Wednesday, October 13, 2010

An Unscientific Medical Opinion

NPR did a piece a couple of weeks ago that included the fact that if you have two dentists look at X-rays, they differ in their diagnosis of cavities to the tune of 50%.  They also go ahead and do the filling and never tell you that they made a mistake and drilled a tooth that didn’t have a cavity.  Today in an NPR “letters” segment, dentists expressed their umbrage.  You can read more by a Google search of “NPR dentist.”

I happen to agree with the idea that dentists are money, not treatment, driven.

Three anecdotes.

Some years back my dentist suggested that I go to a periodontist to find out if I needed a procedure.  As it turns out I did, then I didn’t.  The periodontist scheduled the procedure and his staff submitted it to my insurance company.  Said company wouldn’t pay.  His scheduler then called to set up an appointment for another, less extensive procedure, surprise, that my insurance company would pay for.  I declined.  The guy had the balls to try to bill me for his time to offer me his medical opinion that I should undergo the procedure that my insurance company would pay for rather than the first uncovered, but recently medically necessary, procedure.  All my teeth and their associated gums, with brushing and flossing, are still in my mouth.

More years back a dentist told me that two back teeth with fillings desperately needed to be capped.  Said teeth, with their fillings are still in my mouth.

Yet another dentist, more recently, tried to make me agree to full mouth X-rays in a first visit before he would allow his hygienist to clean my teeth.  I declined.  I was presented with a waiver of liability form to sign.  I declined and started to leave.   The dentist magically appeared and agreed to allow the hygienist to clean my teeth without X-rays and without me signing the waiver form.  I declined.

I don’t trust dentists.


Hedy said...

I do know a dentist who provides free care to his long time elderly patients but he's the exception. Jim and I maybe had 2 cavities our whole lives until we started seeing new dentists and all of a sudden we 'need' multiple fillings each
Visit. It's bullshit. Good post.

Wes said...

I have the good fortune to know an honest dentist back in Ohio; when a dentist down here wanted to do a "deep cleaning," I said no on Dr. Bill's advice.

Dr. Bill is also a drinkin' buddy and a fine musician.

(who drives to Ohio to get dental work because there's no one like Dr. Bill)

fermicat said...

I haven't seen a dentist since I moved back to the ATL. In 2004. Ahem. It is a matter of finding a good one, and I am not motivated because nothing hurts. Last time I waited nine years and didn't have anything going on, so I figure I'm OK.

dr sardonicus said...

I have a dentist's appointment tomorrow. Thanks.