Dental Pain Exploiters – Dentists Who Take Advantage of Pain

by Dr. Joe :) · 53 comments

How Some Dentists Exploit Your Pain for Their Gain

Got a toothache? Be careful of who you turn to for help.

Have a tooth ache?

Dental pain makes you vulnerable.

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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

Signature for a Toronto Cosmetic Dentist.

Dr. Joe 🙂

Dr. Joe Bulger

About the Author: is a West Toronto dentist. He’s also the founder of Royal York Dental – a respected dental clinic serving Etobicoke since 1950.

Leave a Comment

{ 53 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Roxy June 30, 2010 at 3:31 pm


Patient manipulation by slanting treatment plans for profitability and rendering treatment to take advantage of insurance plans is all horrible– That is unless the patient benefits by getting a perfect smile!! LOL… On a more serious note, I’ve been hearing about more and more of my friends and families that are getting root canals. It’s almost as though I am hearing about root canals and crowns just as much as I am hearing about fillings… I often wonder to myself if in fact it is needed. I mean, who am I to share my opinions when I am not the Dentist?? All in all, it is something that should make people stop and think. In my opinion, second opinions are always best.

2 Dr. Joe :) June 30, 2010 at 6:49 pm


Roxy, I’ve had a fair number of second opinions come to me with that very question – “Do I really need a Root Canal?”

Turns out lots of them didn’t.

I don’t reveal to people terms like Dental Pain Exploiter, because that only reflects badly on our profession. I just try to help guide people in the right direction so they don’t get taken advantage of.

3 Khondoker@Directory of Fort Collins Dentist July 6, 2010 at 12:15 am


I was surprised by “best dentistry is- No dentistry”. How true it is. But is it possible for a long lived person go through “No dentistry!”

4 Dr. Joe :) July 6, 2010 at 10:53 am


You’re right, some dentistry may be inevitable. That’s where doing the least amount possible to do things properly comes in.

I remember when I first took over the practice of an older dentist. His patients were on a slow train to full dentures. Lose one tooth per year was the routine. I was able to stop the downward slide for many of them, and decrease the amount of dentistry they kept needing.

Isn’t that what we’re supposed to be doing for people – helping them to stay healthy and keep their teeth?

5 John@Dental Resource Directory April 22, 2012 at 8:04 am


Dr Joe,

I am touched with your statements: “…I was able to stop the downward slide for many of them, and decrease the amount of dentistry they kept needing. Isn’t that what we’re supposed to be doing for people – helping them to stay healthy and keep their teeth?”

TRUE. Dentists took an oath to achieve and/or maintain the health of their patient’s oral cavities. Doing things that will worsen their current situation may it be chronically or aggressively is definitely against the law of Man and God.

I am just in awe of many patients who are against/hate dentists. But come to think of it, dentists can’t make good or harm if we won’t allow them to. Thus, all fingers should not be pointed at them. In the first place, dentists are not the one who let the bacteria take over our immune defense– possibly resulting to tooth decay or gum inflammation.

But there trully are some dentists who are income- driven. Thus, we should be vigilant.

6 Health n Fitness Care July 12, 2010 at 7:01 am


Dr. I must congratulate you for putting up such a wonderful and sincere post on dentists who exploit people’s pain for their profit and benefit. Indeed root canal has become a very common treatments for dental health care may be for the very obvious reasons that you have mentioned. Your efforts in this regard is laudable.

7 Dr. Joe :) July 12, 2010 at 1:39 pm


Thank you for your comments. Sharing uncomfortable truths carries some risk. Most dentists are extremely conscientious and have people’s best interest at heart. It just takes a few sharks to give us all a bad name.

8 Emergency Dentists Grants Pass August 28, 2010 at 5:50 am


I have experienced having a dentist exploiting on my pain and thinking more about profit. I wanted a filling or an extraction, whichever of the two was necessary. Instead, she convinced me a root canal would save my tooth. I was hesitant but she wouldn’t have it any other way. So I ended up spending lots and lots of money, only to end up with a molar with a huge hole in the middle because every time she tries to cover it, the pain comes back with more intensity. I actually lasted a year with that very “holed” molar, having to pick out food particles that would get in there lest they get really bad-smelling. I went to another dentist eventually and she said it was good that I came to her and have the tooth pulled out. Having a huge hole on the molar makes me susceptible to infection, and it could travel down my heart. I was shocked!

9 Mexico Dentist October 31, 2010 at 12:32 pm


Thanks for the knowledge. Actually I was amaze to know that there are some dentists who are pain exploiters! Luckily I have a good and reliable dentist who can minimize the pain while doing procedures like tooth extraction etc. I do think that these kind of dentists have malpractice their profession and should have been sanctioned somehow, because if its tolerated, more patients will be deceived and will not receive the proper services that they deserve.

10 Mike@Teeth Whitener Reviews November 1, 2010 at 4:17 pm


Well, I agree with you that visiting dentist can be painful, not only for teeth but for your wallet as well!

In UK most of dentists are inevitable, yea they are!

