Can you trust your dentist?

I  read an article in The Atlantic on-line about how dentistry is far less scientific, and more prone to unnecessary procedures, than the reader may think.

The author gave as an example a dentist who was sued by his patients, and by the dentist who bought his practice, for doing unnecessary dental work that in some cases cost tens of thousands of dollars.

His failings were brought to light by the successor to his practice, who wondered why his income was so much lower. .

I know from my own experience that things like this happen.  I’m satisfied with my present dentist, but my previous one got me to authorize a lot expensive and irreversible work I’m now convinced I shouldn’t have had done.  I blame myself for being overly trusting and insufficiently inquisitive.

The moral of the article is that, if you have doubts about your dentist’s recommendation for treatment, get a second opinion, just as you would do with a physician.


Is Dentistry a Science? by Ferris Jabr for The Atlantic.

Tooth Extraction Markets in Everything by Tyler Cowen for Marginal Revolution.

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3 Responses to “Can you trust your dentist?”

  1. silverapplequeen Says:

    I go to UB Dental School. They are marvelous there.


  2. thetinfoilhatsociety Says:

    Agreed. My FIL is nearly 80 and in poor health. His dentist keeps calling him and wanting him to do implants instead of dentures. I keep telling him it’s not an option, as do my husband and his aunt. But the dentist keeps calling, and my FIL has a little dementia, so we go through this conversation frequently. Luckily he would have to be cleared for surgery before it could happen (therefore it won’t) but still. What kind of predatory person do you have to be to push that stuff on vulnerable elderly people?


  3. Benjamin David Steele Says:

    It’s the same failure as I’ve written about in other areas of healthcare, as related to diet, medications, etc.

    Antidepressants are heavily prescribed, despite the fact research has shown they don’t work for most patients. The same thing is seen with statins in their being overused in populations research shows they’re ineffective.

    In nearly all these cases of medical failure, it’s not really failure since there are those who are profiting from it and so promoting it. This is the problem of having a profit-driven healthcare system.

    There is no incentive to ensure people are healthy and have long lives. Insurance companies, for example, make more money by ensuring you don’t live into old age since it is in old age when most medical costs have to be paid for by the insurance companies.

    The only motivation is how to get the most money out of patients before they die. Wring every last cent out of them.


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