Avoiding Dentist Scams and the 11 Unnecessary Dental Procedures

Posted by Dr. Joanne Baldos and Dr. Adam Szymczak on Feb 2, 2020 9:30:26 AM

Unnecessary dental procedures are by far the most common and most costly of all dental scams.


Any person who learns how to avoid unnecessary dental procedures will save more than 50% on dental costs over their lifetime!


Keeping clear of over-treatment not only saves you money but is also healthier for your teeth because dental work does not hold up as long as you own a natural tooth structure. Dental work leads to more dental work in the future!


Besides brushing and flossing, avoiding the dental scams of unneeded dental work is the next best strategy to improve your dental health.

This blog post is divided into 3 key sections:  


1) Do dentists perform unnecessary dental procedures and is it a dental scam?

>>>> discusses why dental scams exist and how severe/ widespread it is <<<<<


2) Warning signs of a bad dentist:

>>>> Choose a "doctor dentist" and avoid a “business dentist" <<<<

>>>> learn the warning signs of an unethical dentist <<<<


3) Avoiding Top 11 Unnecessary Dental Procedures:

>>>> A patient is at a disadvantage when discussing dental treatment with a business dentist as the dentist knows more and makes it make sense. Even out the information gap!!! Ask better questions to make better choices about your dental health. <<<<


We will give you insider knowledge of how the dental profession works which in turn will allow you to dodge unnecessary dental work. You should read all 3 sections to maximize your chances of avoiding the experience of falling for a dental scam.


No matter where you live in the world, no matter who your dentist is. Having insider knowledge will save you money and improve your dental health. Less dental work means more dental health!


1) Do dentists perform unnecessary dental procedures and is it a dentist scam? Sadly, YES and YES 🙁😟😞

Unnecessary Dental Procedures and Dentist Scams


If you do not participate in a discussion with your dentist about what should be done and what should not be done, you will end up with a bigger dental bill and less dental health.

Let us explain how this happens:


You would never invite a general contractor to your home and say nothing about what you need and want because you would be giving up control to the general contractor to decide what will be done and you will end up with a BIG bill.


If your roof or foundation is leaking it NEEDS to be fixed because otherwise, it will lead to bigger problems that will cost you even more to fix. On the other hand, you may WANT to replace your old kitchen cabinets which are still working well, but this is not needed.


Most people go to the dentist and allow the dentist to decide what will be done. In addition to getting dental work that SHOULD be done ( benefits dental health)😀 , they end up getting dental work that CAN be done ( treatment that harms dental health).


Unnecessary dental procedures are by far the biggest dental scams, the problem is widespread.


In Jan. 2020, Dr. Adam Szymczak and Dr. Joanne Baldos conducted an in-depth analysis of 351 dental clinics across Canada involving over half a million patients. The results are shocking!


Average Dental Costs in Canada


Average dental costs in Canada differ

HUGELY between Different Dental Clinics!

  • over 55% of dental clinics overcharge by doing unnecessary dental procedures, a dentist scam that not only wastes patient’s time and money, it also causes less dental health!
  • dental costs vary HUGELY: from $193 to $1650 per patient per year!!!!!!!!!!!
  • IF you are a patient at the “least expensive” dental clinic you will pay $1,930 over 10 years for your dental care
  • IF you are a patient at the “most expensive” dental clinic you will pay $16,500 over 10 years for your dental care
  • that’s more than an 8 times difference between the least and most expensive dental clinic!

The BIGGEST factor responsible for these huge differences in the average dental costs in Canada between dental clinics is that over 55% of dental clinics do unnecessary dental treatment!


Most people incorrectly think that different dental offices have different pricing and hence that's the reason for the variation. The truth is that the price of a specific dental procedure does not differ between dentists because almost all dentists follow the dental fee guide


In other words, the price of a specific dental procedure does not differ from dentist to dentist, however, the number and the extent of the procedures that you will have done depends on who your dentist is!


The problem is widespread and it's getting worse as "corporate American" has been taking over the dental industry. There are regulations in place to ensure that only a dentist can own a dental office, however, sneaky lawyers and business people have figured a way around these laws which were designed to protect patients.


2) Warning signs of a bad dentist:

Choose a "doctor dentist" and avoid a “business dentist"!

Dentist Scams and Unnecessary Dental Treatment


Is a dentist after your dental health or wallet?


