5 Ways A Dentist Can Rip You Off, And How To Avoid It

A friend of mine worked at a dental office for 40 years, and has heard a lot of stories from patients coming in from other dentists. There are a lot of good dentist out there, however like any business there are a lot of dentists that are out to get your money. We’ve discovered the 5 most common ways a dentist can rip you off, and how you can avoid it. Here are the warning signs that a dentisy may be trying to rip you off.


1) Replacing old fillings: Although old fillings can sometimes crack or become surrounded by decay, necessitating a replacement, some dentists will try to replace all your fillings simply due to age — a practice that isn’t actually necessary if they’re not causing problems.

“The big red flag is if you go to the dentist and they say, ‘oh, you’ve got old silver fillings, we need to take them out because there’s mercury leeching out,” Mindy Weinman said. “There’s been no evidence to prove that actually happens.”

2) Veneers. Sometimes, a dentist will tell a patient that pricey veneers are necessary to improve the color of a tooth, but if its shape is acceptable to begin with, bleaching — a much cheaper process — is perfectly fine. “A lot of cosmetic dentists tend to push this kind of treatment,” said Sean Tomalty, a family dentist in South Florida. If you’re certain you do want veneers, Dave Weinman recommends going to a prosthodontist rather than a general dentist.

3) Fluoride toothpaste and treatment. I was recently told I needed a $30 fluoride treatment and $25 prescription high-fluoride toothpaste — neither of which was covered by my insurance — even though I’ve only had a couple of cavities in my life.

“Most people get enough fluoride in their drinking water and from regular toothpaste, and by the time you’re an adult, and your teeth have fully formed, the fluoride treatment doesn’t do much,” my dad said. “For someone who doesn’t get lots of cavities, it’s a waste.”

4) Night guards. I was also offered a $700 night guard during my recent visit, due to some signs of wear on my teeth, presumably caused by nighttime grinding.

In truth, some people do need night guards — mainly if they have TMJ pain, or show especially high rates of wear. But all people gradually wear down their teeth over the course of their lifetimes, and not everyone needs a night guard. Some dental practices simply prescribe them to most patients as a matter of course.

5) Sealants. Dental sealants are preventative coatings applied to the surface of your molars to prevent plaque from accumulating in the pits on their surfaces. They can be useful in some cases — especially for cavity-prone kids — but are also overprescribed by some dentists.

“The problem is, a lot of the time, those teeth weren’t going to decay anyway, you’ve weakened the tooth by etching into it to adhere the sealant,” my dad said. “An office that does a lot of sealant for adults is something to watch out for.”

Here’s What You Can Do To Prevent Being Ripped Off


Ask to see X-rays and get a second opinion. 

Virtually all honest dentists will gladly show you X-rays of your teeth that contain evidence of the work you need. “X-rays, legally, are your property. A dentist can charge for them, but they have to share them with you.

Dental School Clinics

If you’re stuck and having trouble finding a dentist you trust, my father recommended one unorthodox option: going for a consultation at the clinics operated by most dental schools.

“The work can take a long time, and the hours can be pretty restricted, but they’re inexpensive and the work is generally very good. That’s because having work done at a dental school clinic inherently involves a huge amount of oversight: every diagnosis and filling is checked over by several students and professors.

Article Source: Vox.com. To Read The Full Article Click Here

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