10 Dental Scams Dentists Don’t Want You to Know About

Almost all dentists are professionals in work-related techniques, but that doesn’t mean they are automatically honest, according to Coalition Against Insurance Fraud.

The abuse of power and authority leads to fraudulent actions, giving these specialists the perfect context to take advantage of their patients’ trust in order to obtain money.

We can help you protect your wallet and your bank account from these 10 dental scams!

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53 thoughts on “10 Dental Scams Dentists Don’t Want You to Know About”

    1. I had bad vibes as soon as I walk’d into idental’s office. I need’d to wait to be seen, look’d around & listen’d to other patients. I was suspicious because most of the patients in the waiting room were young & had been scheduled for prior appts. This Dentist ask’d a young male patient to “like” him on Facebook. Seem’d unethical to me… I believe this could be fraudulent, charging patients for unneeded procedures! My encounter occur’d with a Dentist at idental, address: 1320 Green Bay Rd in Racine, WI. This occur’d about 4 years ago. I still have the info & my next appt. card. I was told by Dr. Ken Antonoff that I need’d a deep cleaning: FMD, a full mouth debridement, & I had a cavity. I did not believe him, so I check’d with my regular Dentist, who did not accept Medicare patients. I had turned 66 in April. I was told the FMD is for people who have not been to a dentist in years. I have been seen every 6 mos. I ask’d about the cavity, that too, was NOT in evidence. Needless to say, I return’d to my dentist who I had seen since 1989.

    2. 3

      Actually, “silver” fillings are HALF mercury. They always leek. If you think that mercury isn’t bad for you… think again!

    3. My dental experts would not dream of such! I have been most fortunate, and have been elp!’tended by folks who maximized kind and efficient treatment. And i remain grateful for their help.

  1. 19

    Don’t worry, when at 2 am you have excruciating pain because you ignored the diagnosis, call or email the author of this article and see what he can do for you.

    1. 12

      Sure, call your dentist at 2 a.m. and he/she will be there waiting for you. You’re lucky if you get his/her answering service

    2. I had the same thing happen. It wAs strange I had 2 cavities abs it was those 2 teeth which needed the deep cleaning. All of the others were fine. Needless to say will not return there.

  2. Try buying supplemental Dental Insurance? Blue Cross said well if Met-life is paying were not? I paid $49 a month for supplemental Ins and it is worthless!

    1. 5

      I have had this problem with Humana and BC/BS. The office manager at my Dentist’s practice explained the situation and worked the solution: I supply a copy of the explanation of benefits as received from BC/BS; this form clearly shows that BC/BS, my primary insurance, did not pay anything for my dental procedures. After this proof, Humana will pay.

      This has happened at least twice, and though you may think in a technologically advanced society where computer systems likely have the capability of “flagging” a case so the problem does not constantly re-occur, that would be a false assumption. Apparently, I will need to go through this silliness every time my treatment is more complicated than routine cleanings.

      1. 14

        This article is very missleading. There are many, many patiencs who need periodontal (deep cleaning) treatment. This whole article missleads potential patients and causes them to mistrust perfectly qualified and ethical dentists.

        1. 19

          No this article is exactly true to the core ….
          I have been a victim of this and still is suffering the consequences of my stupidity by trusting these greedy dentists !!!

          1. 10

            Every profession has good and bad people in it. So sorry you had the opportunity to meet one of the “bad apples” in the dental field. They are not all like the ones you met. There are honest dentists out there- sometimes it takes a few bad ones before you meet the good one. Don’t lose all faith yet.

          2. 5

            So have I, even suggesting a fluoride treatment not covered by insurance right after I was told that most all of my teeth didn’t have any enamel left on them. Ok, but fluoride treatments can’t do anything for teeth without enamel, and it is a treatment that’s almost always just used for children ! That’s why most insurance does not cover it with adults.

