June 26, 2012
Surviving on a meager $1,300 a month, 87-year-old Theresa Ferritto fretted about the cost when her dentist told her she needed two teeth pulled.
She figured an oral surgeon would be too expensive. So she decided to try out a dental chain that promoted steep discounts in its advertisements. She went to an Aspen Dental office just outside Cleveland.
Ferritto said Aspen Dental wouldn’t just pull the teeth but insisted on a complete exam. She was bewildered when they finally handed her a treatment plan four pages long. Total price: $7,835.
Ferritto could not afford it, but Aspen Dental signed her up for a special credit card, with monthly payments of $186 for five years. She blames herself for signing the papers.
“I made a big mistake going there,” she says. “I should have known better.”
After a day of cleanings and two fillings, Ferritto asked her son for help. He called Aspen Dental to complain but said he got nowhere. So they turned to the state attorney general.
Aspen Dental took all charges off her credit card for treatments she hadn’t yet received. But the company said the $2,540 she was charged for two fillings and cleanings was appropriate.
Aspen Dental charged Ferritto $350 for an antibiotic put next to teeth the dentist was going to pull, a charge other dentists say makes no sense. There were four separate charges for an antibacterial rinse, similar to Listerine, for $129. There was even a $149 charge for an electric toothbrush that Ferritto didn’t even know she had, until she recently retrieved an Aspen Dental bag from her garage and found it inside.
Imagine how many groceries that would buy, she sighed.
When asked if Ferritto was taken advantage of, Aspen Dental chief executive Robert Fontana said, “I hope that the team was clear about what she needed and that that she completely understood what she was getting into. And hopefully, you know, she made the choices that she thought was right for her.”
Aspen Dental is a chain of nearly 350 offices in 22 states managed by a company owned by a private-equity firm. It is part of a fast-growing industry of corporate dental practices, many of which specialize in serving people who cannot afford to go to the dentist, a group many dentists ignore.
By marketing to people who haven’t seen a dentist in years, Aspen Dental often gives new patients treatment plans costing thousands of dollars. The Center for Public Integrity (CPI) and FRONTLINE spent months examining Aspen Dental and found that the same business model that makes Aspen Dental accessible to people short on cash can also lock people into debt and has led to complaints of patients being overcharged or given unnecessary treatments.
Former employees say Aspen Dental trained them in high-pressure sales. Corporate management scrutinizes the production of dentists and staff daily. And internal documents show that dentists get paid bonuses as key production targets are met.
“You’ve got people who are not dentists, that are in management… they are breathing down the doctor’s back,” said Jenny Hayes, who worked as an office manager for Aspen Dental in the Chicago-area last year. “There are goals and if you are not hitting your goals, then you lose your job.”
Aspen Dental denies that its dentists have stronger financial incentives than other dentists or that its bonuses affect treatments. Fontana, founder and chief executive officer of Aspen Dental, based in East Syracuse, NY, said dentists won’t do unnecessary treatments because “it’s just not in their DNA.”
“I’m not even sure what corporate dentistry means, because we have no influence on the dentistry,” Fontana said.
He said Aspen Dental frees dentists to focus solely on patients, because the company handles back-office duties such as marketing, accounting and billing. In fact, dentists own and control all of the practices, says Fontana. All but four states forbid anyone who’s not a dentist from owning a practice on the assumption that dentists are trained and motivated to put patients ahead of profits.
But Sen. Charles Grassley, a Republican from Iowa, questions whether dentists at corporate dental chains are free from corporate pressures to maximize profits. Grassley, the ranking member of the Senate Finance Committee, wouldn’t speak about Aspen Dental specifically, but he’s had committee investigators looking into the company and other private-equity-owned chains for months.
“Because when private equity firms get involved,” Grassley explained, “you got to understand that their motivation is to make money. And they are not dentists. And dentists ought to make the determination … of what is good for the teeth… Not some private equity manager in Wall Street.”
