Dental Sins and Dentists to Avoid – Pain Exploiters II

by Dr. Joe :) · 36 comments

Warning: Are Dentists Over-Treating You?

You put your trust in a dentist’s hands.

Putting your trust in a dentists hands

Putting all your trust in a Dentist’s hands

Are they taking care of you appropriately? Do you ever worry that the dentist might be taking advantage of your trust?

This is a continuation on the subject of Pain Exploiters. In Part I the concept of Pain Exploiters was introduced.

Now I’ll explain the 3 Sins in Dentistry and warn you about some Dentists you should avoid – the Bullies and Charmers.

3 Dental Sins

There are three dental sins any dentist can be guilty of. The dentist may not gain from committing these sins, but you as a patient would certainly suffer the consequences.

The first of the 3 Dental Sins is doing too little.

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Too much dentistry?

If you don’t receive enough care, you’ll gradually run into more problems.

Sometimes it’s the patient that chooses a minimalist approach to dental care. If a patient is left to set their own treatment standards they will usually set the bar too low.

“If it ain’t broke don’t fix it.” is a common approach, and that probably won’t be good enough if you want to stay healthy and keep your teeth.

Ar you one of those that refuse to go to a dentist unless you’re in agony? I call those people Dental Avoiders and the path they’re on the Path of Pain.

Sometimes it’s the dentist that under-serves your needs. The term for this is Supervised Neglect. You think everything’s fine because you’ve been going regularly, but you’ve been lulled by a false sense of security.

At one time, Preventive Dentistry and Hygiene Services were commonly neglected by dentists. Whenever that happened, patients would gradually develop gum disease that would destroy the bone supporting their teeth.

Nowadays, these less profitable dental services are often delegated to hygienists and that can improve the quality of your care. The key is to find a hygienist that can deliver excellent hygiene services. A great hygienist will help ensure you stay healthy and keep your teeth.

The second of the 3 Dental Sins is doing too much.

This is where a dentist over-treats a tooth or your entire mouth.

Remember from my last post, the best dentistry is NO dentistry. The second best dentistry is the least amount possible to get the job done properly.

Dental Exploiters are all about  excessive treatment. They’re drawn to more lucrative services such as Implants, Smile Makeovers and the like. Providing Root Canals and Crowns on people in pain are slam dunks for Dental Pain Exploiters.

The third of the 3 Dental Sins is doing poor work.

Like any profession, there are skilled providers and there are ones you should steer well clear of.

My advise? Choose your dentist carefully.

The hard part is knowing who to trust because how can you judge quality of work? Only once  things start falling apart do you discover the truth.

Look for compelling evidence of success and a great reputation.

The key qualities you’re looking for are CHARACTER and COMPETENCE. You want a dentist with rock-solid integrity and impeccable skills.

If you want to learn more, I made a Special Report about the Insider Secrets of Choosing Your Healthcare Team.

My advise? Choose your dentist carefully. Where any one Dental Sin is found, you’re likely to encounter all three. Ethical breaches and lower quality go hand-in-hand.

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Over-Treatment

The corrupting force in dentistry is profitability. When a dentist puts profit before a patient’s needs, optimum care becomes all about funneling people towards extensive care such as Implants and Extreme Makeovers. Less profitable services will be neglected and the profitable ones promoted heavily.

Pain exploiters perform excessive dentistry such as root canals and crowns

A heavily-engineered tooth becomes more vulnerable to future problems.

That’s the Double Dental Sin – pushing too much fancy stuff while neglecting the basic services that would keep you out of trouble in the first place.

If the work is poorly done, then you’ve got a perfect storm of all three Dental Sins happening at once.

Here’s the problem with over-treatment. A tooth only has so many chances, and over-engineering tends to shorten a tooth’s lifespan.

Here’s the good news. Patients are always suspicious of over-treatment and I would say 90% of the time it’s not the case. If anything, insufficient care is more prevalent.

Most dentists are very conscientious and want to always do the right thing for you. Most new patients I see have been receiving appropriate care from their previous dentists – not too much and not too little.

However, these are leaner times and that puts financial pressure on dentists. Some might slip over the integrity line and commit one or more of the Dental Sins.