          3. 8

            I have delt with many cases of dentists not honoring insurance contracts, upselling, manipulating, forcing their agendas, misbilling,etc. Many lack integrity and force you out if you ask questions.


  3. 5

    Thank you for this article. It has been very enlightening and has corroborated a number of issues I have been having with a number of dentists. One being referring me to a dentist that would charge me for services that the issuance would cover. Performing one service over another because it costs more. Liking taking stays and not completing a cleaning. Failing to diagnose a tooth infection but providing retainers. It has been an exhausting trying to get great dental service. Still haven’t found it yet.

    1. Heidi LaMonica

      I had been told the reason my dental work failed repeatedly was was it was called a dental practice. Also the last two dentists told me I don’t need a gag reflex. Turns out I do. When the stand up comedians stopped getting paid for the repeated failed works, they told me the only thing to be done was to extract all of my teeth except six that would become my lifelong anchor to dental devices and my anchor to “traditional” dentists, all while still requiring dental care and….ughhhhh they have survival guilt. I’ve regretted trusting that dentist every single day of my life no less than twice a day. I would update a crappy Yelp review for him every time I have what we now call “dental failures” in my world…WHO EVEN NEEDS a term like this in their life? I’ll spare you the bulk of the remaining details and just share one important one – with most masks and glasses on, no one can see you cry. PS. To those who ask, I reported the dentist to the insurance company who thanked me and did that’s all that will be shared with me to protect the dentist privacy. Kinda like he was supposed to protect my oral health?

  4. 13

    I was fortunate to recognize a scam when I saw it. Aspen dental set me up with what they call a consultant that advised me that I needed a series of deep cleanings that involved me purchasing a $300.00 power toothbrush. When I informed them that I would think about it, I was shown the door. I ran for the door and found an excellent dental facility. That deep cleaning that Aspen wanted for $3000.00 was never required.

    1. 2

      Went to dentist without checking teeth cleaning and trusting. What a mistake. Teeth were clean as regular 6 months allowed by insurance and have 5 minutes visit by dentist. To my surprice I got bill at home for $325 for this service. They lost 2 customers.

  5. 8

    I am disappointed with the dentists here in Cape Coral. How about they offer X-rays exam and cleaning for $50.TheDr appears and says you will need this,this and this. This reminds me of bait and switch.

  6. 6

    I was told that I needed a crown replaced because of leaking near the gum. I didn’t have it done. The next year, the DDS said all was fine! Saved me $900!

  7. 9

    My Dentist wants me to pay a$25 PPE fee because he says he’s paying $250 for a box of gloves. Give me $20 & I’ll get a box & keep the change for my trouble. 16 bil was part of the CARES act I believe which made $$$ available to medical professionals & businesses to apply for. Who’s giving me extra China virus $$$ so I can meet the somewhat illegal fees some shady businesses want to impose the consumer. Like my trash company. Paid my yearly fee only to have them call me the next day to tell me I owe them another $50 because they are losing business due to the China Virus. Times that by the residents on the trash route & I think they will have a good Christmas. Gotta pay or they don’t take your trash. Talk about a shake down. Are you kidding me?

  8. 4

    If you are unsure of treatment, always ask that the treatment be “pre-authorized” by your insurance. This will tell you exactly what is to be done and how much you will owe. As long as Dentist sticks to the pre-determined treatment. State issued dental insurance is the worst for patients, it pays severely low and dentists that accept it, make up the difference by doing unnecessary/unneeded treatment.

    1. I have been to3 dentists, my insurance covers extractiona and denture. Each dentists adds services for after care amounting to $2,oo plus whichdon’t understand. My insurance will not pay for the dentists add ons. Dentist won’t remove extractions unless you pay this fee. I am suffering with 8 teeth painful need to be removed,This is their way of accepting what insurance will pay plus whatever else they can get from the patient. I have HMO Special Needs and am 87 with low Social Security. What to do????