Aspen Dental says it serves people who otherwise wouldn’t go to a dentist. Forty percent of Americans have a family member who put off going to the dentist because they couldn’t pay for it, according to a survey by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. Fontana says Aspen Dental looks for ways to make it easier for those people to walk into their offices.
Their offices are easy to spot at shopping centers, often near fast-food restaurants. Posters advertise a free exam and X-rays. Many of their new patients walk in the door without an appointment. Aspen Dental accepts most insurance and if the patient is still short on cash, they will sign you up on your first day for “no-interest” credit cards through GE Capital or Chase.
Aspen Dental specializes in dentures, which they make in each office. The consultation room has a tray of dentures to choose from, ranging from the basic no-frills model to the “precision hand-crafted” ComfiLytes, coming in 27 shades. Internet ads offer dentures on sale for $249. Its commercial tells stories of a man in pain from poor-fitting dentures and a woman too embarrassed to smile.
Aspen Dental insists that all new patients get a comprehensive examination. So even if someone just wants a routine cleaning or needs a broken tooth fix, Aspen Dental presents a treatment plan for any problems that may crop up years later. Fontana says this approach is what’s best for patients, because neglected teeth and gums can lead to serious problems. Several former employees, however, describe the initial exam as a sales tactic to maximize revenue on each new patient.
“People would come into the office maybe with a toothache and come out with a treatment plan that maybe the dentist said we need to extract all your teeth,” said Jenny Hayes, the former office manager in Illinois. “They were made to stop in the manager’s office and sit down for an intense consultative selling process that they really didn’t bargain for when they walked in the door. I had people literally breaking down and crying in my office. And it happened quite regularly.”
The average treatment plan presented to new patients runs $4,450 at Aspen Dental’s top producing offices, according to an internal company document obtained by CPI and FRONTLINE. The company says the extensive treatment is a reflection of the patients they draw.
“A typical patient is probably 45 to 65 and struggling just to make ends meet,” said Fontana, Aspen’s CEO. “They’re taking this week’s paycheck to pay last month’s mortgage, making their car payment, trying to put their kids through school and unfortunately, dentistry can become discretionary.”
Donna Kelce of Des Moines, Iowa, fits the profile. At age 55, she hadn’t been to a dentist in 15 years. She didn’t have dental insurance and didn’t think she could afford it. Besides, her teeth never bothered her until a gap starting forming between two front teeth. Embarrassed, she finally went to an Aspen Dental office after seeing one of its commercials.
Kelce was X-rayed and sent to a consultation room, where a dental assistant handed her a treatment plan. Kelce’s gaze stopped on a particular word.
“I could feel the kind of blood run from my face, thinking, “Oh my God. Dentures,” Kelce said.
Kelce recalls the dentist saying she had no real option but to get dentures because she had lost too much bone for implants. She wasn’t sure how she could afford Aspen Dental’s $3,700 bill. But then the office manager signed her up for a “no-interest” credit card through Chase. Relieved, Kelce thought she was getting a bargain.
She came back in late November 2009 to have 13 teeth pulled. But she said the dentist pulled and pulled and couldn’t get all the teeth out, breaking one at the root. Kelce wondered if so much bone was gone, why the teeth weren’t coming out easily. After three hours, the dentist still had six teeth to pull but said she could do no more because she had already given Kelce the maximum dose of Novocain.
Aspen Dental sent Kelce to one of its former dentists who could see her that evening. Dr. Jessica Lawson looked at Kelce’s teeth and concluded that they didn’t all need to be pulled. But she finished the work so Kelce could wear her dentures. She suggested that Kelce report the incident to the Iowa Dental Board. Lawson herself wrote a letter to the board.
“Having worked at Aspen Dental myself for a short period of time, I am well aware of the type of care that can potentiate, especially if the doctor isn’t firm with the office manager and regional managers in providing the standard of care that he/she is use to, instead of producing the numbers that Aspen requests and expects,” Lawson wrote.