11 UVOS Dental Implants Utah@Dental Implants Utah November 12, 2010 at 5:39 pm


Maybe you’re throwing this a bit out of proportion. I’ve heard of doctors that do costly procedures, but I don’t think I believe that it’s so rampant.

12 satrio@Best Luxury SUV June 16, 2011 at 12:32 pm


it’s still freak me out having a visit to a dentist, its more like a phobia for me,but when the pain is so hurt,i think there’s no reason to avoid the dentist

13 jane@dentists in alpharetta July 17, 2011 at 10:55 pm


i have not had to have a procedure done like that (yet!) but it is not comforting to think of a doctor making a patient undergo expensive invasive surgery so he/she can profit. i hope this is not widespread. i suppose that is why alot of people recommend getting second opinions.

14 Website August 7, 2011 at 3:34 am


Its like you read my thoughts! You seem to understand so much approximately this, such as you wrote the book in it or something. I think that you can do with a few p.c. to force the message house a little bit, but other than that, this is fantastic blog. An excellent read. I’ll certainly be back.

15 martin@model trains layouts September 11, 2011 at 11:57 am


some dentists really do not care about the level of pain you are experiencing, they should all undergo some physiological testing before being allowed to practice.

16 K Radtke October 25, 2011 at 5:09 am


I was surprised that there are some dentists who exploit pain! This gives the entire dental community a bad wrap.

17 Dentist in Cancun @Mexico @dentist @Cancun @ocean dental November 13, 2011 at 2:43 pm


Great written article thank you for the information funny how some dentists are pain exploiters haha I have such a gentle dentist in Cancun mexico and I saved 70% as well on the treatment. She was great would recommend her to anyone

18 Johanfrancho@Dental Lab Services December 23, 2011 at 8:03 am


I agree with you that visiting dentist can be painful, not only for teeth but for your wallet as well.I must congratulate you for putting up such a wonderful and sincere post on dentists..Thanks!

19 Mexican dentist December 24, 2011 at 6:46 pm


Dental tourism in Mexico is thriving because many Americans have little or no dental coverage. This doesn’t look like it’s going to change in the foreseeable future, even with health care reform in the US.

20 Nathan Woodbury@dental websites January 11, 2012 at 12:22 am


I would have thought, they’re are people like that. The practice won’t make any good thus putting you in danger. This won’t help because it decreases the number of clients you may have.

21 how much does a root canal cost January 24, 2012 at 7:16 am


If the dentist take some advantages from the patient’s pain, that is horrible. The dentist should become a savior for the patients. We must choose the dentist carefully. Not only we have to know how much does a root canal cost, but also we must choose the dentist that provides good services.

22 Peter@Teeth Whitening Kits February 1, 2012 at 4:54 pm


Shocking read, a real eye opener to be honest! its almost like leaving your car off to be fixed, and when you go to pick it up you find its double the charge as they focused other parts that were “broken.” One things for sure, should I ever end up in this situation, I will be taking more than one dentists advice on it.

23 Marlo@Kids Dentist February 18, 2012 at 2:54 am


I’m not aware of this dirty job but I do not suggest any treat when the tooth is aching cause it could lead to some infection in case. IT’s best to take pain reliever and wait until the ache is totally gone before going to dentist to avoid such exploiter.

24 Shine February 22, 2012 at 12:10 am


Going through root canal was a terrible experience for me. And the worse thing was, I had to go back a lot of times, so multiply that terrible experience like 4 or 5 times..not sure anymore how many times I had to go back.

25 mexico dentist March 15, 2012 at 3:36 pm


Great article. A possible consequence is that some readers may doubt their dentist when they are actually being recommended a good treatment.

26 Velma @ Root Canal Salt Lake City March 31, 2012 at 7:42 am


Yes, there are actually dentists who only think of that they can gain financially when treating a patient but it’s also best not to generalize, there are still honest and truly helpful dentists out there.

27 Matthew@Dental Implants Winnipeg April 3, 2012 at 11:47 am


It was never comfortable when I had my wisdom teeth removed. Looking back on the situation, I probably should have had them taken out all in one appointment. But I decided to split them a couple months apart.

28 Herbs@healthypix April 11, 2012 at 1:19 am


Dr. Joe, Thanks for the insights on “should be dentist”. It is amazing what people in general would do for money, but it is hard to accept that dentists would do such things.

Quiet revealing! Thanks.

29 Root Canal Lawrenceville GA April 23, 2012 at 1:51 pm


After reading your post and comments I will have to agree with Velma (#26) “there are still honest and truly helpful dentists out there”.

30 Chelsey@Thirstcard Discount Card April 25, 2012 at 9:10 pm


Unnecessary dental work is the one thing that puts me off going to the dentist. I really don’t care about the pain that you have to go through if you need some work done. What worries me is the unnecessary work that they advise you to have done.

I know this doesn’t apply to all dentists out there as there are most likely many reputable dental surgeries around. The problem is, how do you find a reputable one?

Chelsey from London, UK.

31 Albert Leonardo @ How to Whiten Teeth May 11, 2012 at 12:14 pm


I had ever visited a dentist, and I was to put on brace, he said he was going to pull off two of my teeth in order for my teeth to be put on brace. Luckily I asked for second opinion from other dentist and I don’t need to pull off those two teeth.

