It’s time to get serious again. In this post I will get to the bottom problem of the dental industry. The lack of morals and the urge to maximise profit at the cost of the individuals is like a plaque that sticks around before the cure is found. For about half of the dentists I have met fall into that category and that’s a lot considering that we – the health care workers – should be the ones having the highest integrity of all.
What I will do next is give examples of the lack of morals amongst dental professionals. It will be just a (thin) slice of a (big) cake but you will get the idea no doubt. For clarification, all the examples are from real life and witnessed by yours truly.
For those who are not familiar with the NHS, it is the UK’s National Health Service. The NHS dentists work under a contract and receive payments for the treatments done.
Before the year 2006 (when the contract was replaced with a new one) the misuse of the system was widespread. The dentists were laughing at the system that was like a gold mine to them. They could easily make an outstanding pay by doing certain treatments that would not raise questions. It did anything but raise questions. The treatments made them look like they were concentrating on preventive care and looking out the patient’s best interest.
The truth is that they did not care about patients. Patient was merely a tool for money making. An example: The dentists made fissure sealants for every patient who did not have them and they made them from first premolar to the last molar. There was no evaluation if the fissure sealant was needed and it was an easy treatment to justify to the patient as it was preventive treatment.
“It prevents you getting a decay…”
Who would say no to that?
Fissure sealant was very quick treatment to do as it could be done in batches (all the premolars and molars from the left side in one go and next the right side) guaranteeing a very productive day moneywise for the dentist. There are probably millions of people in the UK whose teeth are coated with fissure sealants.
Eventough the NHS contract was renewed in 2006, the dentists found new ways of misusing the system.
Root Canal Treatment on Wisdom Tooth… What The?
The most immoral dentists have found a way to make the most out of every tooth – moneywise. Normally the decision to remove a fully erupted wisdom tooth is made lightly if there are any problems like decaying, periodontal problem, malocclusion with the tooth. But more than once I have seen wisdom teeth that have been heavily filled, root canal treated and even have had crowns on them (on top of the root canal treatment).
There is no other explanation to this than a dentist who is practicing dentistry only to gain wealth.
Performing Treatments Without Having the Skills
Some dentists suggest treatments they have no skills to perform and charge the patient as if they were specialists. An example: A dentist recommends periodontal treatment to the patient. The course of treatment consists four 30 minute visits to remove calculus one quadrant per visit and the cost is the same as if a periodontist would perform the treatment. Once the course of treatment is done by this wannabe specialist, the patient goes to see a hygienist for oral hygiene instructions. The hygienist soon realises that there is still lots of subgingival calculus left and therefore the gum disease is still active.
The hygienist does her best to remove the calculus (which she has skills for) and the patient is left under an illusion that nothing is wrong.
It is called collegiality what just happened. Dental professionals covering for each other’s mistakes and malpractice.
Root Canal File in the Root Canal
In our business the equipment can malfunction and instruments can break in use. In these cases it is good practice to tell the patient what happened. For example a curette’s tip can break inside the pocket of the tooth. It can be found from there but the patient needs to know what happened. Some dentist cover these kinds of incidents or mistakes they have made by simply not informing the patient. Now THAT if anything is malpractice.
An example. A root canal file broke inside the patient’s tooth whilst the dentist was performing a root canal treatment. The nurse did not notice the incident until a control x-ray was taken and the file was clearly visible. The dentist did not inform the patient about the broken file or attempt to remove the file.
Treating Patients With Cold Sore
This matter is so serious that I am going to write separate post about it. When a patient comes in with a cold sore, the guidelines are quite clear about what us dental professionals should do. We should not treat the patient unless it is urgent treatment that cannot be postponed. Why? Because there is serious risk with the virus causing the cold sore – the herpes simplex virus.
Herpes virus can easily spread in the aerosols our high speed instruments produce. Dentist, nurse, hygienist and the patient are in risk of contracting it through their eyes. This can result in blindness.
This is just one worry over the herpes virus. Follow my blog to find out more in detail why we shouldn’t treat the patients with cold sore.
Even though we have guidelines, even though the dentists have the highest education (so they should know better), too often they decide to treat the patients who have cold sore. And the reason for this is greed. The ugly side of our profession.
The dental industry draws in immoral individuals because it has been allowed to happen. It wasn’t until the 21st century when the dental schools started to interview the applicants for the undergraduate programmes of dentistry. Before this the suitability of the applicant’s personality was not measured by any tests. This means there are dentists in the field that should not be dentists.
In my opinion all the dentists who have not gone through the MMI should be asked to have one. If they fail, they should be struck off their profession.
But no test is a fool proof way of finding the bad seeds. The most rotten souls can often talk their way through any obstacles. And the reason why these individuals are drawn to the dentist’s profession is the well known fact that they make rather nice pay (here’s one article about it).
Greed. One of the Seven Deadly Sins.
5 thoughts on “Morals in Dentistry”
[…] Morals in Dentistry 23.3.2016 […]
“This means there are dentists in the field that should not be dentists.” << THIS
I have not only seen cases making profit from government health services. I have seen cases of bad dentists scamming insurance companies too. With "professional" activities as simple as having the patient undergo an X-ray just because of a simple caries, or others… They are a shame for true professionals.
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Thank you for you comment! The more people tell about their experiences in this matter the more there are chances that something will be done to it. Please share this post so that it reaches as many professionals as possible.
Very thought provoking. Points out a real problem in our industry.
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Thanks for touching on the topic of integrity in the dental industry. Interesting post.
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