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Fake Cavities
Status: Scary scam
An Indiana dentist has been charged with diagnosing patients with cavities that didn't exist. This is the kind of thing that feeds the popular paranoia about dentists:

The attorney general's office said Dunlap diagnosed three patients with cavities, but the patients sought second opinions and were found to be cavity-free. State officials said Dunlap diagnosed a child with 10 cavities in June, but another dentist found that the child did not have any cavities. A similar complaint was filed by a patient in May 2004, said Staci Schneider, a spokeswoman for the attorney general's office.

Personally, I've never had a cavity. But one time a dental assistant cleaning my teeth told me I had three or four cavities. Luckily the dentist who checked her work recognized that the 'cavities' were just grooves in my teeth.
Con ArtistsHealth/Medicine
Posted by The Curator on Thu Nov 10, 2005
I have worked for a number of different dentists over the years, and I know that there are good dentists and bad dentists out there. There are also a lot of "lazy" dentists, who don't want to do anything about a problem until it gets big (ie: this cavity is really small, let's keep an eye on it for now; or, he's a heavy smoker and never flosses, but we won't bring up his gum disease now, because it's only in the early stages). Only once have I worked for a dentist who I think was trying to rip people off, and he did it with crowns (suggesting crowns on teeth that were not healthy enough to support them). Dentists don't make a ton of money from fillings. If they really wanted to rip you off, they'd be doing it with more expensive procedures. Although a couple hundred bucks out of your pocket is a lot to pay for a couple of measley fillings, the overhead in a dental office eats up a lot of that before it ever gets into the dentist's pocket.

That said, find a dentist who is highly recommended. If you know anyone who works in the dental profession, ask advice. Educate yourself on any dental procedures they tell you are necessary, and if the dentist or his assistants don't give you enough information and don't seem to want to thoroughly explain your options and the risks and benefits of the treatment, go somewhere else. I find that a lot of people who think the "new" dentist is trying to rip them off often had and "old" dentist who was really slacking off, and there's a lot of catching up to do.
Posted by c.miller  in  canada  on  Wed Jul 25, 2007  at  03:25 PM
He is my story. Had a Dentist want to charge over $1k for a molar extraction. I balked and went to another one who yanked it for $180. The first dentist wanted to even put me to sleep. Took the 2nd dentist like 10 minutes if that. Ok Im happy with new dentist, but they say I need a "deep" cleaning that insurance doesn't pay for, and I'm like I don't even like a regular cleaning, not going to sit through a deep one. I really think I angered the hygenist because I didnt agree.

Then 2 years later I go back. Angry hygenist still there, but now they call it some kind of scalling, and even though I came in with no pain, just a check up, they find 8 cavaties??wtf? They want to do the scaling, and 4 cavities on each side. I call and say forget the scaling, take care of the cavities since insurance wont cover it all. Right side goes great I pay my money and insurance covers rest. Month later do the other side, then he claims after forking over $200 more that I need a root canal, and he couldn't get to another tooth. So now he wants $1k next week for that, and when I went in there I had no pain, no issue I can think of, and the dental hygenist was making the initial calls on the cavities.
So if I go back, he will do $1k root canal, and then tell me come back for the other tooth? Perpetual dentistry? I am so pissed and feel so scammed right now. Even when I told them, can the root canal wait till next year so my insurance will reset, they said well then you won't have insurance money for the work next year like they have some kind of 5 year plan or something.

I have never felt so victimized in my life and I feel there is nothing I can really do.

They have a soft filling they called it on the tooth they want to root canal, so I guess that probably guaranteed to come out in like 30 days if I try and bypass the root canal on a tooth with no pain. Nothing was wrong with it until he started drilling around on the cavaties.

