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bossyvossy

What do you make of this new dentist?

bossyvossy
3 years ago

Our dentist of 20+ years retired and sold his practice to a chain. We have been religious about dental care and up to 12 months ago DH didn't have so much as a cavity. On today’s visit, the dentist says he needs 5, count them, five crowns. Hubs said doc showed him pics of cracks.

How could it happen that all’s ok for years and now all’s gone to sh@t?

heed his recommendations or change dentist? Has anybody had this or similar experience?

Comments (60)

  • Chi
    3 years ago
    last modified: 3 years ago

    I've been fairly lucky but I did have one dentist that was a cash grab. I say this because I went there and he recommended a crown, and the 2 coworkers I referred there both needed crowns as well. We were all in our 20's and had excellent dental history. I just thought it was a little too much of a coincidence.

    But I was young and didn't really know about second opinions or I would have gotten one.

    He also did a terrible job. I've had to have that particular crown replaced 3x because he ground the tooth down so much.

  • rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7
    3 years ago

    What a coincidence! We had our routine six month check up today, too. We both usually see the same dentist in a partnership and like her very much. Today, however, she was out of the office and her partner handled the routine dental check up after the hygienist was finished with her job.

    This partner suggested that my husband needed to replace two crowns and I needed to replace one! All of a sudden we're both having issues with crowns? I felt irked by what felt like upselling.

    I am sure going have a discussion with our usual dentist about it when I see her in six months but I think that you should have a second opinion, bossy. What if your old dentist has been negligent? That's not unheard of, by any means.

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  • marcopolo5
    3 years ago

    I have worked in a dental office for 40 years. Sushipup is telling you the truth. Income has to be generated to cover the huge overhead. Most of the folks over 55 have a lot of filled teeth. Ideally a crown would avoid a fractured cusp or a huge new restoration. Most of the teeth with large fillings done properly will last a very long time. If cost is no object, go for the crowns. If you go for regular semi annual examination with bite wing xrays, it will show if you need fillings or a crown.

    The office where I worked had many patients that wintered in FL. They would come back in the Spring and say they had their teeth cleaned while away and the office they visited said they needed 10 to 20 thousand dollars of treatment. Not really necessary, but very ideal to maximize income.

    Get a recomendation from friends and avoid large dental centers with many dentists on staff.

  • Michael
    3 years ago

    I'm still grinding food with 5 molars that supposedly needed a root canal and crowns. That was 8 or 9 years ago. My dentist at that time was young and ambitious and in debt. The referral saw no need to proceed.

  • aok27502
    3 years ago

    I am ready to change dentists because of the cash grab. Every time I go there, she has some new X-ray or treatment that is "really important to good dental health." Yeah, sure. In 55 years, I have never once had a separate X-ray of my front teeth. I declined the opportunity for that $70 experience.

    If we weren't planning to leave the area in the near future, I would find someone else to clean my teeth.

  • terilyn
    3 years ago

    He retired and sold to a group, of course they are going to find problems.$$$

  • bob_cville
    3 years ago

    I second the opinion of all those who say to get a second opinion. I think as with vet practices that are bought out by a chain, some of the dental-practice chains likely have "guidelines" for care that are far more about generating revenue that about providing good dental care.

  • Georgysmom
    3 years ago

    One of two things. Either the old dentist wasn't as good as you thought, or the new dentist is trying to make some quick bucks. I go with a second opinion and then you'll have your answer.

  • sushipup1
    3 years ago

    And make sure that the second opinion is from a well-established dentist in a non-"corporate" office.

  • sjerin
    3 years ago

    My dh once had a specialized dentist who kept telling him he needed new crowns. coincidentally, a friend was seeing the same dentist and he was telling her the same thing. After a year of this and a couple of new crowns, dh quit seeing him and went back to the dentist the rest of the family sees--no new crowns in 20 years. I absolutely believe some dentists "see" cracks no one else does.

  • Elmer J Fudd
    3 years ago

    Many cracks can be felt with a dental probe, not just seen. If on a flat piece of the tooth, running a probe along the enamel and hitting a crack, is like running the back side of a plastic pen along a shower tile and then hitting a grout joint. It's an obstruction that stops it.

  • sjerin
    3 years ago

    If there were a crack, I'm sure one would feel pain with hot/cold foods. Twenty years passing says something....

