Chain Dentistry--A Dangerous Trend
There has been a striking change in how dental services are delivered in this country over just the last ten years. As you have no doubt noticed, there has been a sudden proliferation of dental chains—places where you don’t know who the dentist is providing your care, any more than you know who wrapped your hamburger at the last McDonald’s you stopped at.
The way these chains make their profits is a recipe for dentist medical malpractice, and we’re seeing a lot of it.
Consumers have been fooled into thinking that “all dentists are the same” just like all Big Macs are the same. But nothing could be further from the truth. In our experience going to a chain for dental work is very risky and you are lucky if all that happens to you is that you are sold a bunch of dental services you don’t need . We have seen many people badly hurt when dentists working for commissions do dental work they don’t know how to do, using the cheapest equipment and the worst techniques.
This all happens because of the way these chains are set up. Often they are started by one or more senior dentists who are retiring. Rather than sell their practices, they start a chain, and hire dentists fresh out of dental school who can’t get any other job. Then they tell those new dentists that they won’t make any money (or very little) unless patients come to the chain location they are working at. When the dentist does see a patient, he only gets paid a percentage of what the patient pays. The guy who owns the chain gets the rest. If the new dentist wants to make a decent living, he has to sell you extra dental services so he can make more money in commission.
This kind of dental chain has turned the dentists you see there into little more than used car salesmen.
Are all dental chains set up this way? We don’t know, and we can’t know how every chain everywhere operates. But many are, and people are getting hurt every day. Brand new dentists are forced to sell patients unnecessary dental work, and services that the dentist doesn’t know how to do—all to make more commissions.
When Commissions are More Important than Quality
With only dentists that can’t find a job anywhere else working there, and with those dentists getting paid based on how much work they can get you to pay for, its obvious how bad this is for patients going to these chains. Bad dentists doing expensive work makes a lot of money for the dental chains, but it is a disaster for patients.
We’ve seen horrible infections, catastrophically bad implants and orthodontic work, patients that have lost multiple teeth and even part of their jaws, patients who needed many surgeries costing tens of thousands of dollars to fix the damage to their mouths.
The problem is that the business plan of these chains abuses the dentists employed there and encourages the risks that lead to injuries to patients. This is dental medical malpractice for profit, and until this dangerous business plan is outlawed, more and more people are going to be hurt.