New Dentist....does this smell right?

Discussion in 'Budget Board' started by IluvKingLouis, Jun 4, 2009.

  1. IluvKingLouis

    IluvKingLouis DIS Veteran

    Oct 18, 2004
    Every time I've made an appointment for a cleaning it's been pretty cut and dry. You show up, get a few (like 8-10) x-rays, and get your teeth cleaned.

    Now due to being uninsured for a few years, and having to fight with our current insurance to refer us to a local spot, DH and I tried to book an appointment for a cleaning.

    Well, they wouldn't take us for a cleaning, but wanted to appraise us first. I had over 20 xrays taken, and the Dentist did some poking around and determined that DH and I both needed a "deep" cleaning.

    Our deductables will be about $38.00 each, but the insurance company will be billed $1400 for my cleaning and $2400 for DH. We will both need some numbing because this will be painful and will be carried out over two visits.

    I'm just wondering if we are really in such bad shape or if this is a way to milk money out of insurance companies (I'm no fan of insurance companies). I've just never heard of going through some sort of an assessment prior to getting a cleaning.

    Am I wrong to be suspect?
  2. MichelleinMaine

    MichelleinMaine DIS Veteran

    Jan 22, 2008
    Unless you and your husband have some serious dental problems, that sounds nuts to me.
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  4. NikiM20

    NikiM20 <font color=blue>This is my first exchange so play

    May 10, 2003
    I went to a dentist once and they tried the same thing. I switched to a new dentist. Now over 5 years later I am still ok, and still have all of my teeth ;) Our new dentist is someone I trust, I grew up with his kids so I have known him forever. Good Luck!!
  5. kadesha

    kadesha DIS Veteran

    Jun 7, 2008
    sounds crazy to me!
  6. lindsmom

    lindsmom DIS Veteran

    Oct 15, 2007
    Wow... I can see why you'd be suspicious. I had missed a few (ahem - five ish) years of cleanings and I thought I'd be in trouble because my last dentist had said I had two cavities I needed to fill. When I finally went (after five ish years), they said my teeth looked great and couldn't believe it had been that long. I asked if there were any cavities and they said no. Hm. So I have a tendency to be suspicious of medical professionals...

    It sounds like a lot of work they want to do to you, and unless you've only been eating chocolate and not brushing since your last visit (which if you're like me, you probably were taking better care because you knew you weren't going to the dentist soon), then I find it hard to believe that you need all that work.

    I would warn you to check your coverage - I had a dentist (well, the hygienist) who wanted to spread my cleaning ("debridement") over two appointments because she didn't want to traumatize my gums too much, although I personally felt fine. Turns out my insurance only covered one visit per six months and I would have been on the hook for that second visit. Needless to say, it's now been a few years again since I've gone :rolleyes1

    I'm sorry I don't know what more to say - I know there are often some dental professionals on this board, so maybe they can provide some more insight... just wanted to say I see where you're coming from, and I can understand your hesitation.
  7. Joan S.

    Joan S. DIS Veteran<br><font color=blue>Needs to 'fess up

    Mar 13, 2001
    Hi, A DENTIST tried this on my DH a few years ago,same thing evaluation,x-rays and come back for the DEEP CLEANING. I told my DH to go to my dentist and see what they said. They JUST cleaned his teeth and it was covered by our insurance. My dentist never said he needed anything more and years later he just gets his yearly cleaning and has NO dental problems. So this sounds like a SCAM to me!! Joan
  8. penjen

    penjen DIS Veteran

    Mar 10, 2004
    When I was in my early 20's I didn't go to the dentist since I didn't have insurance. Once I did I found one close and they looked at my teeth and did x-rays and told me I needed 4 fillings.:scared1:
    I decided to get a second opinion since I rarely would get cavities as a kid. Went to the next dentist and they didn't find anything and were complimenting me on my teeth.
    To think the first dentist was going to basically ruin my teeth for insurance money gets me so mad!

    So no, I wouldn't get your work done!
  9. robinb

    robinb DIS Veteran

    Aug 29, 1999
    20 x-rays? You must be glowing! Even your "normal" 8-10 x-rays every 6 months is over the top. $1200+ for a cleaning? This sounds like a total scam to me. I would make sure you get those x-rays to bring to your next dentist. You paid a fortune for them already.
  10. blondietink

    blondietink DIS Veteran

    Jun 22, 2008
    I have no dental insurance and only go for a cleaning at my local dentist once per year and they give me a discount because I have no insurance. Costs me less than $100.00 and I am good to go, although they would like me to go twice a year for cleanings but I said no. Sounds like you are getting scammed. :cool2:
  11. eyeheartgoofy

    eyeheartgoofy DIS Veteran

    Sep 6, 2006
    What??!! Are you sure it wasn't $140 and $240?