The dentist at Aspen Dental, did not return phone calls for comment. But she gave a different account of Kelce’s treatment in her notes. She said she suggested alternatives but that Kelce “insisted on dentures and full upper extractions even though (six upper teeth) can be saved.” She added that four of those teeth might not last forever.
Kelce, who is now suing for malpractice, said the dentist never told her any of her teeth could be saved.
“Who in their right mind would let them pull my teeth if they didn’t need to?” she asked.
Dr. Gerald Marlin, a Washington DC prosthodontist who specializes in replacing teeth, looked at Kelce’s X-rays at the request of CPI and FRONTLINE. He drew a red line along the bone and said Kelce had plenty of bone to save seven of her upper teeth.
Marlin came up with seven treatment options for Kelce, in most cases replacing her teeth with a bridge or partial denture. He said dentures should only be a last resort. They don’t adhere well and affect a person’s ability to speak and eat. Partial dentures are not only cheaper but they fit securely, anchored by the remaining teeth.
The dental board dropped the case and won’t discuss it, citing confidentiality laws. Coincidentally, that same month the dental board issued a press release, saying, “The Board has seen an increase in complaints in connection with corporate dental practices. The types of complaints include both continuity of care issues and issues related to the business aspects of the practice.”
Corporate dental chains are barely regulated in most states, especially if they don’t accept Medicaid patients. State dental boards typically don’t have any power over corporations.
Lili Reitz, executive director of the Ohio State Dental Board, said last year a quarter of her complaints – or 140 – were against dentists at corporate chains. Yet she has little authority to take action against the companies. Instead, her power comes from having control over the license of individual dentists.
It’s common for Reitz to get complaints that private dentists are trying to do unnecessary care, such as putting fillings on cavities that other dentists don’t see. Still, Reitz says the pressures on dentists at corporate dental practices seem more intense.
“I think quotas and how many patients need to be seen a day definitely have an adverse effect on the quality of care,” Reitz said. “What’s frustrating for us is to go dentist by dentist by dentist. By the time we get there, they’re not there anymore” because corporate chains have high turnover rates.
Reitz says dentists tend to stop doing needless treatments after leaving a corporate dental chain, so she considers the problem solved and takes no formal action.
State attorneys general can take action under consumer laws if a dental chain deceives patients. The Pennsylvania Attorney General sued Aspen Dental in 2010, alleging that Aspen Dental advertises “free” exams but still charges patients with insurance. The state also alleged that Aspen Dental failed to reveal that the “no-interest” credit cards it pushes have steep penalties – 29.9 percent interest on the entire amount of the original loan — if a patient misses payments. Aspen Dental settled, paying $175,000 in restitution without admitting wrongdoing.
Dental malpractice cases are relatively rare, attorneys say, because they are expensive to pursue and usually don’t offer big payouts.
Consumer sites on the Internet are full of complaints about Aspen Dental. Fontana acknowledges that the company counted 1,000 complaints posted from 2006 to 2010. But he said Aspen Dental treats 12,000 patients a day, so the number of complaints is relatively small. Aspen Dental has an employee who now responds to the complaints.
Two former dentists at Aspen Dental said Donna Kelce’s story is not surprising. Neither would allow their names to be used because they’d signed confidentiality agreements and feared being sued. But one admitted that he himself pulled teeth that he didn’t think needed to be pulled. It would happen when another Aspen dentist had written the treatment plan and said the patient had insisted on dentures.
He recently left Aspen Dental, saying, “I couldn’t do it anymore…They spend most of their time trying to talk people out of their teeth.”
Fontana dismissed complaints by former employees, saying all companies have disgruntled workers.
Aspen Dental is a pioneer among corporate dental chains. Fontana considered becoming a dentist when he graduated business school in 1991, but decided instead to apply his business knowledge from working in a group dental practice, imagining ways of tapping into the market of people who never go to a dentist.
In 1998, he founded Aspen Dental Management. After five years, the company had opened 50 offices and drawn the interest of private-equity firms. Capital Resources Partners of Boston invested $18.7 million in Aspen Dental in 2004. The Los Angeles firm Leonard Green & Associates bought the company in 2010 for just under $550 million.
