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Better: dental chains or private practitioners?

bcjch

bcjch

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Dallas, TX, USA, metro area
Hi all,

A comment in another thread got me thinking - for those of you who have finally made it to a dentist's office, what kind did you choose - a corporate dental chain or a privately practicing dentist? And would you rate the experience negative or positive?

Those of you across the pond from me might have to qualify this based on the NHS - I don't know for sure how that works, whether it's a government chain or something each practitioner can choose to participate in. What I have in mind is something like Aspen Dental or Monarch Dental (the latter has offices near me) in the USA - or, based on my understanding, Smiles Dental in the UK.

I'm not sure how much of a differentiator this will be among scared patients - both types of practice might have equally negative ratings. But if not, I wonder if it might help narrow the scope of who you'd feel best about working with. So I'm submitting the question in that spirit.

In my case, I've been to both, and the worse experience has been with a dental chain (which is neither American chain named above). It seems like the quality of work there, as well as the bedside manner of the practitioners, is a crapshoot. One crown I had there has lasted for nearly 20 years, but another was mismounted (though I couldn't judge that at the time) and only lasted a couple before it had to be replaced. The cleaning done there was horrible - one hygienist shredded my gums with a water tool before deciding it was too much for me and would have to be finished another day. The one who completed the cleaning was upset that I didn't allow her to use the water tool.

What are your experiences? If you can't compare the two, please say which kind you finally went to and what you thought of it, based on the practitioner's manner and the quality of work.
 
carole

carole

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Hi in general chain dental practices are not recommended here either in the UK. To explain how the nhs works here: we can choose any dentist that accept nhs patients, this includes a wide variety of practices. I attend a dentist practice that is run by the owner, he does private work only and chooses which days he comes in, there are two dentists that work there too that do nhs and some private. The treatments and manner of the dentists is very caring and it is a lovely place to go to. They go the extra mile in providing dental care towards the nhs patients because the owner insists that the best possible treatment be provided and the private side of the business helps support any cost outside of the nhs allowances.

NHS system has three bands of charges and depending on what treatment you receive it will fall into one of the three charges.

To answer your question, I have seen a lot of dentists and have only once seen a dentist in chain which was not good and made my fear worse, I was totally phobic to the point of shaking and having panic attacks even when passing a dentists office on the street.

For those here in the UK that can afford to go private, this is the choice of many. For things like rct's it is usually recommended that we see an endodontist who specialise in this. I have some rct's all done by nhs dentists and they have been very good. One needed a re-treatment as it failed and that is okay now too.

I hope this answers your questions :)
 
T

Thephilsblogbar

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United Kingdom
Even though I been going to the dentist since I was a baby. My parents picked the same practice as them a NHS one the practice has changed in the last few years with a new owner, however the current owner worked at this practice before buying it. I think the practice also does private treatement (so if people prefer white fillings etc it can be done)

I have the owner as my dentist been seeing her for 4 years now, I have seen about 11 dentists at this pratice because some have more to other practices (gone private) retired, and for the odd time when I have had problems with my teeth inbetween appointments :(.

The dentist I see knows I am scared everytime I go to see her and her assistant knows as well (I am like a six year old when I go to the dentist) but I don't scream or cry.
 
FearfulInMA

FearfulInMA

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I'm in the US and would never go to a dental chain. More often than not the dentists are treated very poorly and are often forced to perform unnecessary work to increase profits. Since chain dentists have no stake in the business, they are way less likely to do really good work.

At a private dental office, the dentist doing the work will have a stake in the business. A successful dental pea orcs is one that retains patients. In order to do that, you have to do good work.

For more info on chain dental practices, I believe PBS's Frontline did a story a few years back.
 
C

comfortdentist

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Dental chains are evil. They are managed to maximize teh amount of money they can get out of you. While it is true that some private dentists do the same thing teh private dentists have lower quality attorneys so are easier to sue. There are no good deals in corporate dentistry,
 
bcjch

bcjch

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Dallas, TX, USA, metro area
Seems this was a good question to ask! Thank you all for your input.

What I still don't understand is why dental chains wouldn't be weeded out eventually by losing business, the same way that a private dentist with poor skills would be. Is it just because most people only need a dentist once every few years and, if the dentist they see meets their needs, return to that practice and have no basis for comparing dentists?

I've found that a personal recommendation for a dentist is not always a good indicator of the dentist's skill or chair-side manner. It means the dentist met that person's needs, but yours might be a lot different, especially if you're dealing with a phobia.

I'd be interested in the perspective of a practicing dentist - do most of your new patients come from personal referrals, being chosen from a list of providers (like one for insurance, for example), or good published reviews on the internet?