A business dentist will recommend and perform as much dental work as you will allow him/ her to do, no matter what impact that has on your dental and overall health. 


A business dentist asks you to “Open wide”, looks around and recommends all the things that “Can be done”. Get ready to “Open wide” your wallet! These dentists are a scam.


That’s why business dentists’ dental costs are so high! You end up with many more dental procedures than you need.


In contrast, a doctor dentist attentively listens to your concerns, carefully examines your mouth and reviews your medical history. A doctor dentist asks a completely different question: “What should be done?”. Carefully weigh the advantages and disadvantages of ALL options including DOING NOTHING, which results in FEWER treatment recommendations.


A doctor dentist recommends and performs only needed dental treatment, the treatment that will benefit your dental and overall health. That’s why a doctor dentists’ dental costs to you are MUCH lower than from a business dentist.


A powerful strategy to avoid unnecessary dental procedures is to engage the dentist in an honest discussion about the benefits and risks of all the available options, including the option of doing nothing. If you have multiple dental issues, discuss with the dentist to prioritize treatment from most beneficial to least beneficial, this way you can do the most important dental procedures first.


No matter where you live this is a good strategy to avoid unneeded dentist. Ask the right questions to avoid dentist scams.


If your dentist is unwilling or unable to have a meaningful discussion with you about how the proposed treatment benefits you, find another dentist.


3) Avoiding Top 11 Unnecessary Dental


Avoiding Top 10 Unnecessary Dental Treatments

Over 55% of dental clinics recommend and perform unnecessary dental treatment daily!


Unnecessary dental treatment not only wastes patients’ time and money, but it also reduces dental health as NOTHING is healthier than a natural healthy tooth!


A patient is at a disadvantage when discussing dental treatment with a business dentist as the dentist knows more and makes it make sense. This “information asymmetry” between a patient and the dentist results in over 55% of patients ending up with unnecessary dental treatment, a dentist scam.


Even out the information gap and understand why certain dental procedures should and should not be done. Here are the TOP unnecessary Dental Procedures used in a dentist scam:


1) Teeth Veneers Strip Away Precious Natural Enamel

Dental veneers are a cosmetic dentist’s first choice in “improving” smiles. A business dentist promotes dental veneers as they are the most profitable type of dental treatment.


Patients are attracted to the before and after photos and the quick results, within 2 weeks you can have a new smile:

the illusion and appeal of dental veneers


What a patient never sees is the DURING treatment photos with the enamel stripped away from the teeth:

Teeth Veneers Strip Away Precious Natural Enamel


What a patient rarely gets told is that veneered teeth a higher chance of tooth decay, gum disease and fracturing/ chipping compared to natural teeth.


Business dentists talk about veneers as if they last forever, but the reality is that they need to be redone every 10-15 years! That’s a HUGE cost over the lifetime of a patient! A 30-year-old patient that spends $10,000 on veneers will end up spending another $50,000 on average over their lifetime to repair and replace the veneers.


Teeth veneers are purely a cosmetic procedure at the expense of your dental health!


Dental veneers are a doctor dentist’s last choice in improving smiles. In most cases straightening and whitening your teeth is a much better option.



2) Unnecessary Crown: Dental Crowns Destroy Teeth

dental crown

Most dentists will tell you that a tooth with a large filling or defect like in the picture above needs to be crowned because the tooth is at risk of fracturing. This thinking is outdated and comes from an era of silver fillings.


Modern dental fillings bond to and re-enforce the remaining tooth structure making the tooth unlikely to fracture and if it does fracture another filling can be placed. 


In contrast, silver fillings sit inside the tooth by friction, they do not bond to the tooth and therefore make the remaining tooth structure prone to fracture hence the need for dental crowns.


In the era of bonded fillings, a dental crown should be done only if a tooth is at risk of fracturing IN SUCH A WAY THAT the tooth will have to be extracted. In practical terms this means that only chewing teeth ( molars and premolars) with root canals should be crowned, these are the only teeth that receive great enough forces deep down into the roots to a point that they make fracture in such a way that they will become unfixable. 


Front teeth, root canal or not, are not strengthened by crowning them: do NOT crown them!


Dentists are having a tough time letting go of this outdated concept, in fact, business dentists have invested over $100,000 on ”Dental crowns same day” machines. Guess who is paying for those machines through unnecessary dental procedures?