Fontana says private-equity firms want out of a business after about five years, and the key to a big payoff is growth. Aspen Dental opens a new office nearly every week, creating a drag on profits, according to a recent report by Moody’s. Last year, the company made more than $500 million in revenue but had a pretax profit of only $12 million.
The company meticulously tracks revenue targets for each office. Yet Fontana said those targets don’t apply to dentists.
“I think it’s important to keep in mind again, that the dentists don’t have these goals,” he said. “They just don’t have them. They don’t exist.”
But even an Aspen Dental video on the company’s Web site recruits dentists by saying, “Compensation for associate dentists includes an annual salary plus bonus opportunity that increases as key targets are met.”
The video even gives a glimpse of the revenue targets for an office in Springfield, Mass. A multicolored spreadsheet titled “My Practice Metrics” shows that “dentistry” billings for November 2009 were 243 percent above “budget.” The image shows there are also revenue targets for cleanings and dentures.
The scrutiny dentists are under at Aspen Dental is clear in a report that Fontana called the “game tape.” It’s a monthly performance measure sent to office managers. CPI and FRONTLINE obtained one of these confidential reports for an office in Owensboro, Ky. It shows that in February, the office had billed $270,000 so far this year, $35,000 above its target.
The document shows that Aspen Dental also scrutinizes the billings of its dentists. The lead dentist in Owensboro was billing an average of $5,206 a day, earning him praise from the regional director, who wrote “Showing great trends for this month.” But the tape also compared the dentist to top producing dentists, and in that regard, he fell nearly $1,000 short each day.
Heather Haynes, who managed an Aspen Dental office in Joliet, Ill., said that office managers who didn’t hit their targets consistently were likely to be fired. She said that’s in fact what happened to her. Haynes said dentists and hygienists, the office’s revenue makers, faced the same pressures.
Aspen Dental invited CPI and FRONTLINE to a new office in Warsaw, Ind., to show how badly needed its services are. Warsaw, a town of about 13,500, has only six private dentists. Aspen Dental opened an office there after a dentist noticed how many people from Warsaw were driving an hour to Fort Wayne for dental appointments.
Ted Collins, a 47-year-old truck driver, walked into the office that day with an excruciating toothache.“I have to use ice packs at times to keep it frozen so I can get some sleep,” Collins said.
He hadn’t been to a dentist in 10 years and came in because of the free X-rays. Two of his teeth were abscessed, an infection can spread and in rare cases even become fatal. The office gave him a comprehensive exam and found he needed dentures.
Dr. Kurt Losier, the owner of the practice, wiggled several of Collins teeth and showed on the X-ray that his bone had receded dramatically. Losier suggested Collins get the dentures with the longest warranty, which are also the most expensive dentures. Collins couldn’t afford the treatment plan, which came to $7,000. So the office manager tried to sign him up for a credit card. He was rejected.
Patients at Aspen Dental are turned away every day because they cannot afford the treatment, Losier said. To avoid that, the office will trim the treatment plan down. But even that often doesn’t work.
Losier vowed no matter what, he would take care of Collins’ abscessed teeth. Ultimately Collins said a friend gave him the money for the dentures.
Haynes, the former office manager, said she lost sleep at night worried about whether the sales tactics Aspen Dental taught her were ethical. She said she trusted the dentists she worked with. But she was so skeptical of the expensive deep-cleanings sold to so many patients that she herself refused to get one after she was examined in her own office.
Lance Dykes, who managed an office in in Tennessee, said he felt like he was being forced to take advantage of people by selling them treatments he suspected they didn’t really need. He finally quit one day when he says he had to sell a $12,000 treatment plan to an elderly couple who seemed confused.
Dykes said the man looked him in the eye and asked if he had to decide right then. Dykes said no. Go home and think about it. This broke the rules taught in training for closing the deal, which he says, include getting the patient to commit before they walk out.
