Wednesday, September 2, 2015

The Ever-Growing Problem of Over-diagnosing in Dentistry

You can't avoid the shell-shock reflex....imagine you've just been to the dentist and he said you need, what?  A half dozen crowns.. or maybe it was veneers....or even a full mouth restoration? $5000, $10,000....or eeek!  $35,000? Your head is spinning. You can't even think! Surely he was kidding, right? What now?

This is a growing problem in dentistry...it truly has become an art and as such, well, artists can command their price, right?  It is unfortunate but in today's market it is a reality.  One can visit 5 dentists and get 5 separate and varying opinions at various levels of expense. Why is that, you ask?  It's a legitimate question.  Let's touch on the obvious, although I hate to bring more negativity, but greed is a factor.  Then we can move to the less obvious, the things that most wouldn't think of;  The Dental Schools.  Frankly, some dental schools teach a more conservative curriculum than others and where he went to school makes a difference as to the quality and ummm..[ambition] of a dentists practice. Geographical location is yet another factor...it stands to reason that if you are in a more affluent area you will pay more for just about everything, right down to the cost of an ordinary hamburger.  Other factoring points are high overhead costs such as equipment, payroll and malpractice insurance. The thing is, however, all of that aside; it isn't like dentists are starving here...their median income is probably right around $120,000 per year. Now, I'm talking about general dentists.  I'm not even going to venture into the financial world of the specialists. That's another topic for another day.

So, the question here is:  What can you do if you suspect you've been over-diagnosed or upsold? The first thing is to not panic!  As long as you haven't signed a contract then your treatment plan is exactly that...a plan.  You can opt in or opt out, but before you make any decision you should get a second opinion.  Maybe even a third, just to find medium ground. Solicit your friends and family members for the name of their trusted dentist.  Get a good, solid recommendation. Talk it over with a professional consultant or someone whose opinion you trust. You can never research too much.

This is the best advice I can offer!  Forewarned is forearmed.

Keep smiling!

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