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Teenage Dental work - are they 'overservicing' ?

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#1 littlepickle

Posted 08 February 2019 - 10:36 AM

I have just come back from the dentist with my DD 16 following a general check up, xrays (for wisdom teeth position), general dental xrays and scale and clean. Thankfully private health insurance covered 3/4 of the $450 cost.

The dentist has identified the need for 3 Adhesive restorations (Fillings) on visual appearance. The xrays do not identify damage to the enamel and he believes that they will be able to be performed without the use of local analgesia. Cost is $580 before rebate. The cost is about what I would expect but I guess I am thinking about getting a second opinion in regards to the actual 'need'...

They also strongly suggested the application of fissure sealing at $600 but I would be keen to hear for those in the business about the benefits and risks of going ahead with the treatment.

Suggested wisdom teeth are removed (she only has 3) but I would be seeking feedback from her orthodontist first and would then use an oral surgeon for the removal not the dentist. She is two years post braces..

I just got this uneasy feeling watching the pushy receptionist try and book every person in for a scale and clean as they were leaving - offering to get a quote from their insurance company.

When I informed her of the health fund we belong to she wanted to quote the whole family on a variety of things...

Thanks in advance

#2 Mumma3

Posted 08 February 2019 - 11:36 AM

Is this a dentist who has been hooked up to a health fund?
We used to go to a reasonably good dentist but then they became a PHI fund name dentist. All of. A sudden things “needed to be done” and costs new out for patients not with that particular PHI.
We changed dentist.

#3 molinero

Posted 08 February 2019 - 11:39 AM

100% I believe this happens.
I've been told so many different things from different dentists.

#4 Crooked Frame

Posted 08 February 2019 - 11:49 AM

Definitely go with your gut and get a second opinion.

#5 TheGreenSheep

Posted 08 February 2019 - 11:56 AM

Wow, thats some bill for her teeth. If anything Id be shopping around for a more affordable dentist. Our kids had fissure sealants done at the highway robber local dentist and they were $75 each, I changed dentist and they were $40 each tooth. That is one of many expensive items charged from him. I haven't been back to the old dentist in five years, he is still texting and mailing me reminders. I ignore all of it, he isn't getting another cent from me.

#6 BeachesBaby

Posted 08 February 2019 - 04:07 PM

I'm someone who almost always has something that the dentist finds either on x rays or by digging with that tiny ice pick they all use. I always did what they told me, even though I've never felt pain from a cavity, until a friend told me her father is a dentist and has told her nothing needs to be done unless it's causing pain. So if you're unsure, your child feels fine, and the X-rays showed nothing, it seems like it's not an urgent situation where you have to do something now vs. waiting 6 months until her next checkup.

#7 UniKitty

Posted 09 February 2019 - 12:02 AM

If you are in WA, call your local school dental therapy clinic for a (free!) second opinion. Your daughter is eligible until she turns 17 or end of year 11 - whichever comes first.


#8 littlepickle

Posted 09 February 2019 - 12:38 AM

Thanks for the information and replies. Unikitty we have used the school dentist in the past and the care has always been great - it is however extremely difficult to get an appointment that is not in school time . I had picked this new practice as it is walking distance from home and I thought it would be useful for her once she finishes school and takes responsibility for these things (I will obviously be still paying the bills ) I will arrange to have her scans forwarded to my usual dentist and we will head in for a second opinion.

#9 UniKitty

Posted 09 February 2019 - 12:56 AM

Completely understand, that is the downside to a free service.

I think a second opinion is definitely a good idea though. Good luck.

#10 Kafkaesque

Posted 09 February 2019 - 12:56 PM

It’s a massive bug bear of mine that I believe dentist regularly over service in the quest for “perfect” teeth.

As a PP said I use the school dentist to give a second opinion but if that’s not an option just try another private dentist.

#11 HolierThanCow

Posted 09 February 2019 - 01:08 PM

We had an issue with our daughter having over-crowding that one (expensive) orthodontist wanted to 'correct' with a lip bumper and another one (inexpensive, less well-established) said to 'leave and see what happens'. We were looking at a $2000 bill for the bumper treatment with all the appointments. We went with the second orthodontist's recommendation and he proved to be right; the overcrowding was reduced markedly after another year of jaw growth and two of the impacted teeth came through without a problem (a little crooked, but braces were always going to be needed down the track anyway).

Definitely get a second opinion.

#12 Fossy

Posted 09 February 2019 - 01:14 PM

A good dentist, or any professioNl really, should encourage a second opinion if you seem unsure.
It does seem expensive though, we were just quoted $120 for 4 fissure seals, we will get them done as I believe they’re a very good preventative measure.
Maybe ask local friends and see if they can recommend someone for a second opinion?

#13 Octopodes

Posted 09 February 2019 - 01:40 PM

DS had the fissure sealant thing done a couple of years ago, it cost nowhere near that amount. It has been great at protecting his teeth from further damage.