In December 2008, Sarah Keckler went to an Aspen Dental in Mechanicsburg, Penn., just to get her teeth cleaned. After a long wait, the dentist said the 20-year-old had three cavities and also needed to have her wisdom teeth pulled. She also said Keckler might have oral cancer.
Keckler, who now lives near Washington D.C., recalls the woman talking so loudly that it seemed the whole office could hear. “She was giving this massive disaster scenario. I didn’t believe a thing that she said.”
Keckler went to her dentist regularly, the last time just six months earlier. But a change in her insurance forced her to switch dentists. As she was wondering how she was going to get out of this, the office manager handed her an estimated bill for a little more than $600. Keckler said the manager encouraged her to sign and even to enroll for a special credit card to pay for it all up front.
Angered by what she considered a hard sell, Keckler got up and left and went back to her family dentist. He found no cavities, no need to pull her wisdom teeth and no oral cancer.
Aspen Dental reviewed Keckler’s files and says she was appropriately diagnosed and that other dentists would agree. However, in an interview, Aspen Dental’s Arwinder Judge, the vice president of clinical support, acknowledged that the surface cavities don’t show up in Keckler’s X-rays. The company is relying on the dentist’s notes to support its diagnosis.
Last February, Dr. David Schneider, a dentist in Chevy Chase, Md., examined Keckler and her X-rays at the request of CPI and FRONTLINE. He said there were no cavities, no need to pull her wisdom teeth and no signs of oral cancer.
Over 55% of dental clinics recommend and perform unnecessary dental treatment daily! Unnecessary dental treatment wastes patients' time and money. Furthermore, it reduces dental health as NOTHING is healthier than a natural healthy tooth!What is the most profitable service for dentist? ›
Root Canals. While root canals can be difficult to market, they're the most profitable dentistry procedure.What is the financial performance of Aspen Dental? ›
Aspen Dental has 7,500 employees, and the revenue per employee ratio is $122,666. Aspen Dental peak revenue was $920.0M in 2022.What is the max blood pressure for dental work? ›
Dental Blood Pressure Guidelines. Regardless of the procedure, a dentist will not perform a procedure or dental work on an individual with systolic or diastolic blood pressure higher than 180 or 109. This is because the risks associated with any dental procedure are far higher when individuals have high blood pressure.What are the worst dental procedures? ›
The most painful dental procedure is likely to be a root canal as it requires removing the nerve tissue from the tooth's pulp chamber. To mitigate the pain associated with this procedure, it is best to visit your dentist regularly and use preventive techniques such as brushing and flossing your teeth twice a day.What is the number one reason people avoid dental care? ›
Cost is the number one reason why people avoid seeing the dentist, according to a recent survey from the American Dental Association. But what many people don't realize is that postponing a dental appointment and care can actually cost more money in the long run.What is the typical profit margin for a dentist office? ›
According to Dentistry IQ, Practice Financial Group, and GetWeave, the average profit margin for a general dental practice is between 30% to 40% of revenue. It is interesting to note that 30% is the minimum profit margin, while 40% is the maximum profit margin for one-dentist dental practice.What is the highest dentist salary per month? ›
Highest salary that a General Dentist can earn is ₹6.0 Lakhs per year (₹50.0k per month). How does General Dentist Salary in India change with experience? An Entry Level General Dentist with less than three years of experience earns an average salary of ₹2.6 Lakhs per year.Who is the richest dentist in the world? ›
- Vericare Management.
- Alcala Farma.
- Ardent Health Services.
- Cancer Partners UK.