So sick and frustrated.
Posted by Don  on  Thu Jul 17, 2008  at  06:44 PM
Don, While you are not alone on not liking any type of cleaning, when a dentist/dental hyg says you need a deep cleaning, they are saying you have gum disease or peiodontal disease. Please google it and educate yourself and do not ignore it-there are far reaching problems that can occur. Gum disease is a chronic condition, not one that is treated once and done. After initial deep scaling, a regular regimen of 2-4 months cleanings should happen. Periodontal disease is the number one reason for tooth loss, not decay. Typically it does not just get better, you need intervention. There are also overall health implications: it is highly correlated with heart disease and stroke, just to name a couple. On some sites it also mentions cancer, that has not had too much research to back that claim. As far as root canals go...it is tricky. If you don't get one you run a big risk of infection and pain, but if you don't feel you need one, I would get a second opinion.
It is extremely difficult to find a dentist that you trust. I encourage you to talk to your friends/family/co workers to see who they recommend. If I were going to find a dentist in a place where I was unfamiliar with, I would first try the crown council website...http://crowncouncil.com/
Ultimately Don, all treatment is up to you...it's your body and your money. Trust your instincts and find someone you trust and can build a relationship with, that would be best for you and you are the important one.
Posted by JM  on  Thu Jul 17, 2008  at  11:40 PM
I recently went to my HMO Dentist for a cleaning and check up. They told me I needed a treatment of special medicine to prevent gum disease and it costs $200 for one treatment. I declined because I could not see how a half of a syringe of anything could sell for $200. They also told me that along with the normal cleaning I needed a light scaling. After the cleaning, I asked the Dentist what part of the cleaning was the scaling and she told me that she didn't have time to explain and that I should just set another appointment and she would explain. I noticed that the cleaning was exactly like the 3 I have had in the past. On the way out they told me is was $175 total. I asked the person at the desk to explain to me what exactly the $175 was for because they did not do anything different than the last few cleanings. After quite a while in the back she came out and said it was a mistake and that the procedure they were charging me for was not anything they did to me. The total was now $0 since 2 cleanings per year are covered on the HMO.
My opinion on Dentists is that I do not trust any of them. I am sure that all of them are not trying to rip off the patients, but my advise to others is, "Question everything they say you need and make them explain it to you in plain English. If they cannot explain it, don't let them do it. Also, don't pay hundreds for the little syringe of medicine to control gum disease, just keep your teeth clean with a sonicare and some mouthwash/plac control."
Posted by Jeff  in  LA  on  Mon Aug 11, 2008  at  03:31 PM
"Deep cleaning" is new and it's pure BS. Unless
they can show you cavities in your X-RAY do not
fall for it.
Posted by John  in  Dallas  on  Tue Nov 04, 2008  at  03:57 PM
Treatment of gum disease is one of the most confusing aspects of dentistry for patients, and we answer many questions over the course of a day about it.

The difference between a "deep cleaning" and a regular cleaning is that a deep cleaning (AKA "Scaling and Root Planing" or "SRP") is a specific treatment for removing hardened plaque deposits ("tartar" or "calculus") that exist below the gumline. It is tedious, detailed work, and helps reduce or stop gum disease.

Gum disease is not painful, and the only symptom you might notice is bleeding of the gums when you brush or floss. However, it silently destroys the support system around your teeth, and is indicated to be a contributing factor for diabetes and heart disease.

SRP is charged out by the quadrant, and the dentist usually judges how many quadrants to charge for given your gum measurements. Generally speaking, the longer you've gone without a cleaning, the worse the gum disease is, and the more quadrants of SRP you will require.

Certain medicaments can also be used to help SRP heal gums. Usually, these are derivatives of the tetracycline family. One, called "Arestin", is designed to stick to the gum tissue and kill bacteria for around three weeks-giving your gum a chance to heal in a near-sterile environment. Since this drug is still under patent, it is expensive. But, it's far cheaper than gum surgery!

The bottom line is this: it's your body and you're ultimately responsible for whatever treatment you get.

However, while I've met a few dentists that are unethical, the vast, vast majority of dentists I've ever met are NOT going to put their bottom line above giving you appropriate treatment.
Posted by Trevor Clemons  on  Mon Jan 11, 2010  at  12:01 AM
RE: x-rays and cavities

There are several ways to detect cavities. X-rays are the most common way we have to find cavities that are in between teeth. They do not show cavities that are in other locations on a tooth, (unless the cavity is enormous). When cavities between teeth DO show up on an X-ray, they have to be pretty big, in fact, studies have shown that they are 2X-7X bigger in the mouth as they are on the X-ray.

So yes, a competent dentist will be able to detect cavities that do not show up on X-rays. And you should hope he/she does, because when cavities show up on X-rays, they have usually gotten to be very large, indeed.
Posted by Trevor Clemons  on  Mon Jan 11, 2010  at  12:08 AM
Dentists routinely lie about cavities. I have had unnecessary extractions, root canals and fillings (23 fillings in all) I only have an upper and lower moler on my left side to chew with and only 4 on the right top and bottom total. With wisdom teeth most people have about 16, 4 in each quadrant, to chew with. I have a total of 6. Only about 3 to 5 of my fillings were necessary.
Posted by Bigbaby  on  Sun Sep 26, 2010  at  11:05 PM
Yes, I have had experiences with Dentists lying about Cavities and work needed. The Dental industry has become exactly like buying a used car. Without fail, the last four dentists that I've been to over the years have found an excuse to use up every penny of my dental insurance each year. This is always done on my first visit, and then each year after. I have had dentists claim that I have Cavities where I literally JUST had one filled by another Dentist.

The part that bugs me, is that it's always a set number of Cavities. It's never just one, it's always 5-7 of them. That's just impossible. I have very healthy gums, I floss, brush and use mouthwash. Not to mention, my teeth are very strong due to a healthy diet and plenty of minerals.

