Today I went to my dentist and had an interesting conversation with the dental hygenist. I was talking about how we are moving out of state and we will need to find a new dentist. I told her that I hope I can find a new health care provider who uses laser dentistry like my dentist does.
I received a warning of a rise in scams on dental patients. The practice has been receiving visits from new patients who seek a second opinion because on going to a new dentist for the first time they are being told they have gum disease and need deep gum scaling, an expensive procedure. The patients worried of the high cost so they went to get a second opinion and in the opinion of my dentist, there was nothing wrong with their gums and there was no need for deep gum scaling. Formerly those patients were told they had good dental health so the need for an expensive procedure and sudden gum disease was hard for them to accept (their gut feeling was right).
I was also told that some dental insurance plans are starting to pay for deep gum scaling so there is a sudden rise in the diagnosis and the procedure being done. When the procedure is done without medical necessity it is not only unethical but to bill that to an insurance company is insurance fraud, a felony crime.
I was grateful to the hygenist who cautioned me to be aware of this scam of fake diagnoses for gum disease and recommendations for formerly healthy patients to suddenly need deep gum scaling.
I was also told that 95% of the patients my dentist receives are from word of mouth referrals from happy established patients. I was told that if patients are happy with their dentist word gets around and there is then no need for advertising. So I will beware of dentists who advertise. It makes sense, if a practice is booming and has more than enough patients why would they pay good money to advertise to bring in more patients than they can handle? I will ask around to find a good dentist rather than rely on the ads I see.