32 Dentist in Cancun May 19, 2012 at 7:17 pm


I found an exellent dentist in Cancun who is very gentel and affordable. Thank you for the article

33 The Dental Implant Center of Las Vegas May 21, 2012 at 2:03 pm


Very good information regarding Dental Implants!

34 permainan berpakaian June 3, 2012 at 3:41 pm


Good post. A doable outcome can be which a few viewers may possibly doubt their own dental office after they are in reality getting proposed an excellent cure. 🙂

35 dentist in moncks corner June 11, 2012 at 3:14 am


I have to agree with you that it almost became a slippery slope of patient manipulation once treatment integrity has been breached. This just proves how important and vital choosing the right dentist is.

36 Dr.Gurz@Diamond Bar Dentist August 10, 2012 at 9:04 am


Not so long ago, dentists were considered as one of the most feared professionals because of all the pain and discomfort associated with a visit to the dentist.
But thanks to advent of modern gentle dental procedures, dentists are finally able to get rid of the notion of pain and suffering that is usually associated with a visit to a dentist.
Having a reliable and professional dentist is essential in making a good decision that would result in an improvement to your overall dental health.

37 Tina September 21, 2012 at 1:32 am


Thanks for sharing this good post. I am so glad that our dentist here is not like that!

38 dental implants geelong October 18, 2012 at 4:46 pm


It was a great experience to now abut the pain which is trending now in the dentistry. Many doctors are really practicing these mostly in India. The video was really amazing and it kept me thinking for minutes.

39 dental November 1, 2012 at 11:20 am


It never ever crossed my mind that a dentist would do such a thing! Thanks for sharing, if I’m ever told I need a root canal I will DEFINITELY be getting a second opinion!

40 Dr Tom November 3, 2012 at 10:10 pm


Don’t select a dentist because of price. If it is cheap, it is so for a reason. A doctor who charges fairly is the person to go to. He should be affordable enough to get treatment, but not cheap enough he has to cut corners to eek out a living.

41 pole adams February 12, 2013 at 1:50 am


Thanks For posting and I want to share that once i went to the wrong dentist and i got so much pain then he was filling the teeth that i got faint..

42 Patrickdentallaw February 19, 2013 at 1:53 am


Dentist are doing a good job making the lawyers rich.

43 Dr. Hannah Leon February 21, 2013 at 5:17 am



I really like the way of delivering. You are right my dear most of the patient are just going for cheap doctors they forget that by visiting cheap doctor the loss is all theirs. well i appreciate your effort. Stay Blessed


44 thiagodaluz7 April 2, 2013 at 6:22 pm


There’s is a tear in my eye as I write this. Why would you tell me that? Now I will never trust dentists again! Seriously, though, its not only good to know, but great job speaking for both sides and not going on hate rant yourself.

45 Tate April 6, 2013 at 12:59 pm


You hear about these types of dentists and it’s hard to believe that some of them do this but they do.

46 HowLifeHealthy July 4, 2013 at 12:42 am


I have never feel a pain like tooth pain. Thank you very much for sharing this great post. Actually this will very helpful for all like me.

47 Dentist Deptford NJ July 7, 2013 at 10:33 am


A thorough dental examination includes inspection of the teeth, gums, tongue, lips, inside of the cheek, palate, and the skin of the face and neck, plus feeling the neck for abnormal lymph nodes and enlargement of the thyroid gland. In adults a periodontal probe should be inserted between the gums and teeth to detect abnormally large crevices. Good dentists also chart their findings in detail.

48 Concord August 6, 2013 at 7:53 am


Great tips and great article. I also know the tooth pain, Ohhh

49 dane woodruff August 3, 2014 at 8:46 am


Many thanks on your responses. Revealing not comfortable truths holds many chance. The majority of dental practices are exceedingly careful and also have people’s ideal attention at heart. This simply just uses a handful of sharks to give all of us an unsatisfactory brand.

50 Dr.Aditi Aggarwal June 23, 2016 at 6:37 am


It’s really shameful to know that some dentists exploit their patients to extract more money out of them, on the pretext of helping them. Such people are a blot on good dentists who genuinely want to help their patients.

51 cancun dental vacations July 14, 2016 at 3:37 pm


Well, I agree with you that visiting dentist can be painful, not only for teeth but for your wallet as well!

In UK most of dentists are inevitable, yea they are!

52 Radiant Expressions Dental August 30, 2016 at 12:04 am


Dentist hate to see the patient suffering from pain. We always advice to visit the dentist regularly for checkup, proper advise and treatment.

53 Helen March 3, 2017 at 12:39 pm


You sound like my IDEAL dentist!I’ve had a phobia for years, ever since I was a kid, and the dentist took a tooth out of an unfrozen side of my mouth, after freezing the wrong side. I tried to tell him, but he just told me to “shut up”.It was absolute agony! This was back in 1966. I was about 15 and I’ve NEVER forgotten it! It took me years to go back to the dentist ,and also in those days, there was very little preventative dentistry. If you had toothache most dentists just extracted them.
I do go to the dentist of course, but I still hate it.

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