The sad thing is the wingman (or woman) that they use to try to rack up possible charges once you've been taken to the final stage of the visit. It's ALWAYS well over $1000 and usually upwards $8-10 thousand dollars. Dentists always ask you what you do for a living in their paperwork, and then in the chair. This way, they can figure out how much to rip you off. I've tried telling Dentists different things, and I get different treatments.

Don't fool yourself into thinking that all Dentists are honest, they are not and this problem is more widespread than people realize.
Posted by not happy  on  Thu Sep 30, 2010  at  08:00 PM
Its been a few years since I posted here. Anyways I go back to dentist after 3 years or so and had the drill and fill on a tooth that was bugging me. - The lady picks around and finds a "sticky" spot - says she doesnt have to drill or use the numbing stuff. She grinds some with the drill until I squinch in pain then stops - puts some goop on and I'mm off. - Well the tooth I go in for is pain free - the one she drilled on hurts - HA. Anyways I figger the tooth heated up and burned some nerves. - I say to myself I'm not going back - after a month the pain goes away. - Actually what was funny about the whole thing is that the female dentist and the female helper are all prim and perfect - w perfect hair and flashing perfect teeth. The lady who did the work had a little piece of lint stuck in her hair sprayed rats nest. Before I left I said "you have a piece of something in your hair - looks like a maggot" - she ran to the bathroom lickity split and her worker laughed and laughed - she knew it was there just didnt say anything the whole day... 2 prim biatches - one with a maggot in her hair.. too funny !
Posted by Sean  in  oklahoma  on  Thu Sep 30, 2010  at  09:48 PM
OH - forgot to say the price was over 200 bucks for a month of pain.
Posted by sean  in  oklahoma  on  Thu Sep 30, 2010  at  09:50 PM
I told Dentist I didnt want any gas or numbing medication to pull my tooth. He came back with a Viagra pill. I said "Whats that for?" He said "You will need something to hold on to while I pull your tooth."
Posted by Sean  on  Tue Nov 09, 2010  at  10:14 AM
DON'T GO TO "DR" WAYNE DIBARTOLA IN PENNSYLVANIA THIS MAN IS A CRIMINAL. HE IS NOW IN COURT FOR PUTTING A MAN TO SLEEP AND REMOVING HEALTHY TOOTH ENAMEL ON 22 TEETH FROM A PATIENT TO PUT CROWNS ON ALONG OTHER UNNECESSARY RESTORAL WORK. HE PERFORMS TEETH CLEANINGS AND CALL IT "SOFT TISSUE" MANAGEMENT. HE CHARGED ME NEARLY $700.00 (US) YEARS AGO. WHEN PATIENTS TELL HIM THEY CAN'T AFFORD IT HE SUES THE IN COURT, WITH THE COMPLICITY OF THE MAGISTRATE OF SOUTH FAYETTE TOWNSHIP. HE REMOVED 4,000 OF RESTORAL WORK IN MY MOUTH IN ORDER FILLED "CAVATIES" THAT DID NOT EXIST. FORMER EMPLOYEES QUIT BECAUSE THEY DID NOT WANT TO BE PART OF THE SCAM. MY COUSIN BEING ONE OF THEM. SHE DIDN'T KNOW I HAD EVER BEEN TAKEN ADVANTAGE OF HIM UNTIL YEARS LATER. HE'S BEING SUED RIGHT NOW
Posted by robert  on  Wed Jan 26, 2011  at  02:58 PM
DON'T GO TO "DR" WAYNE DIBARTOLA IN PENNSYLVANIA THIS MAN IS A CRIMINAL. HE IS NOW IN COURT FOR PUTTING A MAN TO SLEEP AND REMOVING HEALTHY TOOTH ENAMEL ON 22 TEETH FROM A PATIENT TO PUT CROWNS ON ALONG WITH OTHER UNNECESSARY RESTORAL WORK. HE PERFORMS TEETH CLEANINGS AND CALLS IT "SOFT TISSUE" MANAGEMENT. HE CHARGED ME NEARLY $700.00 (US) YEARS AGO. WHEN PATIENTS TELL HIM THEY CAN'T AFFORD IT 1/4 OF THE WAY THROUGH THE 4 TREATMENTS HE SUES THEM IN COURT, WITH THE COMPLICITY OF THE MAGISTRATE OF SOUTH FAYETTE TOWNSHIP. HE REMOVED 4,000 OF RESTORAL WORK IN MY MOUTH IN ORDER TO FILL "CAVATIES" THAT DID NOT EXIST. FORMER EMPLOYEES QUIT BECAUSE THEY DID NOT WANT TO BE PART OF THE SCAM. MY COUSIN BEING ONE OF THEM. SHE DIDN'T KNOW I HAD EVER BEEN TAKEN ADVANTAGE OF HIM UNTIL YEARS LATER.
Posted by ROBERT  on  Wed Jan 26, 2011  at  03:10 PM
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