Do dentists lie to patients without insurance?

I believe I have gingivitis.
My gums produce a sometimes bitter, slimy discharge that I am constantly sucking and tonguing off a increasing number of my lower teeth. Last Winter my teeth were aching so I went to my regular dentist who simply cleaned my teeth. I couldn’t believe that the problem was solves so I went to a second dentist who diagnosed me with gingivitis and planed my roots. I am wondering if the new dentist I am seeing now since I moved is worried my lack of insurance means that he might not get paid, and as a result is not willing to diagnose me with gum disease. It was obvious on my last visit that the dental tech. Believed I might have gingivitis but the dentist told her that my breath would have been bad if this were the case. I have been brushing and flossing regularly and nothing seems to take the taste or discharge away. I chew sugarless gum round the clock to make it bearable.

I have three questions:

1 Do my symptoms indicate gingivitis?
2 Do dentists lie to patients if they think the patient will try to opt out of paying them?
3 What should I do?

I think that any dentist would be ethically prohibited from intentionally giving you the wrong treatment. Still, there are creeps in every profession, I imagine.

If you’re capable of paying, I think the dentist would prefer non-insured patients, no? Then they get the full fee rather than the contracturally-agreed fees. For example, I just got my insurance notification for my wife’s and my last visit yesterday. Total billed was $134, total paid was $116, balance due on my part was $0 (no co-pay or deductible). In exchange for accepting insurance in the first place, the dentist would agree to take the lower payment.

My mom got a second opinion that allowed her to avoid root canals as well. Some dentists are up there with car salesmen and personal injusry lawyers.

Brush your teeth.

I was a personal injury lawyer, and I never once told anybody they needed a root canal.

I once backed very lightly into another car while not having insurance. We decided to take care of it ourselves.

The wife went to the mechanic, who told her it was $1400 in repairs, from a fender bump at about 3 mph. I insisted she get another quote. It was really $400.

If you don’t actually know the business, ask someone you trust who really does.

Tom Eaton:
Present company excepted, of course…

Tross, I’m wondering, how long have you been going to the first dentist?

I’m inclined to believe he may just be a lousy one, insurance or no. He should at least tell you what you need done. The last time I was going to be without insurance, I told my dentist, and she told me what could and could not wait until I had insurance again. Then she told me about her office’s payment plans, and gave me enough free toothpaste and dental floss to last me a year.

Dentists are like mechanics, you can’t afford to go to one you don’t trust completely. If you’re even wondering about his honesty, switch.

maybe hes just incompetent. I went to a dentist and he diagnosed me with 1 cavity, and his assistant cleaned my teeth. when i went to another dentist i was diagnosed with 6 cavities and the new dentist didn’t believe me when i said that i had had my teeth cleaned a few weeks before (the job was done poorly).

It could be the reverse. The second dentist told wanted to TREAT you as he could get more money out of you WITH insurance.

As for pulling teeth, many dentists refuse. I was bashed back in 97 and got 7 teeth broke. I had no insurance. I went thru 5 or 6 dentists that refused to pull my teeth as they could be saved with a root canal. Of course they wouldn’t treat me without credit (it was bad). I eventually found a dentist that would treat me and pay on time. I actually wound up getting 9 root canals as some other teeth shifted. Also one of the root canals failed after 5 years.

Denistry isn’t exact and with my teeth all cracked and not being able to do them all at once. I took me 4 years to do all of them paying as I go things get messed up. But my dentist never saw the gum problems. After I completed my restoration he sent me to the guy in his office that does a deep cleaning. He said I had gum disease. I chose not to treat it as God knows I still have teeth issues. They look OK but who knows how long they’ll last.

Umm… why would you choose not to treat gum disease ASAP? Won’t gum disease make other “teeth issues” even worse?

Depends on the treatment and on how bad the gums already are. I have gum disease, and my dentist recommended gum surgery, but told me that even with the surgery, I still might end up losing my teeth. I had the surgery done on one quadrant (12 years ago) , and decided that between the pain immediately after the surgery, the permanent discomfort after the surgery (sensitivity to heat, cold, and toothpaste, and food getting caught) and that fact that there was no guarantee that I wouldn’t end up with dentures anyway, I would go with the other option, which was extra-frequent cleanings.

Unlike most other problems, dental problems will eventually go away if you ignore them…

Drat. Now I have to see the dentist.

hammerbach, and all smokers eventually quit, one way or the other. The dentist-wife says this about dentures (roughly translated from Spanish):

When all of the teeth are pulled the (jawbone? the thing that the teeth are rooted to) starts to wear away. Facial muscles don’t get the correct excercise. The gums disappear. Losing all your teeth isn’t something you want to do, and dentures aren’t an improvment. (trust me, I joke about it every time she screams at me for not brushing well enough, you know, she who has the crowns and root canals and carias, and me with my perfect teeth).

Additionally root canals don’t fail – what did you mean by that, Markxx? Other things do go wrong, but once the nerve is dead, it’s dead.

Pepper Mill, a dental assistant (among her many talents) says that it does sound like it could be gingivitis. (She notes, however, that she is not a dentist, and wouldn’t make diagnoses over the internet, anyway.) She says that you should get a second opinion. The dentists she’s worked with would have given options, whether or not you had insurance. Lying to your patients is unethical, but it does happen.

As a teenager, I once had gingivitis. What worked really well, in addition to a more rigorous schedule of brushing and flossing, was using Listerine mouthwash after brushing (at least twice a day) to kill the bacteria. Six months later when I went back to the dentist the hygienist said my gums were 100% better.

So, just one person’s anecdote, but it might be worth trying. Rinsing with Listerine, even the minty kind, is pretty “intense” (that’s the Listerine commercial’s code word for “like swishing liquid fire around in your mouth”), but seems to be pretty effective.