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Dentistry is an important part of healthcare. Seeing a good dentist can positively impact your quality of life. Unfortunately, as in any other industry, not every practitioner is honest or has your best interests in mind.
This means there are scams to watch out for in the dental field. In this article, we’ll talk about common dental scams, how to spot them, and how to avoid them.
The most common dishonest practice in dentistry is to insist on unnecessary treatment. For example, a dentist may encourage you to get veneers (which can cost up to $2,500 per tooth) even if you’re a good candidate for bonding, crowns, or orthodontic treatment.
Specific dental procedures may be necessary in certain situations, but a dentist may push for treatment even when it isn’t called for. This can happen with fillings, root canals, dental crowns, and other procedures.
For example, significant tooth decay will require a filling or even a root canal and/or crown. But a dishonest dentist may insist that you need a filling even in the early stages when tooth decay can be arrested. Alternatively, they may push for a root canal and/or crown when a filling is sufficient.
Other common dentistry scams or fraudulent practices include:
Some potential signs that you’re dealing with a dishonest dental office include:
If you already know you have a dental problem, you may need prompt treatment, and a sense of urgency may be appropriate. But you should be skeptical if your dentist doesn’t explain anything or the push for treatment seems unusually sudden.
Your first defense against unethical dental practices is to do your research beforehand. Find out what previous patients have said about the clinic. If reviews are overwhelmingly poor or the clinic has no online presence at all, you may want to seek a second opinion.
Once you’re in the dentist’s office, be willing to ask questions about the benefits and drawbacks of different treatments. A good dentist will be able to respond with options and explanations.
You can also always decline treatment and do more research. It’s best to look for systematic reviews in published literature rather than websites simply trying to market the procedure.
If you suspect a dentist or clinic is being dishonest, do the following:
To some extent, having insurance may help you avoid dental fraud. Perhaps most obviously, it prevents you from falling into a dental insurance scam. You won’t be in the target market of a fake insurance provider if you already have real insurance.
Insurance may also make it harder for a clinic to deceive you about pricing. This is because they’ll have to bill your insurance provider, making it harder to pass off a fraudulent or misleading bill of services.
However, it’s still possible that a dental office might try to defraud an insured patient or an insurance company. Insurance providers can’t completely eliminate the potential for deceptive billing practices.
To find a dental practice you can trust, do the following:
As in any other field, there are scams and dishonest practices in dentistry. These include misleading patients about treatment, insisting on unnecessary procedures, and deceptive billing.
You can avoid these dishonest tactics by being aware of how different dentists do things, seeing what other patients say, and making a reasonably informed decision.
Look for a dentist who communicates openly about different treatment options, their pros and cons, and their costs.
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