Just some other thoughts...
Questions & Answers with a Periodontal Patient 7/16/01
(The following is a compilation of correspondence I had this morning...)
I had periodontal surgery on the upper right quadrant of my mouth about 10
days ago. These teeth were not in bad shape, but my dentist recommended a
periodontist after deep root scaling made no difference in the pockets.
My teeth are fairly nice looking, but not now. The surgery raised the gums
on two of my teeth up to the neck of the tooth and left some unsightly
spaces between my front teeth. I am so mad. The periodontist drilled away a
lot of the bone behind my last tooth and left me with a bone spur in the
back of my mouth. For this, I still owe him about $300 that my dental plan
won't cover! I feel like he should pay me for the damage!
When he took the protective covering off my teeth, on Friday, I almost cried.
I asked him if the gum would regenerate between my teeth and he said no,
but no one would notice. I WILL NOTICE. I am very discouraged and will
never go back. If my teeth ever get bad enough, I'll get dental implants
rather than go to a periodontist again.
NO one tells you that periodontal surgery makes your teeth look ridiculous.
It raises the gums to unnatural heights; It opens all sorts of spaces
between teeth and leaves new room for decay. What a rip off! I'm very
sorry I went in to have this done. I was deceived by the periodontist and
the dentist. But its all about money for them. They don't care if you like
the results or not.
I would advise people to do ANYTHING to avoid periodontal surgery. Its just
not worth it.
1) How thoroughly did the Dentist and Periodontist discuss the procedure and
outcome with you before you had the surgery?
The dentist who did the root scaling mentioned how the periodontal procedure
is done (they will peel back the gums and do some scraping... they may need
to do some bone grafting... They might put you on some antibiotics...", etc.)
He never mentioned the high gums, and new areas for tooth decay.
The periodontist was not very communicative at all and seemed reluctant to
discuss the whole thing too much. He made it sound like he was "Saving my
teeth". In fact, after the surgery he smugly said he thought he could save
my teeth (even though they weren't in that much danger to begin with).
I asked him before the surgery if the gums would look natural and he said
they would be a little higher, but that happens naturally anyway.
I told him I didn't want my front teeth done, only the two back teeth.
However, he did two of my front teeth anyway. I didn't feel it while he was
doing it so I didn't know until afterwards.
The extreme nature of the gum suturing didn't dawn on me until after surgery
when I pealed back a bit of the protective covering to see my front teeth
and was shocked to see that he had 1) operated on my front teeth and 2) left
such a space between the teeth. I got on the internet and looked at some
examples of other people who had had gum surgery and was shocked to see how
LONG the back teeth were.
2) Did they discuss costs?
They did discuss costs. I knew I would owe about $300, but hey, all these
experts are telling you its essential
3) How long after the original dentist did the deep root scaling did he
recommend seeing a periodontist?
I had the root scaling done late last year (November & December). In
February, I went back and the scaling had made ABSOLUTELY NO DIFFERENCE IN MY POCKETS. Not one iota. But it cost my insurance a lot of money to get
4) Did he tell you that he expected the scaling would shrink the pockets?
5) Did he discuss procedures to follow at home to aid this?
Just flossing and brushing
6) Did he recommend any sort of anti-infective therapy or other
treatments that you could apply at home or that you could come back to the
office to have done to shrink the pockets?
No home remedies were discussed, but I asked the periodontist about
antibiotic therapy and he said that the benefits from such would only be
temporary and the infection would come back.
7) Did he explain to you why the pockets had developed in the first place?
I do hope this helps someone. People are so vulnerable to getting sucked
into the dental maze when they are told they have periodontal disease...
It is certainly a way for dentist and periodontist to bankroll.
Most periodontal problems happen to people over 40 years old. Many of my
acquaintances are dealing with their teeth in some unhappy way. For
instance, the woman in the office near me has just had the root scaling
done. She has been told she needs to have the periodontal surgery. Two
other women in the office have already had the surgery within the last 5-10
years. One woman upstairs is in the process of having the surgery. My boss
has absolutely rotten teeth and would rather have her teeth pulled than have
the surgery. Another family friend has rotten teeth and hasn't seen the
dentist in years.
In addition, as people turn 40, all sorts of tests become medically
advisable - mammograms yearly, colonoscopy, more frequent dental cleanings,
aches and pains, etc. I have been to the doctor and dentist 4 times in the
last 10 days. I am discouraged with the high maintenance of the body and
mouth after 40.
In short, we are forced to deal with our mortality in a very unpleasant way
after age 40. I don't want to be one of those old folks who spends most of
their time at the doctor and dentist and pharmacy. I see them all the time.
Of all the helping professions, the ones I am most skeptical about deal with
the mouth - dentists, oral surgeons, periodontist, orthodontists,
implantologists, etc. They seem to always find something else to fix at an
enormous price. They use scare tactics to make you buy into their programs
- "you'll lose that tooth if you don't do something..." By the end of your
life you can spend thousands of dollars on one tooth in fillings and
refillings, deep cleanings, straightening, surgeries, etc. and still end up
losing the tooth. Its a racket.
My dentist mentioned he had gone to a meeting of dentists where they
discussed how much they could get (my insurance) to cover. It
sounded fishy to me. In the mean time, lots of people don't get the dental
care they need because of the extreme cost.
Not to mention the web of referral fees... My dentist referred my daughter to
an oral surgeon to get her wisdom teeth extracted. I ended up paying a
pretty penny beyond what the insurance paid. I found out later that the
surgeon he referred me to charged $100 more PER TOOTH than most other
surgeons. I should have shopped around.
Then I talked to my periodontist about implants, and he was pretty negative.
He asked me how I had chosen an implantologist and started badmouthing the
guy even though he knew nothing about him. He wanted me to go to some
dentist he knew - probably so he could get the referral fee.
So I ask you, is it any wonder why people are fed up and skeptical?
Granted, there are also a lot of people who have bought into the "Dentist as
hero" school and think their dentist or periodontist is wonderful for
"Saving" their teeth.
I guess I sound a little bitter on this subject.
Thank you for your time. Your answers could very well be of great help to others.
Now you know why Nara entitled it, 'Money by the Mouthful'
Read this Success Story from a woman who took matters into her own hands...
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