3) Unnecessary Cavity Filling: Teeth Cavities Can Reverse!

cavity can reverse

Every dental school in North America teaches that a tooth cavity that is in the first layer of the tooth ( in tooth enamel) can be reversed with improved oral hygiene and exposure to Fluoride in toothpaste. Can cavities go away? YES!


Over 55% of dentists abandon what they learn in dental school and will drill and fill these areas of “incipient decay” (the technical term for the initial cavity formation). This condemns the tooth to be re-drilled every 10-15 years as fillings do not last as long as natural tooth structure.


“Incipient decay” that is reversed is more resistant to getting another cavity than the original tooth structure as such you will never need to have your tooth drilled! Reversing a cavity by brushing with a fluoridated toothpaste and flossing is better for your current and future dental health compared to having an unnecessary cavity filling.


A business dentist will drill teeth cavities that can reverse on their own.

A business dentist will drill discoloured areas of the tooth that used to be cavities, but will never be a problem.

People pay a business dentist to damage teeth!

This is why a business dentist’s average dental costs are higher.



4) Unnecessary Filling Replacement

Replacing previous dental fillings is the most common treatment that a dentist performs because once you get a filling in a tooth, you are MORE prone to get another cavity compared to a natural tooth!


Please brush and floss to prevent tooth decay. Only your natural teeth can last a lifetime.


A dental filling needs replacement IF the filling fell out or a cavity formed around the filling or there are fractures within the tooth next to the filling. NO OTHER REASON!


A business dentist will replace dental fillings because they are: silver, old, discoloured, breaking down… NONE of those reasons benefit your health, in fact, it harms your teeth because drilling out a filling always results in removing healthy tooth structure as well.


Amalgam marginal breakdown


A business dentist will say the above fillings have "marginal breakdown" ( chipping at the amalgam/tooth interface) and need a replacement! The truth is that these silver fillings have another 5+ years in them due to the amazing "self-sealing" property of dental amalgam.


5) What’s with all the dental X-rays?

Dental X-rays should be taken only if it makes a difference in what will be done or how it will be done.


It is routine for a business dentist to take X-rays for reasons that have nothing to do with your dental health such as “your insurance will cover it” OR "routine x-rays" OR "we need to take a closer look".


Another disturbing trend in dentistry is CT scans. Dental CT scans expose you to about 100 times more radiation than a single dental X-ray. The technology is amazing, but always ask how does getting a CT scan benefit you: Will it make a difference in what is done or how it will be done?



6) Dental Bridges Should NEVER be done!

A dental bridge is an ancient technique to replace missing teeth.


The installation of a dental bridge requires grinding down the surrounding teeth into stumps! Look at the stumps under the bridge:



Dental bridges will eventually cause the loss of the supporting teeth (the stumps) because of overload and the inability to keep the bridge clean.


If you are missing a tooth, the best option is a dental implant. The next best option is to do NOTHING. All other options such as dental bridges and partial dentures will SPEED UP the loss of your teeth!



7) Gum grafts are a Cosmetic Procedure

gum recession

Patients often notice that their tooth is looking longer with age, this is as a result of gum recession. Almost all patients assume that this is a sign of gum disease and should be corrected.


Gum recession on a tooth is like a wrinkle on the face in that it is more common with age and it is a cosmetic issue.


Gum recession is NOT a disease. Gum recession does NOT lead to tooth loss!


Gum grafts do NOT make your teeth healthier!


Business dentists will promote that you get a gum graft and will make it sound that it will make your tooth/ gum healthier, your dental costs will be higher! 



8) Wisdom Teeth

Experts NOW say NOT to remove your wisdom teeth, but business dentists are refusing to listen because average dental costs to you will decrease. Read more:


When you need to remove Wisdom Teeth

When you need to remove Wisdom Teeth

9) Dental Implants

A dental implant is the next best thing to your natural tooth.


Natural teeth are better than dental implants! Save your tooth, if you can.


When a dentist says “your tooth is not fixable”, he/ she means “I can not save your tooth”. Get a second opinion!


A business dentist is quick to get rid of your tooth as replacing your tooth is the more expensive option than fixing your tooth.



10) Orthodontics is a Cosmetic Procedure

Getting your teeth straightened improves the way your smile looks.

Getting your teeth straightened does NOT make your teeth, gums or jaw joint healthier!


A business dentist will talk about your bite and teeth as if you had some disease that needs correcting: they will say that you have a deep bite and/ or over-jet/ cross-bite as if they were a disease, convincing you that you NEED the teeth straightened.


