Friday, October 16, 2015

Peoria dentist on how to avoid dental service scams

Doing it Right and Doing the Right Thing

I've enjoyed my profession as a dentist since 1975. I've met a lot of nice people and helped improve the smiles and oral health of many patients.

The technical improvements in dentistry have advanced the standard of care.

When I first started as a dentist, I wasn’t allowed to advertise. There were state regulations prohibiting any advertising. Even the signage listing your name was regulated.

I believe that lawyers were the first profession to advertise. Then physicians, dentists, hospitals and everybody else started advertising.

I have mixed feelings about professionals advertising their services, due to the many abuses I see.

It's important for people to be exposed to new services targeting their needs. Advertising is a major way for dentists to make known and explain their services.

Dentists also use it to seek new patients for their practice.

However, there are some ads that are borderline deceptive and give some people unrealistic expectations. 

For example, and I'm sure you've seen them, ads that promise dentures delivered in the same day.

While this can be done, all of the records and laboratory procedures have to go exactly right.

In our office, we usually schedule separate appointments for impressions, bite records, and do a tr-in of the denture(s) to check the accuracy of the bite records and check the aesthetics with the approval of the patient.

Sometimes, I require additional one or two appointments to take another impression or re-set the denture teeth for another try-in. It takes time and patience to get it right. It also takes time for the laboratory technician to get it right.

You want your dentist to use the best materials for you. There are some cheaper acrylics (plastics) and cheaper denture teeth that some dentists prescribe.

Our office only uses IVOCAP processing.

Our lab technician desires 3 working days to process a denture. It actually takes twenty four hours of time to process the denture.

Most people do not want their dentist to “rush” their dental service. When a case is rushed, there's no opportunity to really perfect the fit, make adjustments, or redo the case.

"Fast food" type dental services emphasize, unrealistically, the extreme frustration of waiting for quality dental work. The ads make it seem like everybody wants dentures, or implants, immediately. Right now. No waiting.

Ads will state that implants can be done in one day.

Yes, in certain cases it is physically possible.

What is disclosed in fine print, is that most patients are not ideal for immediate placement of implants with the final prosthesis (crowns) and there is a lower success rate in these immediate cases.

I aim for a high success rate for all my Peoria, IL patients.

Happy patients tend to engage in word of mouth advertising for a good dentist -- telling their friends and family members about their positive experience.

You expect me to know what I'm doing. You expect me to recommend what's in your best interests, not to meet some corporate quota. You don't want to be treated like a cash cow.

You expect me to keep your real interests as my top priority, not a fast dollar using speeded up processes, cheap material, and shoddy workmanship.

I sleep better at night knowing that I treat my patients the way I'd want to be treated by a dentist.

I feel confident knowing I have taken the ideal amount of time in preparation or fitting, used the best materials, and provided high quality workmanship for my patients.
Sometimes, I have seen patients in my office seeking a second opinion. They have seen a corporate dental center for a dental exam and have shown me their proposed treatment plans.

I had one patient that was told that she had eleven (11) cavities.

After my exam, I told her that she had no cavities. I recently had a patient who was told that her proposed treatment would be $6,500.00.

She was referred to me for a second opinion and I informed her that her dental treatment should be approximately $2,500.

About twenty years ago, I had a patient who was a school teacher. She was purchasing towels in a local department store in the evening. She noticed that inside the department store that there was a dental clinic. 

She had one lower tooth that was sensitive to cold temperature.

She decided at that evening to just stop in the clinic and find out what could be done to help her sensitivity. She was examined and told that her tooth needed a root canal.

She then had the root canal done.

She came to my office a couple of days later with numbness of her lower left lip and part of her lower left jaw.

She stated that the went to the clinic because it was open at night and convenient.

I informed her that my records showed that that tooth had gum recession and the exposed root surface was likely causing the sensitivity to cold.

Prior x-rays showed no deep fillings or evidence of a cavity on that tooth. I informed her that that the tooth likely did not need root canal therapy and only needed Sensodyne tooth paste applied to the root surface. 

This story gets worse.

The material used to fill the root canal was not the standard material, gutta percha, to fill the canal. The dentist used a new type of acrylic, over instrumented the canal, and injected the acrylic past the end of the root into the mandibular nerve canal.

 This caused the numbness in her lower left side.

I referred her immediately to a local oral surgeon, who then referred her to the University of Chicago oral surgery department.

After much professional consideration, it was determined to leave the material in place, due to the risk of causing more trauma by attempting to remove the acrylic from the nerve canal.

Eventually, most of her numbness abated, but there was no guarantee of future complications.

As a dental consumer, you have to be careful of advertising. You cannot read the fine print in the television ads. If you do not trust the recommended treatment, or can't understand the reasons given for it, be bold and assertive.

You owe it to yourself. Avoid unnecessary grief and expense.

 Get a second opinion.

Call my office for a free consultation.

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