If you just moved to the area, welcome! You might feel overwhelmed with all the tasks ahead of you. You’re probably dealing with unpacking, getting settled in, possibly getting used to a new job, and acclimating your children to their new surroundings. Then there’s the daunting task of finding a new… everything. A new doctor, a new dentist, a new dry cleaner, and the list goes on and on.

We recommend putting some ample research into finding a trusted dentist with good reviews and a great staff and then making an appointment to establish care as soon as possible; waitlists for new patients might be pretty long.

Everyone needs a dentist, and everyone deserves a good one. Your dentist should be your trusted partner in health, work with you to prevent cavities, and always have your best interest at heart. Unfortunately, dishonest, crooked dentists out there will lie and cheat to make an extra buck. If you’re looking for a new family dentist in Utah, here is some insight into dental scams and what to look out for.

How to Spot a Crooked Dentist

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How Common are Crooked Dentists?

Most dentists are honest and legit, but some choose the shady path for financial gain, like any industry. According to The National Health Care Anti-Fraud Association, about 3% of the total spending on healthcare is lost to fraud in the U.S. While 3% may sound small, it’s essential to consider that dental expenditure was $162 billion in 2021, putting a 3% loss in the billions.

Why Dentistry is Especially Vulnerable to Scams

The American Dental Association recommends visiting the dentist at least twice a year for routine cleanings. Still, when other dental issues arise, the recommendation of one dentist may be different than another.

This is normal and expected in any healthcare field. However, the usual signs of insurance fraud are hard to catch because of so many gray areas, such as performing more procedures than surrounding dentists or prescribing more pain medications. There are more variations within treatment standards in dentistry than in other medical fields, making it harder to pin down unnecessary actions.

Here are seven warning signs of a shady dentist:

1. They Request an Urgent Procedure Without Explanation

You have a right to know every detail about your case, and an honest dentist will be more than happy to explain every step of the process to you before, during, and after it happens. A dentist’s job is to gather information through exams and present you with all the information, give you a recommendation, and then let you make an educated decision. An honest dentist won’t push you into something you don’t want to do. If your dentist is vague and brushes off your questions, that’s a definite red flag.

2. They Offer Too-Good-to-be-True Deals

If it seems too good to be true, it probably is. Fraudulent dentists often gain patients by offering incredible deals on cleanings or checkups to get them in the door and then surprise them with thousands of dollars of dental work they don’t need. Some sketchy dentists will even fill cavities that aren’t even there. Don’t fall for deals that seem a little too good to be real.

3. They Never Ask For Your Dental History/Records

Dental offices should always ask for new patient records from your previous dental clinic. It’s a routine procedure. If they fail to mention anything about your dental records, they may not be taking your dental care seriously, and if they aren’t following that procedure, what other corners are they cutting?

4. They Tell You You’ll be Needing a Suspicious Amount of Dental Work

If you sit in your dentist’s chair and they start telling you what procedure after procedure you need, which seems way out of the blue compared to anything you’ve ever needed, something may not be right.

Get a second opinion before letting your dentist drill into your mouth repeatedly. For instance, if you’ve gone without a cavity your whole life and now this dentist has “found” 13 cavities, that is a definite red flag. Don’t let them fill those cavities without getting that second opinion.

5. They Have Many Bad Reviews

If they have a bad reputation online, don’t bother with them in the first place. Reviews are your best defense against a crooked, fraudulent dentist who shouldn’t be practicing. An occasional bad review from a disgruntled patient can be expected, but take note of whether or not the office responds to that online review. It’s a good sign if they are trying to work out a positive solution with the patient.

6. They Won’t Show You X-Rays

A good dentist will always show his or her patient an x-ray to explain what is going on. You should no doubt be involved in viewing x-rays and using them to devise a treatment plan together. X-rays should not be a hidden secret by any means.

7. They Have an Unclean Environment

It seems obvious, but dentists must follow the health code and clean and sanitize their areas. If the areas visible to patients aren’t clean, how can you be sure the tools they are using are? If the place feels dirty, run for the hills.

If you’re new here, we are so glad to have you. We know it can be challenging to find a new dentist in Utah that you can trust for yourself and your family. That’s why it’s so important to look out for the most common red flags, recognize them and avoid them like the plague.

Luckily, Utah is saturated with fantastic dentists who genuinely care about your health and want to educate you, help you feel comfortable, and make you feel like family whenever you come in. If that kind of care sounds nice to you, give us a call to make an appointment and establish care today.