Orthodontics is a cosmetic procedure, not a health procedure. If you are getting your teeth straightened make sure you understand the only reason for it: COSMETICS.


Save on dental costs and don’t get your teeth straightened if you think you are doing it to improve your dental health.


11) Root Canal Scam

A root canal is a filling inside the root of a tooth.


When bacteria have found their way inside the root of the tooth, most commonly because of tooth decay (cavity), a root canal is needed because otherwise, the bacteria will spread into the bone, gum and face.


Do not feel pressured into getting a root canal. Keep in mind that when a dentist recommends a root canal, you always have the option of removing the tooth.


It is common for a dentist to recommend a root canal before doing a crown. That's a double dental scam: an unnecessary crown and root canal scam. That's about $2,500 that you are paying to:

  • make your tooth less healthy
  • make your tooth weaker
  • decrease the longevity of the tooth

You are paying the dentist to destroy your teeth! CRAZY. Read:

Root Canal Cost: Save Money, Time and Frustrations




Avoid the Dental Scam of Unnecessary Dental Procedures


In Canada, there is a 55% chance that your dental costs are excessive because you are getting unnecessary dental procedures by business dentists which is the most common dentist scam. 


The problem in the USA is even worse where a business dentist and corporate dental clinics are the norms. For example:


1) An investigative reporter for Reader's Digest visits 50 different dentists: 75% of dentists recommended significantly more treatment than what is taught in dental school


2) Kool Smiles Performed “Unnecessary” Procedures on Children


3) Dental Chain Violated New York Law: overcharging by unnecessary dental procedures


4) Small Smiles, performing unnecessary dental treatments on children


Avoiding business dentists and their number one dentist scam of unnecessary dental work is by far the best way to reduce your dental costs and improve your dental health at the same time.


Find a doctor dentist and avoid a business dentist. A doctor dentist is the best dentist for your health.


Learn more about the dental work that has been recommended to you to make sure you are not getting unnecessary dental work.


Your average dental costs can be lower, find a doctor dentist- a dentist that has your best interests in mind.


FAQ: Dental Scams and Unnecessary Dental Procedures


Do dentists lie about cavities?


Business dentists fix all cavities. However, not all cavities need to be fixed. When a cavity is in the first layer of the tooth, the enamel, it can be completely reversed by brushing and flossing. A cavity that reverses by remineralization creates new tooth structure that is stronger than the original tooth structure. 



How to get rid of cavities?


When a cavity is in the tooth enamel, the first of three layers of the tooth, a cavity can be reversed by brushing with a fluoridated toothpaste and flossing. When a cavity makes its way into the second layer of the tooth, the dentin, it can not reverse as such a filling is needed. When a cavity gets into the pulp, the third layer of the tooth, the only options are to get rid of the cavity is to do a root canal or pull out the tooth. 



Can cavities go away?


YES! Cavities can go away on their own if they are in the first layer of the tooth, the tooth enamel. Tooth enamel is the hardest substance in the body and contains the highest percentage of minerals, 96%, of any other part of the body. You can increase the chances that cavities will go away if you use a fluoride toothpaste and brush twice a day and floss daily using the proper techniques.



Do dentists lie?


There is a huge difference between which dental work needs to be done and which dental work can be done. The dental work that needs to be done is the dental work that has an overall positive effect on your health. Dental work that can be done has a positive effect on the dentist's bank account, but a negative effect on your health. Business dentists will perform as much dentistry as patients allow them, no matter what impact that has on their dental and overall health. 



Is my dentist lying about cavities?


Ask the dentist if cavities can go away. Every dental school in North America teaches that a tooth cavity that is in the first layer of the tooth ( in tooth enamel) can be reversed with improved oral hygiene and exposure to fluoride in toothpaste. If your dentist answers that cavities can not go away on their own, they are lying. Ask the dentist to show you how your cavity is beyond the first layer of the tooth, then and only then a cavity should be fixed.



Do dentists lie about root canals?


A root canal is never your only option, you can always have the tooth removed. A root canal is not needed just because you are getting a crown. The only time you need a root canal is when bacteria has made its way into the root, ask the dentist for proof that this has happened.



More information on this topic:

DENTIST PRICES and DENTAL COSTS: Finding Affordable Dental Care


In the best interest of your health and well-being,

Dr. Joanne Baldos and Dr. Adam Szymczak

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