  9. 3

    I see a number of businesses and professions could be included in this conversation. A case in point will be high end watch service. I went to a prominent watch dealer in New York City some years back with an Omega day date watch for cleaning and service of the swiss movement. It came back after a month or so after my paying about 600 plus dollars for the service, with a one year warranty. Watch worked erratically , and eventually even stopped working after three months of my complaining. They took it back and called me within two weeks to tell my that the watch warranty needed to be voided, because it was wet with water! I yelled and told told the person, that I would hear none of the hogwash and vowed to fight it all the way. It was a classic Omega and being a watch fan, I would never bring water near it. they eventually folded and did a satisfactory job and turned it back to me.

  10. 9

    Went to local dentist. Said I needed crown. Got second opinion. All the tooth needed was a small repair.
    $1500 for a crown versus $100 repair. Scam isn’t the word. Beware everyone. Get second opinions. Terrible that you can’t trust dentists or anyone anymore.

  11. 7

    Went to a dentist and he told me I had a lot of cavities . I had to go back for many weeks while he drilled and filled. He also put a crown on a tooth and told me if I had any problems to come back in. I had some discomfort about a week later. When he came in he didn’t ask why I was there he looked in my mouth and said you have a lot of cavities that need to be filled. I said ok, I will make an appointment to get the work started because I don’t have time today. I never went back. I found another dentist and he looked in my mouth and asked why I had a crown on a wisdom tooth.

  12. 2

    I have been going to this dentist for a few years now but I have my suspicions .My plan calls for free cleaning every 6 months but I am always told that I need a deep cleaning and the free cleaning is for almost a cosmetic cleaning.

    1. My current dentist, who I totally trust, said most people don’t need deep cleanings. I suppose, we should all be researching the why of dental procedures at this point since too many in this field, and others, cannot be trusted.

  13. 1

    I’ve been a dentist now for 40 years. Here is my opinion. Are there some unethical dentists out there? Of course, every profession has some bad apples. I would recommend that you make sure you get an explanation for everything being proposed and make sure you understand the rational for said treatment. If you don’t understand the explanation say so and don’t proceed until you get one.
    Use your common sense too. Do you feel comfortable with the dental office in general?
    Don’t be rushed to make a decision. You can always get a second opinion somewhere else.
    Don’t let your insurance benefits limit your treatment. Just because something isn’t a covered benefit doesn’t mean you don’t need it. If you want top quality care sometimes you have to pay a little more.

    1. I have a better idea, since there are too many unscrupulous professionals in dentistry, start by getting involved to weed them out. Its to your advantage to do so. Don’t tell people they should ask questions about procedures they know very little about or that they should go by how they feel while they’re being scammed. No one that is subjected to a scam knows they have been until after the fact. Many automatically trust professionals. So, do something to help clean up your profession. Hey, its only a suggestion.

  14. Alma A Salinas

    I am in need of dental work, the current doctor nickel and dine me and left the work undone. Change doctors however it’s going to cost 30,000. I was told my insurance would not cover the cost. I’m a senior on a limit income and I recovering from a fraud that took my saving. I can make payments. I need advice and how do I find if a demist is honest,

  15. When I was 18, a new dentist took over my retiring dentist’s practice. I had no cavities at the time. The new dentist found 4 cavities in one visit. I never went back. No one else has found those cavities, for 40 years. Recently, my current dentist retired and sold his practice. The 2 new younger dentists who took it over are nice, however, I always see the male. He was away 2 weeks ago when I had my routine. His partner examined me in 3 seconds (with no xrays) and found that I needed a crown over a cavity and had an additional cavity elsewhere. I invested in seeing another dentist, 2 weeks later. The new one said I needed a double crown (not anywhere near the same tooth) and said he could fill the cavity that the previous dentist stated that I absolutely had to get a crown. He never found the “xtra” cavity. I do not believe any of them any more.