Hourly pay at Aspen Dental ranges from an average of $13.31 to $29.88 an hour.How much debt does Aspen Pharma have? ›
How Healthy Is Aspen Pharmacare Holdings' Balance Sheet? The latest balance sheet data shows that Aspen Pharmacare Holdings had liabilities of R16. 6b due within a year, and liabilities of R28.Can a dentist refuse a patient with high blood pressure? ›
If you are suffering from hypertension, your physician can determine the best course of action. This may include blood pressure medication or lifestyle changes. Many dentists and oral surgeons will also require medical approval from your cardiologist or physician before they will operate.Can dental anxiety cause high blood pressure? ›
A person with mild dental anxiety may commit to consistent dental visits but exhibit signs of stress during the visit, such as high blood pressure, sweating, irritability, etc . . .Why are dentists now taking blood pressure? ›
It allows them to create a baseline to monitor it for any issues. Hypertension can indicate your anxiety levels are on the rise, so your dentist can adjust their treatment plan to meet your comfort needs. In addition, it provides a clue to your overall health at the time of each visit.What is the most difficult tooth to clean? ›
Why wisdom teeth are hard to clean. These teeth are far in the back of the mouth. The location of these teeth makes them difficult to floss and brush. That is why these molars are vulnerable to impacted food, cavities, periodontal disease, abscesses, and bone loss.Which is the most painful dental treatment? ›
Root canals are a painful surgical procedure involving cleaning the insides of the root canal in your tooth, irritating the surrounding nerves and gums. Root canal treatment is an endodontic procedure to eradicate infections within your tooth.What is the most painful dental problem? ›
#1 Abscess Tooth:
When it comes to potentially serious and even critical oral conditions, the abscessed tooth takes the crown. Every tooth has a root protected by soft-tissue and that tissue can get an infection. For most people and abscess tooth comes with a considerable amount of pain.
Mercury is toxic.
One of the most important topics in “what dentists don't want you to know” is about Mercury. Some dentists still use mercury in their fillings, but composite filling is by far superior. Some countries have gone so far as to ban mercury fillings over safety concerns.
Patients who neglect proper care of their mouths by not regularly seeing a dentist, risk not only getting tooth and gum disease, but they also risk getting diseases and illnesses in other parts of their body. Some major health conditions related to oral health include heart disease, diabetes, stroke and breast cancer.
Dental anxiety is fear, anxiety or stress associated with a dental setting. Being scared to visit the dentist can result in delaying or avoiding dental treatment. Things like needles, drills or the dental setting in general can trigger dental anxiety.What is the average overhead for a dental practice? ›
The median dental practice overhead is 75% of collections. This means that a practice collecting $1 million will provide only $250,000 for owners and associates. Lowering overhead by 10% could result in an extra $100,000 of profit per year available for owners and associates.What is the ideal gross profit margin? ›
What is a good gross profit margin ratio? On the face of it, a gross profit margin ratio of 50 to 70% would be considered healthy, and it would be for many types of businesses, like retailers, restaurants, manufacturers and other producers of goods.What is the lowest paid dentist? ›
Dentists made a median salary of $160,370 in 2021. The best-paid 25% made $208,000 that year, while the lowest-paid 25% made $101,570.Do dentists get a lot of money? ›
The average salary for dentists is $182,110 per year . Dentistry is one of the highest-paying medical professions.Are dentists richer than doctors? ›
Dentists in some places are so well compensated that they earn more than the average doctor. According to a 2012 report in The Journal of the American Medical Association, the average hourly wage of a dentist in America is $69.60 vs. $67.30 for a physician.What is the average retirement age for dentists? ›
5 reasons dentists retire 7 years later than the average American (and how to fix that) The average American retires at age 62, but the average retirement age for dentists is 69. Here are five distinct reasons why dentists have a harder time retiring at an earlier age.What country has best dental care? ›
- How Were the Countries Ranked? How were these countries rated? ...
- Denmark. In the top spot, with an impressive score of 0.4, is Denmark. ...
- Germany. ...
- Finland. ...
- Sweden. ...
- United Kingdom. ...
- Switzerland. ...
Each Aspen Dental practice has its own denture lab. That means fewer office visits, faster turnaround times and affordable denture pricing. Unlike other dental practices, your dentures and denture repairs will be made right in your local office.How many Dental offices does Aspen have? ›
1000+ Offices Across US.
- Center for Strategic and International Studies. 220. $43.6M.
- Brookings Institution. 812. $89.4M.
- American Enterprise Institute. 257. $63.2M. ...
