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Finding an Honest Dentist

toledotoledo Registered User Posts: 4,754 Senior Member
edited March 2013 in Parent Cafe
I don't mind having dental work done, but I think my dentist is taking advantage of our new dental insurance. (We've only been seeing him for 3 years.) How can the 5 adults in our family all have cavities, when they've been getting regular cleanings and there have been no diet changes. He also seems to salivate every time he looks at my old silver fillings, wanting to replace them all. Second opinions are a joke. One dentist told my daughter that she had 6 cavities, not 3 that the original dentist reported finding. My second opinion, from a third dentist, reported a cavity between two different teeth. He also saw no "hairline" fractures in my old fillings, like my original dentist was seeing. That dentist said, "You will get 10 different opinions from 10 different dentists." I would follow it up by saying, "Yes, but every one of them will find something that they think needs to be done."
Post edited by toledo on
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Replies to: Finding an Honest Dentist

  • thumper1thumper1 Registered User Posts: 60,817 Senior Member
    I hesitate to use this phrase in this thread...but...word of mouth is your best bet. Talk to your friends about who they see!
  • turbo93turbo93 Registered User Posts: 2,789 Senior Member
    Everybody does it. That is the short version of it. The real money is in the add ons insurance does not cover.
  • toledotoledo Registered User Posts: 4,754 Senior Member
    Puns allowed ;) I did use referrals for the second opinions. I guess I'll just have to keep asking and trying.
  • intparentintparent Registered User Posts: 27,550 Senior Member
    We had some major issues with "overfilling" by our family dentist a couple of years ago. Long discussion here...

    http://talk.collegeconfidential.com/parent-cafe/1055728-dentist-story-just-wow.html

    We now go to the faculty dental clinic at the local state university dental school (not the student one, the faculty have a practice). A little inconvenient location-wise, but we have been very happy with them.
  • jym626jym626 Registered User Posts: 51,024 Senior Member
    I used to see a dentist who did the opposite, probably let things go on longer than they should (and I stayed as a patient with him longer than I should, as sadly he had health problems that did interfere with his ability to practice). He brought in a young new associate who wanted to do all sorts of things that I had no interest in (mostly cosmetic, out of pocket stuff) and he really rubbed me the wrong way. Apparently many other patients must have felt the same wazy, ans this new associate didn't last long in that practice.

    That said, it is hard to know if they are misreading films and/or identifying problems where they do not exist. My new dentist shows me the area on the xray (if we have nes films) and also when they probe around withthe instrument its sometimes not too hard to tell whenthe instrument has hit a "pothole" in the enamel.

    Hope you find a dentist you trust. My new one was recommended by a neighbor.
  • Proud MaryProud Mary Registered User Posts: 189 Junior Member
    I've been very lucky with dentists and find my best referrals have come from friends. You might try and ask friends who they go to.

    As for replacing your old fillings . . . they may really need it. I had silver fillings that were 40+ years old and several years ago I had every one of them replaced with a white composite material. Not only does my mouth look better (I had LOTS of fillings!) but my mouth feels better (they are smoother and my bite is better) AND I have far fewer headaches (there is mercury in older fillings and there is evidence that the mercury can cause all sorts of problems, including headaches.)
  • cosmicfishcosmicfish Registered User Posts: 4,192 Senior Member
    As a caution, I would note that bad dentists are often hard to spot even with a second opinion. For several years I was the patient/victim of a dentist who is currently under indictment for fraud (he was going things he should not have been, and not doing things he billed for!), and when I started to suspect that things were no kosher I switched to a new practice. The new dentist immediately spotted the questionable work, but when I asked him if I should report it he immediately told me not to, so I accepted his explanation that it was probably just a quirk of the first dentist's practices and not criminal.