    $1400 and $2400 sounds like the dentist needs a new boat ... not like you need a cleaning!
  12. Diana Lyn

    Diana Lyn <font color=9933cc>A sucker for 90210<br><font col

    Apr 12, 2002
    The same EXACT thing recently happened to me. I went in after about 4-5 years. They took like 20 xrays, said they couldn't clean my teeth because I needed the deep cleaning, made it out like my teeth were about to fall out of my mouth. I'm in no pain, I have no problems.

    They gave me a "treatment plan" that showed $4500 with minimal insurance coverage. So I asked them to verify the amount paid by my insurance, they said it was right. I contacted my insurance company and they said no way could the dentist tell what they would/would not pay without the insurance company seeing my xrays, treatment plan etc. I've gone back and forth over a month with this dentist now and they will not submit this info to the insurance company. That's enough of a red flag to me to run in the opposite direction. You should probably do the same.
  13. blkhwks55

    blkhwks55 Mouseketeer

    Dec 27, 2007
    This happened to my wife. She switched dentists to make it easier for my DD3 to go and get her teeth cleaned. My wife never had any problems and just had her teeth cleaned 6 mos earlier w/o any issues. The dental hygentist said they had to do a deep cleaning and never explained what she meant by it. The dentist came by and ok'd it. Well my insurance didn't cover it at all. We were liable for the bill, and to top it off when she switched back to my dentist, they said the other guy had to be a crook because the only way you'd have that done, is if it your teeth are in disgusting shape. That should never be done on a person who brushes regularly.

  14. Poohbear5

    Poohbear5 DIS Veteran

    Jul 10, 2008
    Don't go back there!!! Listen to your instincts!

    We also had cavities disappear when we went to a new dentist. Our previous dentist appeared to have his staff on commission or profiting sharing. It was like going to a used car salesman.

    My biggest regret is not changing sooner when my gut was telling me to do so. My son had inappropriate treatment that I will never forgive myself for authorizing to these sheisters.

    Ask friends for a recommendation, call the state licensing dental board to check for complaints before starting with a new guy.

    If your teeth are truly in such poor shape, they will still be lousy in 3-6 months so don't rush into something you may regret.
  15. IluvKingLouis

    IluvKingLouis DIS Veteran

    Oct 18, 2004
    OP here! Please keep the comments coming. Trying to get DH agreeable to a second opinion even if it's on our own dime.

    I have never had a cavity (nor did they find any), I'm a regular brusher and rarely eat sweets (don't like them). Now I am an on again off again flosser...I know bad.

    Please keep your stories coming!
  16. zgirl

    zgirl Mouseketeer

    Oct 21, 2006
    I had a dentist tell me my daughter had 5 cavities. I felt suspicious and got a second opinion from a friend's husband who is a dentist but didn't take our insurance. Sure enough - NO cavities! My daughter was 4 at the time. I hate to think about her getting 5 unnecessary fillings. I was LIVID!!! My daughter still has no fillings/cavities to date! Trust your instinct!!


    May 28, 2002
    Yes, I think we were scammed for years from our dentist. I loved the office staff so we kept going back. Then we started comparing notes with others and it was as we suspected. We have good insurance and pay for supplemental dental. Everytime we went in, there was something expensive and wrong. Our insurance pays 80% but we were still on the hook for the 20% and that's alot when its the same thing over and over. Especially with DH. He needed a new crown every 6 months. They would crack, break etc. and i thought he was just eating incorrectly. But then my fillings started to break down in less than a year and I am a chondriac about my teeth!! I have Orthodontics so I was cleaning every 3 months and my fillings were still falling out!

    Then, last month DH took my son for his eye exam. Our Co-pay is $5. We took him to an in-network Dr. and they charged him an additional Co-Pay of $20 even though we specifically requested a basic exam.
    Well this Dr. is an Opthamologist that specializes in the "Health of the Eyes" and they checked my son without our consent or knowledge and billed our medical insurance for a medical procedure that cost about $200 bucks. I told her we did not ask for that, my son has no problems with his eyes except he broke his glasses! She said she would refund our co-pay but still bill the visit as an exam and a Dr. visit. I reported them to my insurance company. I pay enough already without these doctors padding the bills.