  • Elmer J Fudd
    3 years ago
    last modified: 3 years ago

    "If there were a crack, I'm sure one would feel pain with hot/cold foods."

    I don't think that's always true but I'm not certain. I think some can be superficial.

  • theresafic
    3 years ago
    last modified: 3 years ago

    Just have to chime in because I had a very similar experience a year ago.

    didnt want to pay for dental insurance any longer so I went for a check up and cleaning to a dentist offering a deal on cleaning. Older dentist said teeth were fine, but could get a couple of crowns if I wanted for cosmetic reasons only. I declined. Returned 3 months later for another cleaning and the dental hygienist saw cracks which probably needed crowns. New younger dentist confirmed two crowns, 2100.00

    i opted for a second opinion, but didn’t no who to trust so I went to the local dental school, which was a little bit of a hassle but ok.

    Two dental students plus their supervisor saw me, looked at the X-rays ( same as from the first dentist had them emailed) and did not see any need for crowns.

    January I got back on insurance and had teeth cleaning. Regular dentist out so fill saw me. He recommended two old fillings be replaced ( different teeth from crown recommendation). My dentist repacked fillings.asked both dentist specifically about crowns they said I did not need them

    the dentist who recommended crow s had a new expensive crown making machine.

    my dentist said I do have cracks but they are vertical not horizontal which do not need crowns

  • WalnutCreek Zone 7b/8a
    3 years ago

    Just remember, it is a chain, and they are in business to make money. My advice is don't go to a chain dental practice.

  • Hareball
    3 years ago
    last modified: 3 years ago

    If you do go to another dentist for a second opinion I wouldn't mention the previous dentist finding cracks. That way there is no influence. Let them do an examination and see what they find. If you had been going to the previous one for years I doubt he would ignore something he thought would have negative effects. People can live with small issues just fine. Your husband never complained so why mess with anything. He may have been trying to save you money. If it wasn't broke don't mess with it sort of thing. There are a lot of professionals trying to paying for their fancy new toys with their patients' wallets.

    bossyvossy thanked Hareball
  • bossyvossy
    Original Author
    3 years ago

    I dont know if it’s the same in your area, but we have about as many dental offices as we have Starbucks. I’m already looking at Nextdoor for names.

  • Elmer J Fudd
    3 years ago
    last modified: 3 years ago

    "Just remember, it is a chain, and they are in business to make money"

    Do you intend this as a pejorative or damning comment? Do you know anyone, excepting those with enough wealth to have no further financial needs, who works or is in business for a reason OTHER than to make money? I don't.

  • bossyvossy
    Original Author
    3 years ago
    last modified: 3 years ago

    The issue is not making money, the issue is making money using subterfuge. And that will remain mere speculation until we get 2nd opinion.

  • ghostlyvision
    3 years ago

    Google the chain and see what patients/reviewers say about them, it's likely to be eye-opening. A second opinion is definitely warranted.

  • Mrs. S
    3 years ago

    Isn't one of their prominent trade magazines called The Profitable Dentist?

    I would never assume that anyone shouldn't make as much money as they can charge, except for the fact that the unsuspecting public typically relies on their honesty and good advice about the work that is necessary/desirable. I mean, it would seem a bit surprising if there were a magazine entitled The Profitable Hemo-Oncologist, or something. (To draw an imperfect analogy).

  • WalnutCreek Zone 7b/8a
    3 years ago

    @Elmer: You stated, "Do you intend this as a pejorative or damning comment?" My meaning is a pejorative. You are correct that anyone is business is in it to make money. Having known the head of a dental school for many years, he advised that chains totally "invent" dental needs that are not truly necessary and he recommended never to use a chain dentistry concern. I admire and respect the man greatly, as a person and as a dentist, so tend to follow and give his advice. That is not saying that dentist in private practice do not enhance the needs for dental care, also.

    You also stated you don't believe all dental cracks create pain. That is true. I have had a crack in one tooth for many years, and it has never caused me any pain.

  • kadefol
    3 years ago

    I had a similar experience. Went to the same dentist for years, according to them just needed a dental cleaning once a year, great gums, no dental problems, all was well.

    Husband switched to a new dentist because he heard she did great restoration on chipped teeth and he had chips in his front teeth. She did a fantastic job and he talked me into going there as well. It had been just over a year since my last dental cleaning and she found a cavity and gum problems and pockets that required a deep cleaning.