Be careful. There’s always that small percentage of dentists out there that have an agenda primarily driven by profit. Combine that with a moral flexibility that allows them to bend all rules in their favor, including shortchanging you on quality.

These Dental Exploiters wouldn’t hesitate to take advantage of your vulnerability.

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Dentists to Avoid – Dental Bullies & Charmers

I’ve encountered a few dentists over the years who were masters of exploitation. These Bullies and Charmers don’t need you to be in pain to initiate exploitation. They’ll be on you as soon as you walk in their door.

They wiggle out of everything and leave a trail of bad karma and broken relationships behind them.

Bullies have driven-style personalities and tend to dominate people into submission. Their treatment plans tend to be extensive and they use pressure tactics to push people into treatment. Putting people into tears over treatment decisions is routine for them.

Dental Bullies

Dental Bullies are loud and proud. These dentists are ruthless competitors. They see every interaction in Win-Lose terms. Bullies love winning and hate losing.

These dentists will intimidate, manipulate and use every tool at their disposal to push their agenda down your throat. They’ll badmouth every other dentist and tell you all your dental work needs to be redone.

People mistake Bullies as leaders because of their loud, over-bearing nature.

Expect to be heavily sedated as Dental Bullies lack a delicate touch. Empathy and compassion are not in their repertoire. The only way your visit will be pleasant is if you’re totally out of it.

Dental Charmers

Charmers are sociopaths. They’re effective salespeople because they use their silver tongues to build quick rapport and convert it to instant sales. Their charm makes them very likable and they have tremendous confidence. People see them as natural leaders. Unfortunately these charmers are showman, not leaders. They’ll burn you.

Once you can recognize true leaders, you hopefully won’t be fooled by any false ones.

Dental Charmers are fast-buck artists. Everything they do is a big con, including their sham emotions. They’re masters of deceit and will exploit your trust for personal gain.

Charmers will act like your best friend, but don’t be fooled. They lack empathy, have no remorse for their actions and don’t keep any of their elaborate promises.

Dental Charmers seem friendly on the surface, but they’re ruthless in nature and fast on their feet. They wiggle out of everything and leave a trail of bad karma and broken relationships behind them. They look for angles to work and opportunities to exploit with everyone they meet.

How do I know all this? I’ve met a few of these Dental Bullies and Charmers over the years. I’m sorry to say I had a Charmer working for me for 6 months. I got a hard lesson in sociopath behavior. What a disaster!

The key to recognizing and avoiding Dental Exploiters is understanding leadership and people. Once you can recognize true leaders, you hopefully won’t be fooled by any false ones.

I wrote a Special Report on 25 Leadership Gifts to help people understand leadership and become better leaders.

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Defending Against Pain Exploiters

Here are some suggestions on how to prevent dentists from taking advantage of you…

  • Arm yourself with knowledge. The more you know, the less vulnerable you become to Pain Exploiters. The hard part is finding this kind of information in a world full of self-serving marketing. This blog for example, is all about helping you understand more about dentistry so you can enjoy a healthy beautiful smile.
  • Maintain healthy skepticism. Trust your instincts. Be wary, even a little suspicious. Your trust must be earned. If something doesn’t feel right, you need to step away.
  • Smell the intent. Are these people trying to guide you in the right direction or take advantage of you?
  • Slow down. Don’t be rushed into things. Dental situations aren’t life and death. If you’re in pain, treatment should be focused on getting you out of pain.
  • Get a second opinion. Weigh your options and don’t let any Bully Dentist railroad you into extensive treatment.

Stay Tuned…

My next post will be about Dental Drama – the emotional fallout from dentistry.

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 owner-founder of Royal York Dental – a respected dental clinic serving Etobicoke since 1950.

If you would like to learn more about your dental options, fill out our contact form or CALL 416 231-0550 for a FREE & Easy No-Obligation First Visit.


{ 36 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Tia June 22, 2010 at 7:08 pm

My mom is a dental avoider. I guess I might be, too.

One thing I can say is that when I have been taking care of my teeth and visiting the dentist regularly, I have received excellent care. My teeth are disastrous (pretty on the outside, terrible on the inside) and I’ve had to have major procedures like root canals, and every time, it has worked out really well.

