Told I need a deep cleaning by my dentist

by Carol Arment
(New Port Richey, FL)

I moved to Florida from Pennsylvania. I always visited my dentist every 6 months for checkup and regular cleaning and have been told before that I didn't really need a regular cleaning but still opted to get it. Down here in Florida, I went to a dentist when it was time for a 6-month checkup and was measured for pockets by the hygienist. She supposedly found several 4 and a few 5 pockets and said I needed a deep cleaning and another girl came in with an application for Care Credit so that I could pay for this procedure over time. I refused this treatment and said that I doubted that I needed this treatment. I called the health department later in the day and the employee there told me that this sounds like a scam if they force you to have the treatment or they wouldn't accept you as a patient. I have tried to get into several dentists since then and have run into this same problem. I think this is a scam to get money from patients who may not even need the treatment and I feel that a patient should have the right to refuse a treatment they don't want or feel they need. The dental offices say that they can get into legal trouble if they don't give you this treatment if you need it. How do I find a dentist who I know is honest and doesn't force patients to get this treatment? I don't have swollen, sensitive gums, loose teeth or bleeding. No blood in sink when I spit. I brush at least twice a day and use an oral B Phillips toothbrush.

Reply:

Hi Carol, I'm sorry you are having trouble finding a dentist that you like. Maybe you can ask a friend for a referral. I don't like that approach and strongly believe there should be some flexibility in treatment planning based on your goals and desires. You have a right to have a voice in your treatment. While it is possible that you need more than a regular cleaning but it's also possible that you don't. Those tactics sound suspicious to me as well.

They won't get into "legal trouble" if everything is documented. All they have to do is record their findings and recommendations and note that you declined a deep cleaning. They may ask you to sign a form saying you declined.

A deep cleaning can be done as a localized treatment. You may only need a few areas "deep cleaned" There is a code for that ;)

I would keep looking until you find a dentist you like and trust.

Thanks for writing and good luck,
Shelly

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