, exam and cleaning at a local Nashville dentists. With this incentive and since I had not been to the dentist in 5 years, I thought it was about time to go. I arrived for my appointment and everything seemed normal. The office was full of people and the hygienist was overly nice and complimentary about my set of teeth. I thought things were going splendidly and that I would soon be on my way with my pink toothbrush and mini dental floss tucked under my arm. Then the doctor came in to go over my x-rays and prick my gums. From the tone of his "hmmm" s and the fake smile on his face, I knew I was in for some bad news.

I was told that I had gums disease and that I had 4 cavities. I was truly surprised! Granted I had not been to the dentist in a while, but this was the last report that I expected. One cavity wouldn't have surprised me, but 4?! The dentist prepared a cost estimate for "deep cleaning" that they advised must be done as soon as possible for the sake of my bleeding gums and the 4 cavities. Something didn't sit well with me. Not only was it a very expensive estimate, but when I started asking questions, four people from the office (the hygienist, two doctors and the receptionist) all gathered around my chair to try to convince me that I needed to schedule this work as soon as possible or I was compromising my oral health. I was frankly so taken aback that I left the office and did not schedule another appointment with them.

Not only did I not schedule an appointment with them, I didn't do anything for a year and half....which takes us to the present. Last week I scheduled a dental appointment at a different dentist and as I had been told (a year and a half ago) that I had cavities, I expected the dentist to find cavities. Wouldn't one expect that? Well, It turns out that my gums are perfectly healthy and I have zero!!!

You can really imagine my surprise and my gladness with the present dentists and my disgust with the dentist that tried to scam me. Can you imagine all of the people that have been told that they have  multiple cavities by this dentist - and had their perfectly healthy teeth drilled and filled? It's disgusting. How do I get in touch with Channel 5 News? Maybe I will do an undercover story....

Anyway, all that to say that if you discern that a dentist may not be telling you the truth, get a second opinion. It could save you lots of money and your pearly whites. The hygienist at this new dentist told me to beware of group dental practices and opt for private practices instead. She said that there is actually quite a bit of dishonest activity taking place in those offices.


Amanda Conley said...

Oh my goodness! I'm glad you are as discerning as you are. And that you really don't have any cavities!
But, you know, the thing about cavities, is that you can see them. And if they say they're in a place that you can't see, you can get those little mouth mirrors at the drug store so you can take a look!

Keely Brooke Keith said...

Good post, Annalise. I know that you already know my very similar. I think it is important to let people know when a business person is dishonest. So, if I may share with your local readers: do not go to Dr. Kelley Rice in Cool Springs. She told me I had 8 cavities and needed a crown. When I asked to see the x-rays she had just taken, she said, "No, they're blurry." I went to another dentist and found out I had no new cavities and the one filling she said needed a crown just needed a new filling. My bill went from over $3,000 to $189!

JoanDel said...

This is good to know.

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