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How to not get ripped off by a dentist

Updated on June 17, 2013

Beware of Dentist rip offs

I have just recently experienced a horrible Dentist rip off. I was going to this old dentist for years and he was wonderful and fair with his prices and very pleasant indeed. He retired a few years back and his replacement was a young up and comer. I think he must be trying to pay off his student loans. I hadn't had to go to a dentist for a few years but when I went into this particular office, I was expecting the same friendly staff. Instead I was greeted with a "sit down out there and we'll get to you as soon as we can". Mind you I had made an appointment weeks in advance as this new doctor was supposedly booked up in advance. So it made it seem as if he was wonderful.

Well I finally got into the chair where this assistant put a led vest on me and started taking x-rays, which by the way I never asked for. Then the young doctor came in and barely even said hello to me and started talking over my head about all the work that I was going to need. I specifically told him that I was only concerned about one particular tooth that was bothering me but he wasn't listening to a word I said. I was trying to engage in a conversation but he was to busy talking to his assistant that I just gave up. Then finally he said we need to get you in for another appointment to do the opposite side of my mouth with fillings and I said the other side of my mouth was the one hurting and could he please take care of that one first. He said no that the other side had more fillings that needed to be tended to.

I was beyond furious and just walked to the appointment desk , where the financial person said you know you should get in for cleanings more often etc.... . She knows that I have no insurance and I'd be paying out of pocket or with credit care but that didn't seem to matter . Just very cold and rude. I left feeling very disillusioned and sad that the same care I had gotten just a few years before was gone.

I then went in search for another dentist and this one senior client of mine told me about this dentist that was very reasonable. So I gave him a call and he saw me within less than a week and didn't make me wait all day and listened to me and took care of the tooth that was having a problem and said that I didn't need to worry about the other side of my mouth for at least another year or 2. I was so relieved to finally find a fair and honest dentist, one that actually listened to me a helped me right away.

I then called the other office and canceled with the dentist that ignored me and his financial person called back and said that I owed $132 for x-rays and consultation. So I took care of it and made it very clear I was never going back to their office again. He charges exorbitant rates and didn't listen to a word I said.

So the lesson learned was to really be careful who you trust in the dental profession and if you feel uncomfortable listen to that and act accordingly. Just because they have a fancy office and a supposed huge clientele doesn't mean they are for you. Beware of scam artist dentists trying to charge for things you simply don't need.

I hope this helps before your next dental visit.

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    • word55 profile image

      Word 

      3 years ago from Chicago

      Hi, I think you did very well after all however, I wouldn't have paid for the X-rays if I were not coming back due to the shabby service and fact that the dentist did not do what you requested. Great story and voted up!

    • profile image

      j brownski 

      3 years ago

      The last response above was 14 months ago. I must say that it appears now that more and more dentists are using the "bait and switch" technique to get patients in (for say general cleaning which may be paid for by the insurance company) and then insist on performing periodontal scaling and root planning before they would do any cleaning. Wish some "authority" would look into this and help the "victims" who are usually the elderly medicare patients and new to the dentist.

    • moneyfairy profile imageAUTHOR

      Money Fairy 

      4 years ago from New Woodstock

      Bonehead: I would have definitely gone to a new dentist a long time ago. But you can always go to a different one now and maybe even turn him in to the state board and have someone look into his practice and see if there is anything unethical or illegal that he has done. Just a thought.

    • profile image

      Bonehead 

      4 years ago

      I trusted my dentist. Stupid me. Over the years he replaced every tooth in my mouth....he claimed that I ground my teeth. I spent enough money in the office to send his kids to college. Fast forward....now everything is breaking in my mouth. I'm trapped because he knows my mouth inside and out. Every time I go into the office it costs me thousands. Refuses to give mea break after all these years. Pennsylvania

    • moneyfairy profile imageAUTHOR

      Money Fairy 

      5 years ago from New Woodstock

      Thank you Jacob Masters for sharing your thoughts. It's nice to know there are some honest dentists out there. I think some of us that don't have health care and can't afford expensive procedures feel slighted somehow and unfairly treated but clearly from this last response you are not such a dentist. Thank you.