I'd shop around if you are unhappy with your dentist. Ours doesn't push for any unnecessary work to be done and is understanding that required work is expensive and may take time to do. She is very gentle, even DS11 doesn't mind going to see her. She also doesn't charge a gap for the usual 6 month check up. A clean, scale and xrays cost me nothing last week.

There are good dentists out there.

Edited by Octopodes, 09 February 2019 - 01:41 PM.

#14 *Ker*

Posted 09 February 2019 - 02:12 PM

DD had two fissure sealants about 2 years ago and I think I paid about $80.

I feel the pain with dentist costs. I had DS at the dentist this week and he needs 2 teeth removed and braces. Ugh.

#15 littlepickle

Posted 09 February 2019 - 07:19 PM

We have already spent $2000 on a fixed palate expander and $6500 for braces- all out of pocket as our health fund didn’t cover at the time. I would be less suspicious of the need for the three fillings if they were at the junction of two teeth/ between teeth as this is where the bacteria is likely to build. But the dentist has indicated that these are all on the surface of the molars and superficial enough that local anaesthetic would not be required.
Will book an appointment with my dentist and then face pushy receptionist to arrange to have the images transferred - that could be an interesting discussion.

#16 Gudrun

Posted 09 February 2019 - 07:44 PM

Yeah LP red flag territory.

#17 Mae55

Posted 09 February 2019 - 09:27 PM

Our dentist told us it wasn’t worth getting fissure sealant when my son was ten - she said it was too late. So now I’m confused!!

#18 Expelliarmus

Posted 09 February 2019 - 10:03 PM

My kids' have fissure seals on all their teeth, and have had them reapplied as necessary right into late teens. Given they haven't got any fillings since then I would say they are worth it.

PP, it could be that the fissure seals are not worth it as the tooth is not a permanent molar and will fall out soon. My kids all had fissure seals put on  their permanent teeth, after the milk teeth (which also had fissure seals on in early childhood) fell out.

I paid around $45 a tooth so $600 for all the molars doesn't seem too far off the mark.

#19 Sincerely

Posted 09 February 2019 - 11:02 PM

When DS was 5, we were told on his first vsit to the paediatric dentist that he needed two extractions & four crowns, under general anaesthetic, at a cost of $6K. Whilst we were willing to pay, I didn't want him to have unnecessary dental work & got a second opinion. The second dentist, who wasn't specifically a paediatric dentist but treated mainly kids, said he needed four fillings, without anaesthetic, at a total cost of $800. They've all lasted until his milk teeth were replaced by adult teeth.

PS: DS now has perfect teeth.

Edited by Sincerely, 09 February 2019 - 11:03 PM.

#20 limakilo

Posted 10 February 2019 - 02:30 PM

I think about it this way, I would rather the dentist tell us everything that could be done, and we can choose, rather than them not tell us, and an issue get worse over time.
How would they choose what they did and didn't tell you?

Take it like any other service, they advise you on what could be done, you choose your options.
We have just come out the other side of braces, retainers, bands, tooth rotating and fissure seals.

#21 BadCat

Posted 10 February 2019 - 03:03 PM

Yes, they overservice.  No doubt whatsoever.

#22 SummerStar

Posted 10 February 2019 - 03:32 PM

View PostMae55, on 09 February 2019 - 09:27 PM, said:

Our dentist told us it wasn’t worth getting fissure sealant when my son was ten - she said it was too late. So now I’m confused!!

Never too late. They protect the tooth from decay. If there's no decay in the tooth then they're worth putting on. You can get them all your life if you want them.

I do disagree with the poster who said nothing needs to be fixed unless it's causing pain. Sometimes fixing things before they are a problem can prevent further damage, unnecessary pain and infection. If something is wrong it needs fixing. But like with absolutely any profession you will find dodgy dentists or overpriced ones. I'd go a second opinion.

#23 Expelliarmus

Posted 10 February 2019 - 03:58 PM

Yeah, with my teeth if I waited for pain, I’d have no teeth left. Frequently they are touch and go to save even when I do have pain.

Thus I have erred on the side of caution and been proactive and preventative with my kids. I can’t afford to wait for pain as that fix is going to be thousands and thousands.

#24 Jingleflea

Posted 10 February 2019 - 06:51 PM

I have a tooth I suspect was filled when it wasn't needed.
And of course now it has been filled the fillings don't last forever and need replacing. I never even saw a dot on the tooth she filled, let alone had pain or sensitivity or anything.

#25 iwanttosleepin

Posted 10 February 2019 - 07:02 PM

My parents are both dentists (now retired).  They say over servicing is rampant in the industry.  They were so busy their whole careers they didn't have time for overservicing.

There is some changing mindset over fissure sealants.

Myself and my siblings all had ours done in the 80/90s.  but my parents have never suggested it for any of my kids.  (and they get free treatment).

Orthodontists are the worst for over treatment.  I have a kid with a complicated situation.  I am ignoring all of it until he has all adult teeth and we can assess properly.  My current orthodontist said 'yeah, could do lots now - probably won't make much difference'.  so we will just wait and see and do it all at once.

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