- Center for American Progress. 287. $60.7M. ...
- The Council of State Governments. 237. $29.8M. ...
- Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute. 323. $18M.
Aspen Technology's CEO is Antonio Pietri, appointed in May 2022, he has a tenure of less than a year. His total yearly compensation is US$15.1m, comprised of 3.1% salary and 96.9% bonuses, including company stock and options. He directly owns 0.1% of the company's shares, worth US$13.7m.How much does Aspen pay dentists? ›
How much does Aspen Dental in the United States pay? Average Aspen Dental hourly pay ranges from approximately $12.58 per hour for Front Desk Agent to $37.98 per hour for Dental Hygienist. The average Aspen Dental salary ranges from approximately $18,000 per year for Scheduler to $214,856 per year for Dentist.Where do Aspen employees live? ›
In Colorado's Aspen-Basalt Campground, there's a tiny-home village where 115 people live. Village residents share one thing in common — they're all employees of Aspen Snowmass. The tiny homes were built by the ski company to support workers' need for affordable housing.What is the Aspen pharma controversy? ›
Aspen has been criticized for aggressively increasing the prices of generic drugs it sells, leading to a number of investigations and fines.
- Cardinal Health, McKesson, AmerisourceBergen, Johnson & Johnson (2022) Doctors prescribed opioids for numerous ailments that did not require it, leading to a major addiction crisis. ...
- GlaxoSmithKline (2012) ...
- Pfizer (2009) ...
- Johnson & Johnson (2013) ...
- Abbott (2012)
Boston Partners Global Investors, Inc. Hexavest, Inc. SUN PHARMACEUTICAL INDUSTRIES LTD. OTSUKA HOLDINGS CO., LTD.How to lower your blood pressure before going to the dentist? ›
Practice stress relief
For example, breathe deeply and exhale slowly several times before your blood pressure reading. Reciting a poem or verse in your mind may help you relax also. Visualize a pleasant scene, the woods, beach or a beautiful sunset.
As inflammation lingers, it encourages gum disease. To make matters worse, the combination of inflammation and gum disease can prompt gum tissue to pull away from teeth. As your gum pulls away, it creates a pocket of space. This pocket is called a periodontal pocket, gingival pocket, or dental pocket.Can a bad tooth raise your blood pressure? ›
Can a toothache make your blood pressure go up? In general, any pain can increase your blood pressure because pain increases sympathetic activity. In the case of a toothache, the inflammation and infection from the tooth and the pain can contribute to increased blood pressure.
Dental Blood Pressure Guidelines. Regardless of the procedure, a dentist will not perform a procedure or dental work on an individual with systolic or diastolic blood pressure higher than 180 or 109. This is because the risks associated with any dental procedure are far higher when individuals have high blood pressure.Can dentists tell if you have anxiety? ›
During routine dental examinations and cleanings, dentists can detect oral symptoms of stress, including orofacial pain, bruxism, temporomandibular disorders (TMJ), mouth sores and gum disease. If you're feeling tense or anxious, you should keep a watchful eye for signs of the following stress-related disorders.What is white coat syndrome blood pressure? ›
PHILADELPHIA – White coat hypertension, a condition in which a patient's blood pressure readings are higher when taken at the doctor's office compared to other settings, was originally attributed to the anxiety patients might experience during medical appointments.Can I refuse to have my blood pressure taken? ›
Doctors rarely ask permission for routine matters like checking your blood pressure or listening to your lungs, though, on the grounds that they have your tacit consent. They assume you've granted permission for a blood test when you cooperate by rolling up your sleeve for the needle.What blood pressure should I stop dental treatment? ›
In most cases, we will reject treating patients with a blood pressure of 180/110 mm Hg or higher to eliminate any potential risks.Does teeth cleaning lower blood pressure? ›
For individuals with and without periodontitis (the most severe form of gum disease), those who brushed their teeth frequently had a decreased prevalence of hypertension. Overall, study participants with poor oral hygiene habits were more likely to have higher hypertension frequency.How do I know if my dentist is unnecessary? ›
- Urgency Without Details.