One dentist was particularly memorable in that he basically said, you need a lot of work, but let’s take it one thing at a time. I liked that he was taking all factors into consideration: prevention, pain management, and health care costs as well.
Tia´s last blog post ..Avoid The 10 Surprisingly Common Blog SEO Mistakes

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2 Dr. Joe :) June 22, 2010 at 7:34 pm

That dentist is doing it right. Go slow, respect budget concerns. Basically, it’s helping people fit dental care into their busy lives.

Hope your mom finds a way to get back on track.

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3 Paul Novak June 22, 2010 at 7:36 pm

Heya Doc. Well done. YOur strategic approach is probably a good one for someone busy with a profession; maximum effect from effort.

Dental Avoider? I am the High Dental Avoider of all Dental Avoiders!

Finally, 6 years ago I ended up getting my rear to the dentist. (Good friend is a dental assistant and had been itching to get me in her chair there). I ended up having over 8 grand of work done over a period of 5 months, all my upper front teeth replaced and all kinds of other work. I am now a loud advocate of getting to the dentist no matter what. Had I done it years before my visit I would have avoided years or personal and social difficulty. Keep at it Doc, and thanks for your kind comments on my writing.
Paul Novak´s last blog post ..Bear With Me

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4 Dr. Joe :) June 22, 2010 at 8:07 pm

I hate to say it Paul, but most of us guys are total cavemen regarding healthcare. Thank goodness for our better halves. Women make almost all the healthcare decisions for spouse and children.

Your girlfriend steered you in the right direction and that 8 grand has probably been a great investment. Should outlast your car by a long-shot.

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5 Roxy June 30, 2010 at 3:21 pm

This article opens me up to a new way of looking at things.. I like your perspective. It disappoints me that Dental Sins exist, especially when it affects one’s health, and pockets in a negative manner. Dental Bullies, I’ve never come across, and hope never to come across any. The Dental Charmer… With this new age of information overload, I too “arm myself with knowledge” as you suggest. It’s out there for everyone to access. Also, for myself, skepticism is the approach that I generally take with most healthcare providers, (as sad as it is to say). In these days, you have to protect the bottom line— “you”. I believe however that it is still possible to find that diamond in the rough that will take care of your health care/dental needs and will prove themselves to be worthy!

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6 Dr. Joe :) June 30, 2010 at 6:43 pm

Thanks for the thumbs up Roxy!

Please keep things in perspective. Even though this post gets into some negative stuff, MOST dentists will strive to do the right thing for you.

One thing I’ve noticed – and this is not a hard and fast rule – is that the dentists that market the most tend to be the shadiest ones. I’m talking TV ads and the like. Fast-buck artists are good at marketing to draw people in and pressure tactics to squeeze out more sales.

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7 Susan July 26, 2010 at 9:06 pm

What a great blog!
I never knew dentists blogged! Which is dumb, I know.
I will definitely check this out again.
I am definitely an avoider, not out of fear, just can’t afford it.
I hope one day, to be able to afford regular treatment!
Susan´s last blog post ..Work From Home – Other Ideas

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8 Vernessa Taylor @ Local Business Coach August 18, 2010 at 11:44 pm

Thank you so much for blogging about dental sins. Me and a co-worker both experienced what we would have termed dental profiteering. We both felt the dentist was prolonging the work he was doing, for example splitting an appointment to do cleaning over 2 sessions just so he could charge an extra fee for the visits. There were other things of this nature that contributed to bad karma, and the next time someone asked me for a recommendation, I certainly didn’t give them his name!
Vernessa Taylor @ Local Business Coach´s last blog post ..Are You Looking for eCommerce Solutions For Your Offline Business

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9 Dr. Joe :) August 19, 2010 at 6:35 pm

Hi Vernessa. I have to say that sometimes our suspicions can get the better of us.

That dentist you were going to might have been doing exactly the right thing for you. It’s a common thing to need more than one cleaning session. Especially if you hadn’t been to a dentist in a few years. That’s when your gums can get in rough shape and more than one hygiene appointment is often required.

