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Why does my dentist feel I need so much work done?

Several years ago, my niece called me in tears. “Uncle Ricky, I just went to the dentist and he said I need $5000 worth of dental treatment! I’m only 25!!!!”

She had just seen a new dentist in Burlington, Vermont. His beautiful office had all the latest equipment,  a large staff and (wait for it…) a massive loan to cover. I did call this fellow and he couldn’t really justify the treatment. As a doctor, he was caught in an awful lie: should he take care of the patient as he had pledged,upon graduation or should he take care of his staff, his family and his loans? My niece is now several years older and has had little, if any treatment, that that doctor recommended.

Sometimes an expensive treatment plans is justified. Without seeing you and your records, I cannot make that determination. But God gave you a brain – get a second opinion. There are dentists who stretch the point and over-treat.

Here are some phrases that make me think that you should seek a second opinion:

  • Your fillings are old and need to be replaced
  • All of your silver fillings need to be replaced with white ones
  • You need a full mouth deep cleaning (and the dentist offers no explanation)
  • All of your past dental work has to be replaced because it’s bad
  • Your old dentist was a butcher and did lousy work

Also, if the doctor has not figured out why you are having problems (Do you drink tons of soda? Is your mouth super dry because of medications? Were you in an accident that damaged your teeth?), all of your dental treatment may be for naught.

The doctor should treat you with the utmost respect and not “bully you” into treatment. And the doctor should be willing to share his or her findings with you and justify the treatment recommended. If the doctor does not want to share those records because he/she thinks you will ask someone for a second opinion, RUN!

 

– Dr. Rick Liftig

 

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