    Years later, after the charges came out, I was told by someone else in the dental business that dentists are loathe to identify misconduct on the part of another because they will not get paid for any time they spend doing so. They would prefer to fix the damage and get paid for it rather than report it and lose days worth of business testifying.
  • SteveMASteveMA Registered User Posts: 6,079 Senior Member
    I agree-ask around. We had a dentist like your dentist once. The kids suddenly had 3, 4, 8 cavities at every appointment. We were harping on the kids thinking they were not brushing well. After one check up we out our EOB and they denied it because the SAME TEETH had been filled 6 months previously. File a complaint with the state dental board about him. The kids and I have had NO Cavities-NONE, in the 10 years since we saw that dentist.

    I love our dentist now :D.
  • aquamarineseaaquamarinesea Registered User Posts: 832 Member
    You should try to locate a reputable dentist through personal recommendations from friends, family or coworkers. I've had more dental work than you can imagine, so I've had plenty of experience with dentists. Fortunately, I've had a great dentist for the past 20 years. He's very conservative and never rushes to replace fillings or do unnecessary work. He's never suggested any cosmetic dental procedures to me. Unfortunately, my previous dentist insisted that I needed crowns and root canals that were unwarranted. You can imagine my shock when I heard on my car radio that this dentist was convicted of fraud, assault and battery, illegally prescribing prescription drugs, and witness intimidation and was sentenced to a year in prison. There are some bad ones out there.

    SteveMA, hope your dentist wasn't the same one who got sent to prison. I believe it was in Massachusetts.
  • KrliliesKrlilies Registered User Posts: 2,085 Senior Member
    Try Yelp reviews. That's how we found ours and we all love the husband and wife team. I didn't move us all at once though. I would try a dentist first and my kids another dentist. We would keep going to different dentists (within the insurance) until I found our current dentists.
  • cptofthehousecptofthehouse Registered User Posts: 26,432 Senior Member
    I wish I'd had my fillings replaced before they needed to be replaced. It would have saved me money, pain, grief and riskier solutions.

    Fillings start to crumble after a while, and when they do, even if you are v-e-r-y careful in mouth hygiene, the chances are very high that when that starts to happen, some bacteria works its way into the crevice and you can have a cavity without knowing it. What then can happen is pain and/or the filling falling apart and the most inopportune time possible. By then, it often means the nerve is involved, if there is sensation there, and/or the walls of the teeth, now further eroded by the decay are no longer strong enough to sustain the new filling since a clean margin needs to be made in the tooth. that means a root canal and then a crown. Very expensive. Had I gotten all of my fillings removed BEFORE this happened, it would have given them a new "lease". So do keep that in mind when the recommendation to replace "perfectly good" old fillings are made. For the best results they do have to be replaced while they are "perfectly good". The "don't fix it, if it ain't broke" rule does not hold here.
  • toledotoledo Registered User Posts: 4,754 Senior Member
    I would try a dentist first and my kids another dentist. We would keep going to different dentists (within the insurance) until I found our current dentists.

    Great suggestion and kind of of what I was thinking. I'd hate to move everyone to a new dentist, only to have it happen all over again.

    inparent, that was a very appropriate thread. I loved the nickname that someone gave these dentists. They called them "boat dentists" because when they looked in your mouth, they were picturing that new boat they wanted.
  • HuntHunt Registered User Posts: 26,735 Senior Member
    My old silver fillings have all been gradually replaced as well. Not all at once, though.
  • mathmommathmom Registered User Posts: 28,891 Senior Member
    DH and I go to the same dentist. DH never has cavities, I always do. Some of us just have bad teeth.
  • cptofthehousecptofthehouse Registered User Posts: 26,432 Senior Member
    I had cavities as a child/teen. Bad teeth, very little fluoride where I was raised, but mainly bad teeth. My brothers who ate a lot of sweets and rarely brushed did better than I did, and I was pretty vigilant about my oral care. No cavities in adulthood .....till now. My teeth are now all falling apart. My old fillings have reached their breaking point and regardless of the care, cavities have snuck in there. I wish I had been proactive because then I could have replaced each one on MY terms and schedule instead of being stuck like I have been and am in web of pain and degeneration.
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