There are many and more ways to manage a dental practice and every dentist is trying to balance the paradox between duty and desire – the desire to live a better life and the duty to be a great dentist. Although a better life sounds good enough, if we are faced with a fairly expensive bill to pay, loads of questions and doubts become to the surface and get us thinking around alternatives. I mean dental treatment abroad for example.
So if you are wondering is there anything that your dentist does not tell you, below is a nice list from TAO dentistry. I admire the set of mind of Dr. Barry and here at ClickFlySmile we are working hard to find dentists like him to partner with and making a lot of extra effort avoid all of the mentioned items. I share this with you in order to empower you with the knowledge that was kept hidden from every patient.
- Your dentist sees you as a profit center rather than a patient. Everyone gets the business thing. Football players tell us this all the time…but this is health care and an ethical dentist MUST put the patient first. That is the real definition of professional. Dentists who do this usually relate everything to the “time is money” philosophy. They usually run behind and are over-scheduled.
- Your dentist just took a weekend course in an advanced surgical technique – and you are his Monday morning experiment. Yes, it’s true…we call these dentists gunslingers. Many procedures dentists do are fairly safe and reversible, but others are way beyond the skill level necessary for performance. When dentistry is a business and new “profit centers” are available…some dentists go beyond their limitations.
- Many dentists are nothing more than tooth jockeys. That means that they don’t look at the whole patient. Granted, some patients may be satisfied with this standard, but most people go to the dentist for a long-term result. If a practice is set up to treat single teeth, it’s unlikely that the patient will accomplish anything worthwhile. You know if your dentist is committed to your comprehensive care and long-term results if he does a comprehensive examination which includes the teeth, the gums, the bite and an oral cancer examination.
- The dentist uses the cheapest materials available and charges you for “the best.” Dentistry is a blind service. Look, every business tries to cut down on expenses but at least it should be disclosed. When the patient goes to a dentist because of price…duh, how do people really think that works.
- They use cheap labs. Just like number 4…this is an area where the dentists can save a lot of money. These days a dentist can send lab work overseas to China or Thailand. Google those prices. Yes…he can pay as low as $50 for a crown and charge the patient or the insurance company up the wazoo. If you really want to get nervous check out the labor standards in some of those countries. (Lead in crowns?)
- The dentist charges patients one fee and charges the insurance company another, or plan patients get a lower fee. There seems to be a war between insurance companies and dentists on this issue. C’mon, is insurance fraud something new? The problem is that the public accepts a lot of these practices. But what about the patient who REALLY wants the best and is willing to pay for it. Sorry…”let the buyer be aware” doesn’t work for me.
- Your dentist hasn’t taken a legitimate continuing education course since he graduated dental school. Many dentists these days spend a lot of time and money trying to be better. There are many great lecturers and courses available. But too many dentists only go to courses that are free or are sponsored by manufacturers that are selling the next new thing (profit centers?)
- His sterilization techniques are outdated. Dentistry has changed for the better with the preponderance of disposable supplies, but still plenty of tools need to be sterilized. This was a hot topic some years ago when OSHA put their foot down hard. But if you are seeing a trend here about ethics and business, maybe it’s a good time to rethink how patients choose their dentist.
- They let the dental assistant perform tasks they are not licensed to perform. Lots of controversy here. Certain states allow assistants to do more than others. Making temporaries, taking impressions and even giving injections. Some dentists however really push the envelope on this one though…
- They just don’t like their patients. Okay, this is where we started with Lolabees blog post. The truth is the dentist (and his staff) don’t even like some of their patients. This is what got dentists all over that post. It’s true! Unprofessional, but hey, that’s human nature. The real truth is that the dentist should not treat people he doesn’t like. Jerome Groopman, author of How Doctors Think, tells us that mistakes in diagnosis are more likely to occur when doctors treat people they don’t like.