Conflicting advice

Joined
Feb 12, 2014
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I had a dentist at a small practice that I liked and saw for about 5 years, paying out of pocket, and only occasionally needing a filing or to replace an old one. Then I got married, and my wife has dental insurance, so I chose to change dentists because of the insurance. They sent me to a large corporate dentist (As many locations as McDonalds), which did my first visit.

The corporate dentist took x-rays my first visit, refused to do a cleaning the same day, and told me I immediately needed 13 fillings or I would soon need 13 root canals. I was surprised, as I saw my dentist regularly and my teeth have always been fine. When I question this, I was told it was very obvious, and I should get a 2nd opinion if I had any doubts. So I asked for a copy of x-rays and treatment plan and was given a small X-Ray printout with small circles hand written and a piece of paper that said "Treatment plan: advanced cleaning, $135, 13 fillings $585".

I took these to my old dentist, who understood the insurance situation and was happy to do a brief consult at no charge. She said tooth 29 definitely needed a new filling and a large filling on tooth 2 was cracked and needed replaced. She also told me the cracked filling was so large that by the time it was removed there would be so little tooth left I couldn't get another filling and I needed to have that tooth capped. She said there was absolutely no reason to fill the other teeth, that some dentists are more conservative and others more aggressive, but in my case doing so much unneeded work was unscrupulously trying to make money, and how sad she was that some dentists bring down the practice like that. I asked her how much she'd charge to do just the two teeth if I paid her cash, and got a quote for enough to buy a nice used car.

My wife is handicapped, and will probably be fired when her FNMLA runs out and I will lose her insurance as well as her income, so I wanted to get the cap done as soon and cheap as I could. I went back to corporate dentist, and said I got my 2nd opinion and wanted to just take care of 2 teeth before doing anything else. They told me on the phone they'd be happy to do as much or as little as I wanted, and I should schedule an appointment first to do a cleaning and I'd be able to talk to the dentist to change my treatment plan. However when I got to my appointment, they said I had to have expensive antibiotics with my cleaning. I told them I didn't want this and they said over the phone that they would do as much or as little as I wanted and they told me that they'd refuse to keep the appointment unless I consented to the antibiotic. If I didn't take it today, they wouldn't let me talk to a dentist or schedule anything other than an advanced cleaning with antiobiotics. I went ahead and did it.

After my cleaning, the dentist I talked to the first time was busy, so they sent me another one. He said a cap on any large tooth with a large filling was good, but he'd recommend capping tooth 3 (Not even one with a circle) instead. When I explained tooth 3 was fine according to both dentists, he showed me my x-rays, and asked me which filling was bigger (the cracked old filing on #2 or the relatively new filing on #3). He also started getting mad at me about not wanting to fill the other teeth. He got really mad but said if I wanted a filing on #29 and cap on #2, he'd be happy to do it. So I scheduled 2 appointments, the first to do the filling and prep for the cap and the 2nd to do the permanent cap.

When I showed up for my cap prep, I got the first dentist. He said the dentist I talked to must be blind and I obviously needed the other filling. I told him he was the one to get a 2nd opinion, and he told me I should get a 3rd opinion and he was disappointed in me for not trusting him. He kept showing me the x-rays, and I kept trying to explain to him that not having gone through dental school myself, I did not feel I could decide if a filling was needed. The cap prep was miserable, I bled a lot and the temporary cap wouldn't attach, and the appointment took forever. I was relieved when he told me he wouldn't have time to do the filling that day and I would get it with my permanent crown.

The permanent crown appointment was yesterday, and it went very well. It only took about 20 minutes to put the cap in, but then he started arguing about the other fillings, getting mad at me and pretty much told me to leave. When I asked about the filling on 29, he told he didn't have time to do it and I would need another appointment. Then he took out my x-ray and showed me tooth 28 and 29 and asked me how anyone would want to fill one and not the other. I did get a copy of a real treatment plan (lots of MOs, MODs, etc) which I asked for and another printout of my x-rays which I told them I didn't want (but wanted a digital copy and they wouldn't give it to me). I also successfully got them to refund the cost of filling 29, since they didn't do it, and didn't offer to schedule another appointment (I didn't push the issue).

I hate the pushy used-car salesman approach of the corporate dentist, but the cap is excellent work, feels and looks just like my natural tooth and much better than it was with the old huge metal filling and tons of wear. It also cost me less than a regular filling at my old dentist would. So should I go to yet another dentist for a 3rd opinion? Should I let the corporate dentist fill whatever he wants? Should I try to just get him to do #29? Should I just go on living with 1 or more cavities? I can upload a scan of my x-rays or treatment plan if anyone thinks that helps.
 

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