    The only thing I can figure is that since the gum deterioration coincided with menopause, it was related. She also recommended a deep cleaning for husband which was not suspicious because he has battled gum problems for years and what she told him was exactly what the previous dentist said.

  • Debby
    3 years ago

    I went to a different dentist a few years back because I couldn't get into my own (too booked up) and I had a ton of pain in my gums. While my teeth were fine, I think I had gingivitis. I couldn't eat or drink and even air hurt my mouth. So I went to the dentist next door to my work. Big mistake. They cleaned my teeth, which they said should not have caused the pain I was having. My teeth weren't "that" bad to do that. But, he wanted to change all my metal fillings to white fillings. I was in so much pain, I thought what the heck, why not? Maybe that's causing the pain. I allowed him to do two teeth on the left side of my mouth: the first molar next to my eye tooth and the one beside it.


    He removed the fillings and put in new white filling. BUT, he cracked the tooth next to my eye tooth and said he repaired it. A while later, I noticed a big lump at the top of my gum above the teeth he fixed. It looked like it was full of puss, but it never hurt. It was big though, almost he size of a dime and it stuck out quite a bit. Part of me was tempted to poke it, but thought I would get my regular dentist to have a peek.


    He was NOT impressed. He asked who made the mess of my mouth, so I told him. He said, "first: the filling he put in this tooth (he tapped the 2nd molar) should have been a root canal. He drilled too deep and that has caused the infection you have that can only be fixed by removing the tooth!" I asked why he can't just do the root canal. He said it was damaged too badly now. Then he said, "and he cracked this tooth and did the worst job of fixing it I've ever seen!". This is what happens when you see a quack that only see $ $ $ when you open your mouth. Now I have a gapping hole on the left side of my mouth and he fixed my other molar.

  • Elmer J Fudd
    3 years ago

    Walnut Creek, I think we agree more than not. I was focusing on the words you used which I think was what misled me. Everyone in business of any kind does so to make money, so that's not a thoughtful accusation. I agree there are sadly too many dentists who operate in a self-opportunistic way. But lots who don't, you just need to find them.


    What I think is a bigger risk with so-called "chains", and the biggest one in my area is Western Dental, is that they tend to have a lot of crappy dentists. Not all, but too many. They run high flow operations and let's just say the professionalism suffers. On the plus side, California has a state program for dental services for low income people called Denti-Cal and few dentists accept it because of the very low reimbursement rates. Western Dental is, I believe, the largest provider in the system and they accept it everywhere. So good for them, but I think that sets the tone for the lack of thoughtful personal service patients get.

  • WalnutCreek Zone 7b/8a
    3 years ago

    You hit the nail on the head, Elmer, about chains employing, for the most part, dentists who graduated in the lower third of their class. It is always good to try to find out in what part of the class anyone of provides medical/dental care graduated.

  • Oakley
    3 years ago

    I have a few crowns in my mouth and each time one was needed I knew something was wrong. If your husband needed five crowns, he'd know it.

    What the new dentist should have said was that your dh will eventually need five crowns.

    There's a new chain of dentists not far from me, and from what I've heard they try to squeeze every last cent out of you, especially if you have dental insurance.

    Get the x-rays and do like sushi said, go elsewhere and don't look back. And yes, stay away from corporations.

  • Elmer J Fudd
    3 years ago
    last modified: 3 years ago

    "It is always good to try to find out in what part of the class anyone of provides medical/dental care graduated."

    That's a question you'll rarely get a straight answer to from any professional of any kind, especially if the truth is that it's toward the bottom. And which for a long list of reasons isn't always a good indication of the individual's clinical or professional (if outside of the health sciences) capability and may be misleading. As a quick "for instance", many who are good at book learning and test taking may be lacking in the judgement and ability to apply what was learned.

  • Elmer J Fudd
    3 years ago
    last modified: 3 years ago

    "stay away from corporations"

    In my area, many dentists working in their own practices are incorporated, for tax and certain liability reasons. So the office sign may say "Fred Flintstone, DDS, a Professional Corporation. General and Aesthetic Dentistry" To you as a patient, that means nothing at all.

  • Oakley
    3 years ago

    It was my dentist who told me you won't find out what part of the class the person graduated with. But here's a good example why it doesn't matter anyway.