- Heavy Work That Comes Out of the Blue.
- Deals That Are Too Good to Be True.
- Diagnosing a Lot of Procedures Not Covered By Insurance.
- Not Showing You X-Rays.
If a dentist suggests various expensive treatments, there is a chance some, or even all, may be unnecessary. Your dentist may be trying to charge you more money to undergo procedures. If you are being recommended to get dental treatment each time you visit the dentist, consider getting a second opinion.What is the most common failure in dental unit? ›
A water leakage problem is one of the most common malfunctions of the dental unit. At the initial installation stage, the manufacturer equipped each unit with a water heater to heat the internal waterways.How many people don't go to the dentist because of the cost? ›
On top of these challenges, 48% of insured Americans have skipped dental visits or recommended procedures because of cost, according to the latest ValuePenguin survey of more than 2,000 Americans. When looking at Americans without dental insurance, that percentage jumps to 65%.
- Saying “I hate the dentist” ...
- Not disclosing your medical history. ...
- Lying. ...
- Not lying back, opening your mouth wide, or turning your head. ...
- Refusing to swallow your own saliva. ...
- Waiting to go to the bathroom until we call you back.
If you have been diagnosed with periodontal disease, and suffer from bone loss, inflammation, and/or tartar has accumulated beneath the gumline, then the hygienist will need to clean 'deeper' below the gumline, and this is often known as a dental deep cleaning.What is considered unethical in dentistry? ›
Unnecessary Services. A dentist who recommends or performs unnecessary dental services or procedures is engaged in unethical conduct. The dentist's ethical obligation in this matter applies regardless of the type of practice arrangement or contractual obligations in which he or she provides patient care.Do dentists try to upsell? ›
Upselling is a great strategy for boosting your bottom line, but it is one that most dentists probably avoid. After all, dentistry is a medical field. Selling patients treatments that they do not need may seem unethical, but there are exceptions.What are common mistakes by dentists? ›
Common mistakes include misdiagnosis of tooth decay, failure to take x-rays before treatment begins, performing unnecessary procedures, and incorrect filling placement or extraction techniques. By understanding these issues you can be proactive about your oral health care routine.Can dentists tell if your stressed? ›
Your dentist can tell. During routine dental examinations and cleanings, dentists can detect oral symptoms of stress, including orofacial pain, bruxism, temporomandibular disorders (TMJ), mouth sores and gum disease.What is the most common chief complaint in dentistry? ›
In dental practice, pain is the main frequent complaint for which patients seek treatment . The American Dental Association (ADA) recognizes the patient's chief complaint as an essential component for the delivery of competent and quality oral health care.What are three diseases of most concern to dental healthcare workers? ›
Most cases are dental caries (tooth decay), periodontal diseases, tooth loss and oral cancers. Other oral conditions of public health importance are orofacial clefts, noma (severe gangrenous disease starting in the mouth mostly affecting children) and oro-dental trauma.What are some of the most common OSHA violations in dental offices? ›
- Worker exposure to bloodborne pathogens without an exposure control plan or proper training.
- Lack of proper eye protection during use of chemicals to sanitize medical instruments.
- Egress issues.
- Exposure to electrical hazards.
- Inadequate personal protective equipment.
Call 1-888-Ask-HRSA to find out about federally-funded community health centers across the country that provide free or reduced-cost health services, including dental care. Community clinics can be a great way to get dental care affordably.
COST. Across most age groups, the cost is the biggest reason why people choose not to see their dentist. Though budgeting to have your teeth cleaned may sound less exciting than saving for your next vacation, investing in your oral health pays off in more ways than one.What to do if you have cavities but can't afford dentist? ›
Public Dental Clinics
Many charge low, fixed prices or sliding fees based on how much you can afford. Most clinics offer exams, cleanings, X-rays, root canals, fillings, crowns, and surgical tooth extractions. Some may have emergency dentists on call. Some clinics charge sliding fees based on how much you can afford.