How Some Dentists Exploit Your Pain for Their Gain
Got a toothache? Be careful of who you turn to for help.
This is a continuation with the Dental Pain Management theme. In Part III we talked about Pain People and the Pain Trap.
This time I’m going to put the heat on Dentists and reveal how some take advantage of people in pain.
To begin, here’s a dirty little secret from the Dental Industry… Root Canals are highly profitable.
That’s not such a bad thing in itself. What’s troublesome is when a dentist begin slanting treatment plans for maximum profitability instead of patient benefit. It becomes a slippery slope of patient manipulation once treatment integrity has been breached.
What am I talking about? Overdoing it with the Root Canals and other invasive forms of dentistry.
What’s really disturbing is when dentists become Pain Exploiters. They start taking advantage of people in pain.
There are Root Canal Pushers, Implant Pushers, Cosmetic Pushers…
“I knew it!” you’re saying to yourself.
Wait… Before you run off on a Dentist-Hater rant, let me clarify that these Pain Exploiters are the exception, not the rule. Most dentists that I’ve met work at a level of high integrity and would do their best to help alleviate your discomfort.
How do you spot a Pain Exploiter? They’re always pushing for more invasive/expensive treatment plans. There are Root Canal Pushers, Implant Pushers, Cosmetic Pushers, you name it.
Root Canal Pushers are the Pain Exploiters. That’s where Root Canals become almost mandatory treatment for anyone with a toothache.
Uncovering the Truth about Dental Pain Exploiters
I first learned of the Pain Exploiter trend a few years back when one of my patients traveled down to Florida for a trip. When she came back I discovered a dentist had slam-dunked a Root Canal and Crown onto one of her teeth.
Once she got on that conveyor belt their was no turning back.
She had been out for dinner and bit into something hard. She got an immediate jolt of pain. Her tooth was cold sensitive and she was concerned it might get worse.
That’s a classic Cracked-Tooth situation. A newly cracked tooth will feel cold sensitive like that.
I’m not arguing whether something needed to be done. I take exception to how the dentist she saw immediately rushed her into extensive treatment. Personally, I wouldn’t take such liberties with another dentist’s patient. Most other dentists probably wouldn’t either.
Root Canal and Crown are the treatment of choice for the severe forms of Cracked Tooth Syndrome. With milder forms you can avoid the Root Canal and have a more conservative restoration instead of the full enamel-amputation that a Crown requires.
My patient’s cracked tooth was a milder version, and that meant there was no urgency to the situation. All she just needed to do was chew on the other side to avoid additional stress and have it reevaluated for appropriate care when she got back into town. No big deal.
Pain Exploiters are quick to take advantage of these situations.
I seriously doubt a Root Canal was necessary. The crown was also questionable. Too late now.
Florida can be like the Wild West in some ways, and my patient happened to find a cowboy dentist who had his fast-food systematized approach down pat for delivering a slam-bam Root Canal – Crown combo.
My patient’s situation made her an easy target and once she got on that conveyor belt there was no turning back.
Motivated by Pain
Pain is a great motivator. When you’re deep in the throes of it, there’s a sense of desperation and you’ll do whatever it takes to get out of it.
Pain Exploiters take advantage of your situation and push more expensive (and profitable) treatment solutions.
That makes you vulnerable for exploitation.
When you’re not in dental pain, Dentists have a harder time convincing you of spending anything on dental care. Wouldn’t you agree? Nobody really wants to have dentistry done in the first place.
When you have a toothache, it’s a different story. You’re a pushover for extensive treatment. You can almost here them in the background saying “We got a live one!” with the ka-ching sound of the cash register.
Pain Exploiters take advantage of your situation and push more expensive (and profitable) treatment solutions. Root Canal Treatment is often followed by a Core buildup and a Crown.
All legitimate treatment options, but more more invasive to your tooth and pocketbook.
In short order your expenses for one tooth can easily run over $2k.
The Best Dentistry?
Hands down the best dentistry is NO dentistry. Pristine, untouched teeth are living sculptures of beauty.
That’s when dentists cross the line and becomes Pain Exploiters.
The second best is the least amount possible to get the job done properly. Excessive dentistry weakens your teeth. Maxing out the dental treatment options on a tooth can leave it over-engineered and vulnerable.
Don’t get me wrong, if you have a tooth in trouble, extensive treatment to save it can definitely be appropriate. When teeth are in desperate shape, heroic measures are required to have any chance of keeping them.
What I’m talking about is a disturbing trend where dentists take advantage by leveraging your dental pain to maximize treatment and profitability. Doing more dentistry when less would be more beneficial. That’s when dentists cross the line and become Pain Exploiters.
Stay Tuned for More…
In Pain Exploiters Part II, you’ll discover the 3 Dental Sins and which specific types of dentists to avoid – the Bullies and Charmers.
Stay healthy and keep smiling!
Dr. Joe 🙂
About the Author: Dr. Joe Bulger is a West Toronto dentist. He’s also the founder of Royal York Dental – a respected dental clinic serving Etobicoke since 1950.