The other thing that can happen is that you go to a dentist who is making the sin of doing too little. You think you’re OK but your gums are getting progressively worse. You go to a new dentist and they’re stuck being the messenger of bad news. It’s hard to swallow that good old Dr. Bob really wasn’t doing you any favors.

So how do you tell? Look for integrity of character. A person of integrity will always do the right thing and never cheat you because that’s how they are to the core.

Joe :D

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10 Payday Loans September 6, 2010 at 5:42 pm

Thank you, that was extremely valuable and interesting…I will be back again to read more on this topic.

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11 UVOS Dental Implants Utah November 12, 2010 at 5:41 pm

Doing too little is the worst, in my opinion. That’s a dentist’s problem too, though.

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12 Yourname@YourKeywords November 23, 2010 at 8:27 pm

?

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13 Concerned November 23, 2010 at 8:32 pm

Patients will never know as much about their Dentist as the Dentist’s Assistant!!! I know enough about my last Dentist employer that could have his precious DDS License revoked. I’m not sure what to do. I do know that he needs to be doing something else, like, TIME!!!!

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14 MightAsWellGetDentures January 26, 2011 at 2:20 pm

Long story short. Job loss = no more dental insurance and less money. Wanted to take the family in for dental cleaning and exam. Was told the cleaning and exam were pointless without getting expensive x-rays because the dentist could basically tell nothing about what was going on with our teeth without the x-rays. I explained our financial situation and said it seemed that the cleaning and visual exam would be better than nothing, right? I was told no – by two different dentists. Not to knock the value of x-rays, but really? Why bother paying for the bloody cleaning and exam, then? The info says you are a Canadian dentist. I hope things are better up north then they are in the US, because the American economy sucks and the government here doesn’t give a crap about it’s citizens. The middle-class is simply disappearing here.

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15 Dr. Joe :) April 13, 2011 at 8:03 pm

You’ve summed up the big problem for so many – affordability. My advice is to keep everything clean with excellent home care. Go on a low maintenance program. An annual check and cleaning is decent. If you’re low risk for cavities you can push the interval longer.

Hope that helps and hope things turn around for you.

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16 Dave N. March 14, 2011 at 8:20 am

