Warning: Are Dentists Over-Treating You?
You put 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
My next post will be about Dental Drama – the emotional fallout from dentistry.
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.