    • Jacob Masters profile image

      Jacob L. Masters 

      5 years ago from Indianapolis, Indiana

      boshness: I'm not sure where you are getting the idea that there is a coldblooded and entitled response - or if you are talking about my response and not the dentist in the original article.

      We are required by law to do certain things such as exams and x-rays. In my office, if a patient refuses either one I cannot see them as a patient. Beyond that, if a patient decides to do nothing, that is fine with me. It is that person's oral health and their decision. That's the idea of the co-diagnosis. The patient and the dentist work "together" to develop the best plan. It is ok for the patient to choose nothing...very rarely does someone die from not getting treatment completed. I'll just ask these rhetorical questions: How would you feel if a medical professional did not give you the ideal treatment plan? If you were only given an option below the standard of care. i.e. you have artery disease and the doctor suggested you only need to take an aspirin but you really could benefit from more advanced procedures; the doctor didn't inform you of the other options because he or she was trying to save you money and didn't think you could afford the care. If the doctor did not recommend a procedure that could extend your life, you may have had untoward events that could have effected you without your knowing of other options. Of course these are extreme examples, but I think this should be applied to all areas of health care. I make a good living providing care to patients by educating them and letting them choose the care that best suits their needs and finances. However, I know several dentists that are earning several hundred thousand dollars a year and I question their motives and ethics. I hope you have better experiences with the dental profession as I believe most dentists are caring and put the patient first. The healthcare system is unfair and broken but I don't think there is an easy solution. Thanks for your discussion.

    • moneyfairy profile imageAUTHOR

      Money Fairy 

      5 years ago from New Woodstock

      boshness:Agreed health care is grossly unfair. It seems that unless you are rich that you are screwed. I just am grateful for my health thus far. But if I was ever to need any kind of serious health care like an operation I wouldn't be able to afford it. It sucks being poor. There should be reasonable health care for everyone not just the wealthy and elite. Thank you for your comment.

    • profile image

      boshness 

      5 years ago

      You shouldn't have paid that dentist a penny, as he was providing services you did not want. He may be required to tell you what he thinks you need, but ALL patients have a right to refuse treatment and to decide which and how much treatment they want. If you would have gone to small claims court about that bill you would have won.

      Having said that, I am sorry, and it is sad that you cannot afford the ideal list of treatments he was proposing from his idealistic textbook point of view.

      The dentist who responded here makes me furious; coldblooded and entitled attitude, as if we common folk can just open up our veins and pour whatever cash they ask for into their overstuffed coffers. Your older dentist had come to terms with the real world that the rest of us common folk live in and knew that the ideal is not always possible.

      Our health care system is grossly unfair.

    • moneyfairy profile imageAUTHOR

      Money Fairy 

      5 years ago from New Woodstock

      Jacob Masters thank you for your reply especially the part where you said co-diagnosis. That was the point it was only onesided he didn't listen to a word I was saying. I think it is important that your health professional listens to where your actual pain is and addresses it immediately not telling me that he was going to do the opposite side of my mouth first???The new dentist took xrays and listened to what I had to say and adressed my pain immediately and said that the opposite side of my mouth could be dealt with at a later time. So clearly the arrogant young dentist was just trying to pay off his student loans and didn't care to listen to "me" the patient but thought that I was just going to purchase something that I clearly didn't need.

    • Jacob Masters profile image

      Jacob L. Masters 

      5 years ago from Indianapolis, Indiana

      As a dentist we are required to perform a comprehensive exam by law. We must tell you of everything that needs to be repaired to restore your mouth to excellent oral health.

      We are also legally required to have current x-rays of all of the teeth. These items above are non-negotiable and required.

      However, it is the patient's choice to decide whether or not have treatment after being presented with all of the information. The current system in dentistry is co-diagnosis between the dentist and the patient to determine the best treatment.

    • moneyfairy profile imageAUTHOR

      Money Fairy 

      5 years ago from New Woodstock

      Please let me know of any of your dental rip offs, if you have had them. thanks. Hope this article was helpful.

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