    The clincher was my Physical last year. I get a call that I need to come back for my blood work results. I panic and rush over. They bill me another co pay and my insurance another dr. visit to tell me Im anemic, which i clearly was not due to other factors that were fully divulged and treated during my physical. I felt really ripped off, when I found out what they called me back for, even though I was only out $10 bucks.

    So if you have good insurance and it pays quickly, watch out. All the Dr. offices will try to make you their best patient.:eek:
  18. SandrA9810

    SandrA9810 DIS Veteran

    Jul 24, 2005
    I had to get quite a few fillings when I went for the first time after like 6 years. Of course I did believe them, because even after the x-rays, they used a tiny camera and took pictures of every cavity. And showed them to me on the screen.

    I'm mad because Kari had to have lots of work done and one tooth was pretty bad that they had to do a build up on the tooth and crown. But because she didn't need a root canal, the insurance wouldn't cover the cost of it. So on top of like the 1,000 out of pocket we had to pay (she went nee-noz), there's still a balance of like 500$.

    But they still allow us to go get our teeth cleaned and stuff with the balance still there.
  19. RobinFabulous

    RobinFabulous I like french toast!!!

    Apr 18, 2008
    I'm going to be the voice of dissention here.... Do you have any problems with your gums? Do they ever bleed? Do you smoke? Drink a lot of sugary things. Often deep cleanings are the precessor to dealing with gum disease. If you've gone for years without cleaning you could possibly have deposits under your gums. Deep cleaning is supposed to pull away the gums and clean under there. I had it done a few years ago, I had deposits under my gums. It was very expensive and I had a specialist do it. DH just had one done, in December, he's a smoker. Get a second opinion if you need to, but some of the extra x-rays could have been looking for bone loss.

    My teeth are much better after mine, mine was very deep and I was lucky not to lose teeth or have any bone loss. I had partially impacted wisdom teeth and they allowed germs and plaque to get under my gum line. I had the dleaning, removed the wisdom teeth, and haven't had a problem since.
  20. IluvKingLouis

    IluvKingLouis DIS Veteran

    Oct 18, 2004

    I'm certain I have some bone loss. I do brush 3-4 times a day (I'm at home and brush after every meal/snack), and I'm an on again off again flosser.

    I don't drink soft drinks (ice tea brewed at home and water), and I don't care for sweets.

    I have no doubt that at 45 I have some problems as a result of aging. DH has cavities from way back when and it doesn't surprise me that his prognosis was so much worse then mine.

    I will gladly have a deep cleaning done if that's what I need. Something about the whole visit didn't feel right.

    There weren't even private rooms. There were half walls seperating each section so I could here everything that was being told to the other patients. It felt like an assembly line operation.
  21. mommybrown

    mommybrown Mouseketeer

    Nov 11, 2008
    I am a dental hygienist and understand all the confusion. I can only speak personally from the offices that I have worked at. HTH When we diagnose a deep cleaning (or perio scaling) it is based on the amount of bone loss, pocket depths, and tarter/calculus buildup. This is done by taking probing depths, x-rays, and a visual exam. Hopefully someone explained to you what they were doing and what the results were. As a professional I have no idea what insurance covers, I make my initial diagnosis based on exam. Technically a hygienist cannot make the diagnosis, only the dentist.
    I do not guarantee a cleaning on the first visit as patients have varying levels of build up and stain. I have no way of knowing how much time to schedule. I feel that a rush cleaning does not promote good health. I have been in dentistry 16 years and have had patients who have been away from the dentist for many years and had very easy cleanings. I have also had those who have been absent for a year or two, and needed the deeper(perio) cleanings.
    My advice to you is have the hygienist and/or dr. explain the results of your exam. Make sure that they can show you on your x-rays the bone loss or buildup. If you still are uncomfortable, by all means, get a second opinion. I have had patients in my chair, who after the exam, asked if they needed a deep cleaning. I have had to say no according to my exam. Hope that this helps a little, just like anything else opinions vary. I have seen dentists be very pro active and dentists be very lax. Personally, I prefer to have problems fixed when small, rather than "watch" them and they get bigger.
    Sorry to hear that some of you have had bad experiences at the dentist.

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