Written by attorney Sebastian Gibson

Dental Scams and Dentist Fraud, Rip Offs and Dental Malpractice in California

According to the Coalition Against Insurance Fraud, most dentists are honest and ethical dental practitioners who provide their patients with professional and caring treatment. We agree wholeheartedly. Most dentists would never consider being part of a scam, rip off or any type of fraud.. However, the Coalition Against Insurance Fraud, which has many insurance companies among its charter members states that "a small but disturbing number of dentists, however, are dishonest." While it can be difficult to determine who is at fault in a specific dental office, the complaints made by certain dental patients in California paint a disturbing picture in some situations of fraudulent, negligent and unethical treatment. Scams by disreputable dentists include providing worthless or unnecessary treatment, over-charging for routine services such as teeth cleaning, inflating estimates for dental work in order to push dental plans that may or may not even be valid insurance plans, operating dental clinics without the proper precautions for safety and hygiene, and operating without sufficient or properly trained and suddenly rude inconsiderate staff as soon as their billing practices are questioned or advertised services are asked to be performed. And then there are the dentists who simply provide negligent dental treatment. We know that anyone can make a mistake. Our concern is with those dentists either participating in scams and defrauding their patients or those who on a regular basis commit malpractice. If you've been the victim of a scam, rip off, fraud or a bait and switch by a California dentist or dental group, received negligent dental services, been the victim of dental malpractice, overcharging, false advertising, or have been threatened or harassed or defrauded in any way by a dentist, dental treatment coordinator, hygienist, or the dental equivalent of a high pressure used car or financing department salesman, call a dental fraud or dental malpractice lawyer. Unfortunately, a few bad groups of dentists participating in scams instead of good dentistry, who put the pain in peoples' wallets instead of putting smiles on the faces of their patients, lead to complaints and word of mouth to avoid these dentists at all cost. At a time when economic conditions are nearly as bad as they were in 1929 or '39, dentists offering low cost teeth cleaning, X-rays and other routine services should be the norm. Instead, some dentists have chosen to inflate their prices, and prey on the unwary by using tactics such as the old bait and switch. Patients come into their offices for advertised services for an advertised dollar amount and are instead talked into much higher $ services when they are told they have a need for braces, extractions, deep cleaning, gum treatment, mouthwashes, expensive night guards, fillings, root canals, crowns, dental posts and retainers. These rip off artists go on to provide worthless treatment to those who can least afford it. Their offices inflate their bills, and sometimes may even provide (or in the case of phantom treatment, fail to provide) treatment by unlicensed or improperly trained or licensed staff, who like Jekyll and Hyde suddenly turn into con artists and high pressure salesmen if not rude and pushy bullies when their estimates or bills are questioned and who go on to either refuse to provide the advertised services or who tell patients in pain and in tears to leave and never come back. Patients expecting the usual good service offered by honest dentists instead find themselves the victims of fraud. They are sold fake dental plans, or told they need painful, dangerous and sometimes disfiguring surgery not covered by insurance plans. They are told by office staff members that they have gum disease if not poor gum health, that they need expensive mouth rinses and antibiotics, that they need cavities filled, fillings replaced by expensive dental posts, teeth extractions, deep cleaning and possibly gum treatment as well, and in order just to get the simple low cost service they came in for, they will need to wait hours if not return another day, at a cost of more time and money because the dental hygienist who should have been there for the appointment it took three weeks to schedule is not there after all. Most dentists are honest and caring individuals who genuinely have the best interests of their patients at heart. They become friends with their patients and often treat them and their family members for life. It is therefore disappointing that those few dental groups who would put profits ahead of ethics would risk tarnishing the reputations of these honest dentists. Nothing in this article is meant to refer to any one particular dentist or dental group and any interpretation of this article as referring to any one dentist or dental corporation is an incorrect interpretation.

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