    We have a good school system and when my DS graduated from high school, he graduated in the middle of his class, with a B average. Come to find out, they were all A and B averages with the exception of one C average.

    It's been proven that those who graduate from state universities do the same or better than those who graduate from an ivy league school. Basically it's a crap shoot. lol

    Elmer, I meant chain dentists. Sorry for the confusion.

  • sushipup1
    3 years ago
    last modified: 3 years ago

    Yes, yes, of course, Elmer, I did not word that properly. I was referring to the large chain commercial operations. (I probably worded that incorrectly, as well.)

  • cynic
    3 years ago

    To me, it's pretty clear. Get a second opinion. There is always the possibility the other guy wasn't competent. Put your mind at ease before going through that. I'd be asking how it could happen all of a sudden. Maybe it's possible, IDK. But I'd feel better after a 2nd op.

  • chisue
    3 years ago

    How can you discover if your local dentist or dental partnership is part of a chain? (Other than their telling you you need $10K worth of work?)

    Our longtime dentist died early in life. A real 'mover and shaker' bought the practice. He added our familiar receptionist and hygienist. I tried him once for a cleaning by *his* hygienist (who, told me she just 'filled in' and left me with the feeling she was not certified). She did a terrible job. At this 'introductory' appointment, the dentist required that I have a whole mouth X-ray -- a halo-type gizmo that I stood under while the thing buzzed and zapped all around my head. I could practically feel the money being sucked out of my pocket.

    So...we dropped him and tried a couple in partnership, recommended by a friend. HE was OK. SHE was a con artist. She tried to sell DH 'deep cleaning'. She replaced a filling for me and the adjacent tooth cracked within two weeks.

    We are now on Dentist Number Three. This is a partnership, in business in our town for a long time. I've only had an emergency repair, but DH went there last week for a cleaning and exam. The cleaning took *forever* ($120). He got an "Intraoral Full Mouth Image" ($170). Evaluation was $134. Sounds OK, right?

    Ah, but he's told he needs $3435 of work -- two 2-hour appointments or four 1-hour. Crown replacement with Core buildup. Another tooth (one of two old silver fillings) for Porcel/Ceram Onlay. They have an internal lab.

    I know we are Seniors, with Senior Teeth! We are just a little skeptical.

  • leona_2008
    3 years ago

    Another vote for a second opinion. Years ago, I had a dentist say my son and I both had several cavities all at once. Neither of us were cavity-prone before then. Even though we had been going to this dentist for a couple years and had really liked him, I was leery. We went to a new dentist who said we had no cavities.

    As for crowns, my dentist had never suggested I needed any until a piece of a molar broke off. I had had no issues with that tooth, so was shocked when that happened. A couple of years later, my dentist told me I had two more teeth that would require crowns, one right away and the other he would monitor. I made it well into my 50's before needing any crowns, so I think age is the main factor. I have vertical cracks in both of my upper front center teeth. Never saw them until I installed a magnifying mirror to check my makeup. My dentist says they are nothing to worry about.

  • bossyvossy
    Original Author
    3 years ago

    A little o/t. Years ago I went to a husband and wife practice. I was happy w/them until they divorced. For months I’d get correspondence from both begging for my biz and badmouthing the EX. I couldn’t believe they could do that. Naturally I never went back to either. All this to say not all mom&mop biz are safe.

  • chisue
    3 years ago

    Another OT -- This reminds me of when our vet proudly displayed a copy of MONEY magazine with his face on the cover. Guess he didn't recognize the downside perception.

  • Hareball
    3 years ago

    What do you call a doctor with the lowest grade in the graduating class? Doctor

    bossyvossy thanked Hareball
  • bossyvossy
    Original Author
    2 years ago

    Sigh.....it was time for my dental cleaning at this franchise type clinic. Just like with my husband, they showed me some dramatic pics of cracks and the need to put crowns on them ASAP. Also tried to sell me a $500 dental tray to stop grinding, and a recommendation to go to cleanings every 4 months. My dental history has not changed in 20 years. Yet, just this visit it was determined I needed all these things.

    I want to be open and accepting of new technologies but this smells so much like trying to sell me crap in the name of profits, that it makes my head spin.

    oh, and the oral cancer screening. I declined it but when I came home I looked it up and doesn’t seem like a must do.