I have had dental problems since I was an infant. By age 8, you could pick up Saigon from all the fillings in my mouth. My Uncle (oddly enough, sharing the same name as a famous actor) was my dentist. He lived on Long Island in NY. A very respected person, an Orthodontist and a home practice. I believe he didn’t have much use for me as I was adopted into the family and his Sister (my mother) told him what to do – she was bossy. Her way of speaking was “you’ll take of our teeth and that’s about it!”
He was brutal to me – obviously, I was the only child in the 50′s and 60′s who liked candy. I was water pikking in ’64 and always had cavities – no matter how much time I spent with the toothbrush. As far as he was concerned, I didn’t know what I was doing and I was going to lose my teeth by the time I was 35. I guess there was no Novacaine in those days as he would drill as many cavities as I had (usually 3 to 5) every time we went there. My father would stand there doing his best to subdue me – I’ll at least give him credit for that.
When I become a young adult (1974), I was so scared from him, that I couldn’t bring myself to go back to any dentist. If he was the best then what were the others like? Three years later, I went to clinic in Brooklyn, NY and they told me that I needed to have all my fillings replaced – that took about 6 weeks ( I believe). They weren’t much nicer, and I believe they were being sarcastic about the condition of my mouth. This further drove me away until 1984 – I was in such bad shape, the plaque in my mouth (the lower set on the tongue side) would fall off in small chunks. Luckily I had dental through my company and decided to try my luck. Found a very nice guy – looked about 16. He took care of me for a while and then I went for my first deep scaling – I have since had another two.
I had very bad luck for a while with an outfit in MA on Route 9 that started in a mall – they couldn’t keep a consistent crew so I couldn’t build trust with anyone. At this place, I had to get a wisdom tooth out – they doctor numbed me up, then drilled the tooth nonstop until it split in half and a piece of it shot across the room. I was uncomfortable in that particular area for about several months – but I kept it to myself – I didn’t want to deal with it anymore. I later moved to another practice – my present one as their last bout of dental personnel was a russian tagteam – two women that barely spoke english.
I finally hooked up with an office and they have cared for me since ’04. The dentist just retired and now there is another one that has bought the practice. It has been an alright experience except that of course the original contact person, when first taking my initial xrays looked at me as if I had scurvy or something. But she marched me over to the perio office and they had me remove 4 teeth originally (again – about a 50% with respect to not wanting to hear my history so that there could be some compassion) – but I did two deep scalings and about three years of cleanings to about the summer of ’07. That’s when another “eye-awaking episode” hit.
I had to take a cleaning at the regular office in Oct of ’07 as my trusted perio lady couldn’t schedule me when I could make it. The “home office” hygenist (my original at the “04 office) introduced me to a device called the “Sulcabrush.” It must’ve just hit the market that day as nobody told me of this brush earlier. After using it – my next cleaning showed me as having no plaque on my teeth. My cleaning was done in 15 minutes. The Plax, the Water Pik, the Interdent, the Act, the 30 minutes I was spending previously never really heeded any good news – this thing kept my mouth in good shape up until Jan of ’10.
I retired from teaching in June of ’09. I had a history of respiratory illness since I moved to MA in ’80. Now I retire and move to the mountains and I don’t get sick anymore – At this point I have not had a sore throat / bronchitis / Pneumonia / Pleauracy / Strep since I got away from people for about 2 years. However, my mouth decided it would be a great idea to get a gum infection that caused me to lose a bridge and the three teeth associated with it – I had the bridge since ’95 so I did OK with that. Then I lost another tooth because of gum loss on the opposite side. I’m not getting gum surgury. So – I now have a partial in my mouth that I am getting used to. I’ve had it for about a week now. I’m getting used to it. I’ll go for another scaling as I don’t mind those – but – when I tell people up here in the hills of NH – my deep scalings – they have never heard of such a thing. They look at me as if I’m from space.
So – I wanted to share my history. Feel free to e-mail me if you’d like to correspond. My road of dental health has been a torturous one – but really – a necessary one. Take some time to think about it and get some hand holding. It’s not easy – I can guarantee that BUT you’ll appreciate your strong will for doing it.

Dave

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17 Mineola Dentist April 7, 2011 at 2:01 am

Doing too little is the worst, in my opinion. That’s a dentist’s problem too

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18 seo experts manchester May 11, 2011 at 10:25 am

Definitely a list of sins by dentists.

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19 lola April 18, 2012 at 7:14 pm

This blog is aweful…..and depresing.
RE: x-rays…..i don’t know if you realize it or not, but x-rays are essential for check up. I’m not a dentis, but i undestand that to do a check up doctors need to look at an xray of the tooth b/c teeth are not made of glass and dentist does not have xray vision….teeth are hard….DAUH!!!
This blog is really really stupid, bunch of uneducated people complaining…..why waist time…..find a great dentis, they are out there. I personnaly LOVE MY DENTIST…..he is great…..

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20 TheDentalImplantCenterLV@Dental Implants May 21, 2012 at 4:34 pm

(Most) Dentists are here to help Patients!
TheDentalImplantCenterLV@Dental Implants´s last blog post ..What percentage of all systemic diseases have oral manifestations?

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21 Joseph June 11, 2012 at 9:42 am

I am a dental avoider before. I would not go to the dentist unless absolutely necessary, I even dread going in for cleaning. But right now, that I’m in my 30′s, I see that it is absolutely necessary I go see my dentist regularly because as I grow older, my dental problems are becoming many, maybe because I’m older and my teeth are becoming weak.

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22 Mike July 4, 2012 at 6:45 pm

I have had a dentist that is both bully and charmer before. I think, before I noticed that I’m being cheated the services and prices of the services, we’ve been good friends. Until, I’ve talked to my cousin who is also a Dentist but in different state. We have a family reunion that time, that’s why we had a chance to talk. After our conversation, I’ve learned a lesson and that is to be more wiser in choosing a dentist.

Thanks,
Mike
http://www.teethcenter.com/

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23 John@Instant Payday Loans July 12, 2012 at 12:58 pm

I’ve just moved house and it’s been years since I last went to the dentist, do you think i’ll have to pay a lot on my first appointment? Thanks
John@Instant Payday Loans´s last blog post ..Which Is The Best Instant Payday Loan Provider?