  16. I had to change dentist because I retired and my insurance coverage changed and my current dentist did not accept my new insurance . When I arrived at my new dentist office which seems very large they did the normal x-rays and cleanings but normally after your cleaning the dentist will come in and look at your teeth , there was no dentist in office that day so they sent me up another appointment later on the next month. That day a different hygienist looked at me and then told me they couldn’t do a cleaning because they just did the month before but she poked around in my mouth and told me I needed to have some special treatment that would take two different sessions and cost over $400 and still no dentist was in that day. I called back a few weeks later to cancel that appointment for the special treatment and told them I know I have two cracked cavities and need them taken care of and I want to see the dentist. The receptionist put me on hold and came back later and said that the dentist would not see me until I had that treatment done I still canceled it and told them I am not happy with their service anyways and will be looking for a different dentist. Sounded like a scam to me.

  17. Elinor Ann DeMendonca

    My sister went for a “check up” when she took her patient for a check examination. She was not advised of the price and is a nurse for the patient who is wealthy. The price was over $400.00. My sister is still recovering and trying to get back on her budget.

  18. My dentist sings in the choir at my church. He has been nothing but trustworthy. He is careful to show me with mirrors where there are cavities, etc.

  19. Your revealing and suggesting the percentage of immoral and or greedy dentist is such that I’ve felt justified in going to Canada for full mouth implant procedure (upper and lower) for 7200.00 instead of 36,000.00 dollars quoted me 6 years ago for same procedure…..thats 80% cheaper than American dentist and in my pleasantly surprised….I’ve recommended everyone go to Canada…American business are just too greedy.

  20. I took my daughter to a pediatric dentist and he said that she had cavities in her baby teeth that should be filled. I took her to my regular dentist and said that she didn’t have anything. Never went back to that pediatric dentist again! Especially when baby teeth are going to fall out!

  21. Sadly I wished that I saw an article such as this. I attended a husband and wife dental practice. I was being treated by the husband, then the wife took over. She said I needed root canals, pulled a couple of teeth, and was scheduled for another root canal and crown. I checked with my brother-in-law, (he lived in another state). He found nothing with my teeth. I have another dentist who said I need a root canal repaired and another crown. I did have pain. I started taking Tumeric and Bromelain supplements, the problem went away. OH!, the co-pay was $1200 dollars. It will be cheaper for me to fly to DC and allow my brother-in-law to treat me.

  22. Multitudes of social scams take advantage of the duped. Like this study. Hey, no problem just don’t go to a dentist. Use herbal treatments. Watch out for those plumbers.roofers, salesmen, surgeons, realtors, etc,etc,etc. – some seem to live by fear alone, what a miserable life.

  23. Dentistry is not the worst of the health scams…chiropractic is. By its very nature, the whole concept of chiropractic is concocted and phony, and it might even leave you crippled for life.

  24. I had a example of a scvam went to a new dentist because he was able to take almost immediately went to apointment he sat me down took exrays told me i needed 4 teeth removed 1750 for the work and they could finance it through w.f but if i did all 4 in one sittiing it would only be 1500 i was apropved i n 2 minutes through w.f. sent me home still in pain with a new apointment date with a pres. for tylenol went back on the date when i got in the chair he said he could do two because he had no time to do all 4 so he preceded to go to the side where no pain existed i stopped him and told him the pain was on the other side so he proceded to pull the 2 on one side sent me home bleeding and told to suck on a tea bag the next day the bleeding stopped that same day received bill from w.f for 1750 i paid haLF OF the bill in less than amounted time 750 half the agreed upon price but the dentist put in for the full price called w.f. and told the whole story basically said thats your prob. so now i keep getting a bill from w.f. which i told them i was not going to pay so now my bll is up to about 600 and i just toss the bill in the garbage will never use w.f or E—e dental at suite 1 bethany rd hazlet nj patient be ware hes a ripoff –

  25. Or, they may put in a very white bridge that does not match the color of your other teeth hoping you will just go ahead and have them crown the other teeth to match the whiter ones! It has happened to me.


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