    Oral cancer screening

    I am changing dentists.


  • socks
    2 years ago

    Check with friends or your physician to get a recommendation of an established local dentist.

    Maybe I missed it--what did your DH do?

    Yikes, crowns are so expensive but so worth it! Gotta keep the teeth.

  • bossyvossy
    Original Author
    2 years ago

    Crowns are important but my issue is the new franchise says we need them, when there’s no pain or discomfort. How did this happen after consecutive 20+ years of uneventful good health for both of us? We both went to same doc for 20+ years and have excellent teeth and suddenly, within 6 months we both need crowns? I believe my prev. Dr was very competent and NO WAY would he have overlooked our need for crowns, he was conservative. I just have trouble accepting the apparently sudden need crowns, which happens to coincide with new practice, a franchise type.

    Of course, answer will be to get a 2nd opinion, which we plan to do. Hubs is due in a couple of months. I hope to find new dentist by then. Meanwhile, no problems or pain for him. What a pain.

  • Kathsgrdn
    2 years ago

    The only time I ever had a crown put on was when my tooth literally broke partially off. Went for years with a broken tooth because of the cost and finally got it fixed when my dentist had a student dentist doing them for almost nothing. Then she dropped me as a patient soon after that because my insurance wouldn't pay enough. I thought that was weird. Had the same insurance for years, they only pay for cleaning and xrays, yearly check up. Nothing else so not sure why she dropped me, especially since they told me she wouldn't be sending my insurance a bill for any of that work since I was willing to let a student work on me. Had that dentist since we moved here in early 2000, Haven't found another one yet.

  • bossyvossy
    Original Author
    2 years ago

    I want to be open to the latest tech advances in diagnostics, etc but my gut tells me this isn’t it.


  • Elmer J Fudd
    2 years ago

    Dental insurance isn't really insurance but more prepayments for services. Benefits are limited, needs sometimes aren't.


    If your insurance wouldn't pay the normal fee, didn't you have the opportunity to pay the difference?

  • maifleur01
    2 years ago

    Most dental insurance has a cap on the amount that they will pay. Unless you have a high cost plan. It may say that it covers crowns but if the policy maxes out at $1,000 or whatever amount is listed all they will pay is the $1,000 and nothing more.

    Depending on your area you may find that the premiums of dental insurance when added together may be more than what you would be paying your dentist for twice a year cleaning and one set of x-rays. If you have children you may save some money but better to add the cost of insurance up vs. actual cost of dental proceedures.

  • Kathsgrdn
    2 years ago

    Elmer, the only time I pay for things that my insurance doesn't cover is for things like fillings and crowns. The dentist never billed me for routine cleanings/yearly check up and x-rays, over what my insurance paid. For some reason after getting this cheap crown (I only paid a small fee...about $130) they dropped me. That was the arrangement for allowing the dental student to work on me.

  • Elmer J Fudd
    2 years ago

    Something sounds not right but okay.

  • maifleur01
    2 years ago

    Kath was it the dentist that dropped you or the insurance company? It sounds like the dentist dropped you which may or may not have anything to do with the insurance. Perhaps the insurance found out about the dental students doing the work and dropped her.

  • Kathsgrdn
    2 years ago

    Maifleur01, the dentist dropped me. I got a letter from them stating they were no longer taking Blue Cross/Blue Shield because they don't pay enough. It was just a couple weeks after I had that crown. The dental students have to get experience somehow, the dentist was in checking on her work throughout the procedure, so it's not like she was on her own. I doubt the insurance company knew about it. I'm just wondering if they went and tried to bill some of it to them even though they told me they weren't going to. I don't know. Weird thing is they sent me a message later saying I was due for a check up....messaged them back with "you dropped my insurance company so won't be coming back".

  • jemdandy
    2 years ago

    Get a second opinion. Maybe crowns are needed or maybe not.

  • rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7
    2 years ago

    We have had to pay for secondary dental insurance for a few years, though covered by excellent BC/BS of Alabama. I expect that as we age, dental coverage becomes very important. We both have ancient fillings in our teeth.

    Our coverage is helpful for biannual cleanings and check-ups but (expectedly) our share of crowns, root canals, etc., is high.

    But we all have to be vigilant about the dental care we receive and unfortunately, that means being suspicious about diagnoses which don't make good sense.