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24 Molly Bream July 25, 2012 at 6:18 pm

I sometimes don’t trust some dentists. They use same injection they already used with other patients. That really is dangerous since it can transmit diseases. We all got to be vigilant.

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25 Beverly Hills Lasik Doc August 1, 2012 at 10:59 am

If we have problems with our dentists, we could always find someone else who is more trustworthy and honest. Currently though, I haven’t experienced with dentists that are taking advantage yet. I stick to one dentist who I know and is recommended by a friend or by someone I know.
Beverly Hills Lasik Doc´s last blog post ..I see you, LASIK doctor

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26 Jackie Champion August 30, 2012 at 1:05 pm

More power to you and your business, too. Keep it up! What a very nice and interesting post! Thank you so much for sharing this one. I look forward for your other posts as well. Trying to find a dentist is not an easy task. We hope to make you feel that you have found the dental home that you have been searching for.

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27 Best Calgary Orthodontist November 2, 2012 at 8:18 am

it is been great to read your blogs Dr. Joe, you right things in a very interesting and convincing manner. thanxx for sharing it.. :)
Best Calgary Orthodontist´s last blog post ..Hello world!

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28 Dr Tom November 3, 2012 at 10:06 pm

I think oftentimes people think dental care is expensive. Maintenance or your basic checkup and cleaning are the best way to save on cost in the long run. It is easier to prevent a problem than to fix one. Also, once a problem is found, it is better to have it fixed now, than to wait it off. The problem won’t correct itself and will only get worse –> then more complicated –> then more expensive.
Dr Tom´s last blog post ..About us

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29 dentist beverly hills November 27, 2012 at 1:26 pm

Well explained!Thanks.
dentist beverly hills´s last blog post ..Special Concerns for Older Women

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30 pole adams February 19, 2013 at 4:10 am

tanks for the information i was just searching for the same info and what you know there are some people like you who are sharing these kind of information about dentistry.

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31 ABC Dental Care March 14, 2013 at 2:53 pm

Quite honestly, today’s modern dental techniques can be performed in a virtually pain-free environment. If you are experiencing pain during your dental visits, then you might consider seeking out another dentist for future services. Visit ABCDentalCare.com for great info related to all general dental services and cosmetic dental procedures.

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32 Duran Retainer April 9, 2013 at 4:24 am

These are really a list of sins by dental specailists.

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33 Anjali Singh June 20, 2013 at 4:58 am

Tooth protection is most important in our life and care also.So nice to share this information.Thanks

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34 Lisa truitt August 21, 2013 at 10:21 pm

If people would learn about nutrition and spend money on it, then they could avoid the dentist bills. Read Dr. Weston A Price, DDS Nutrition and Physical Degeneration. He traveled around the world finding people who did not consume the processed foods of industrialized societies. They had wide enough dental arches so all their teeth could fit without crowding and no cavities or gum disease in spite of little to no dental hygiene and no dentists. Dental disease is nutritional people, not a hygiene issue or a lack of dental care. A cochrane review of numerous studies concluded that cleanings made no difference in the rate of decay. Dr. Price and others found the healthy non Industrialized people’s diets to be several times higher in minerals and fat soluble vitamins a, d and k2 than those in industrialized areas. These primarily come from animal foods raised on green pasture. The k2 has been almost removed from the food supply because of confinement of animals and feeding grain instead of pasture. There is still some K2 in hard cheeses, egg yolks, meats, and more if you can get them pastured. But most people will need supplements for optimal a, d and k2.

Go to westonaprice.org to learn more

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35 zahoor@FIN 534 August 22, 2013 at 2:34 am

My Mom’s teach was not okay and I went with her to get her teeth out, but I was worried to see how terrible it was.

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36 Michelle Isidor January 21, 2014 at 8:55 am

These guidelines are very helpful for dental patients. I’ve learned a lot of thing with this blog. We should really watch out of dentists who are only up for the money and do not give a damn on their patients well being. Dental hygiene should always be on our priorities so that could avoid pain exploiters.

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