Dental Purgatory (Buyer Beware)
It has always been true that if your were not born with good teeth you needed to be somewhat wealthy to have a great smile. While dentistry has never been cheap, it was at least at some point more affordable and straight forward. Most people are not fond of visiting the dentist in the first place, but the last thing they expect to have to deal with is a (car lot salesman CLOSER) when making decisions regarding their dental health. Sadly, this is what it has come to, and instead of a set price list, which they refuse to show you anyway, there are many price lists due to the many different insurances. Make no mistake! They are out to get your money, and some of them (not all) are so unscrupulous that they do not even care what is in the best interest of the patient. Some are even willing to commit out and out fraud.
Case in point: A member of my family visited a dentist that was on our provider list, they were told that one of their teeth had a crack and they should get it crowned in order to protect it. Upon visiting a second dentist due to a change in insurance they found there was nothing wrong with that tooth at all. The other dentist was going to crown a healthy tooth in the interest of lining their pocket book. The thing is..most people don’t get second opinions or ask questions, so had there not been a change of insurance my family member would have paid for and gotten said tooth crowned for no good reason.
I myself have been lied to and coerced to make choices about my dental care that were not in my best interest. It wasn’t until I put my foot down and got a second opinion that I found out what my true options were. The dentist in question told me that I had no choice but to have a second root canal on an existing molar and then put on a crown. My insurance did not cover a second root canal so I would have to pay out of pocket, but this dentist said it was not an option to pull the tooth. Since the first root canal was ineffective I did not want to pay for a second one that most likely would be ineffective as well and then also pay for a crown on a tooth that very likely would be removed anyway. They would not budge. They refused to pull the tooth and refused to refer me to someone who would. Also they often do a bait and switch sort of thing where they refuse to perform procedures that a general dentist can do and are covered under your plan. They instead refer it out to a specialist cohort that is not covered under your plan so that you have to pay out of pocket! This is how they get around the negotiated rates that they agreed to in the first place. It wasn’t until I contacted an oral surgeon that I found out it is always your right to pull a tooth if you cannot afford the care to save it. It’s your mouth! Also..we are talking thousands of dollars here, not chump change. If I had not contacted the oral surgeon I do not know what I would have done. It felt like I was being extorted by the mob! Most dental insurance sucks in that it doesn’t pay for much of the care. So a heavy financial burden is often left up to the patient. We must be vigilant and get educated if we don’t want to get ripped off!
- What can you do? Make sure you have a copy of the price list of what your plan covers for dental procedures and take it with you to your appointment. Verify that what they are attempting to charge you matches your insurance companies negotiated rates. Surprisingly… or not… often it doesn’t, but too many people don’t check and just pay. Check it twice!
- Do not be afraid to get a second opinion! Unscrupulous dentists count on the fact that you won’t and that you will just trust them and hand over your hard earned cash.
- Check with your insurance company to verify billing charges. There is a lot of billing fraud that goes on in the industry.
- Lastly do not be afraid to stand up for yourself. Do not be intimidated. Ask questions. You have every right to have everything explained to you in detail.
Sadly we now live in a time where we can no longer expect, even those charged with our care to behave ethically. We must always be proactive in looking out for ourselves and our families!
Tags: closer, Dani Heart, dentistry, fraudulent, sales, scams, unethical