Here in the USA, reviews are not too hard to find online. IMO, the more high ratings there are, the better - and very specific reviews will help you learn a lot about the dentist. My most recent dentist has a lot of high reviews, and that got me there in the first place. (I've overstayed my welcome there - long story - but am hopeful about a different dentist I found with even more great reviews.)
 
FearfulInMA

FearfulInMA

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In terms of how chains stay in business (this applies to the US), it is because they are often the only option for people who have a DHMO or Medicaid.
 
Dr. Daniel

Dr. Daniel

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In regards to dental fear, a privet practice is by far better than a chain. Two good reasons:
first, you can't establish a long lasting and trustful relationship with your dentist who works in a chain-clinic because most chances he/she won't stay there long and you will frequently switch to a new dentist.
second, chain practices force their protocols and professional guidelines on the dentist. There is no flexibility and a dentist can't meet the individual patient's needs.

besides that, chains are cooperatives with hunger for money. As simple as that.
 
M

Mauricio88

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Feb 11, 2018
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Here in the USA, reviews are not too hard to find online. IMO, the more high ratings there are, the better - and very specific reviews will help you learn a lot about the dentist. My most recent dentist has a lot of high reviews, and that got me there in the first place. (I've overstayed my welcome there - long story - but am hopeful about a different dentist I found with even more great reviews.)

Online reviews mean nothing. It's foolish to pick a dentist based solely on reviews online because a lot of those positive reviews are fake and PAID for by the dentist (often written by a third party agency). Or the dentist will get staff or family members to write fake positive reviews about themselves. Also, fake negative reviews can happen too (often from nearby competing dental offices). I know this because I work in the dental industry.

The best thing to do is to ask friends, colleagues, etc. how their experience is with their dentist. Or go on Facebook community page for your city and get recommendations for a good dentist. But never depend on online reviews you see on Google, Yelp, RateMyMd, etc.
 
C

comfortdentist

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Online reviews mean nothing. It's foolish to pick a dentist based solely on reviews online because a lot of those positive reviews are fake and PAID for by the dentist (often written by a third party agency). Or the dentist will get staff or family members to write fake positive reviews about themselves. Also, fake negative reviews can happen too (often from nearby competing dental offices). I know this because I work in the dental industry.

The best thing to do is to ask friends, colleagues, etc. how their experience is with their dentist. Or go on Facebook community page for your city and get recommendations for a good dentist. But never depend on online reviews you see on Google, Yelp, RateMyMd, etc.
All of the above is true but if you read the reviews and there are good details or a story it is easy to pick out the fake and worthless ones.
 
M

Mauricio88

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All of the above is true but if you read the reviews and there are good details or a story it is easy to pick out the fake and worthless ones.

I came across this review online and it is so fake it's laughable. Obviously, I'm not going to reveal the dentist name.

"Dr. X is 5 star dentist(out of 5). Firstly the guy is honest and genuine....that alone can be hard to find in the dental world these days. Secondly he's a straight up good dentist who knows what he's doing. He gets in the zone when he works, like Michael Jordan shooting 3's. He worked a retreat for me which is by no means the easiest procedure. The work was painless and efficient. You couldn't ask for a better dentist. Dr. X highly recommended"
 
Enarete

Enarete

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I came across this review online and it is so fake it's laughable. Obviously, I'm not going to reveal the dentist name.

"Dr. X is 5 star dentist(out of 5). Firstly the guy is honest and genuine....that alone can be hard to find in the dental world these days. Secondly he's a straight up good dentist who knows what he's doing. He gets in the zone when he works, like Michael Jordan shooting 3's. He worked a retreat for me which is by no means the easiest procedure. The work was painless and efficient. You couldn't ask for a better dentist. Dr. X highly recommended"
:ROFLMAO::ROFLMAO::ROFLMAO:

this is heavy.. can't stop laughing.. wow, just wow.. the Michael Jordan part is the best.. :toofunny:
 
C

comfortdentist

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DO you think he treats Michael Jordan? lol

Actually I have treated a Miami Heat player who needed to be sedated.
 
M

Mauricio88

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:ROFLMAO::ROFLMAO::ROFLMAO:

this is heavy.. can't stop laughing.. wow, just wow.. the Michael Jordan part is the best.. :toofunny:

I know right? That was a dead giveaway. Patients would never talk like that. Also, patients would never call it a "retreat". They would call it "a root canal the other doc didn't do right". Also, how would a patient know that a "retreat" is "no easy procedure"? That is something the dentist would only know.

Sad and pathetic that some dentists resort to these tactics. I love how they glorify themselves in the reviews. At the very least, make it less obvious that the reviews are fake, lol.  I love how this particular dentist even responded to these fake reviewers thanking them for the positive reviews. How arrogant is that? Ironic that the review states that he is "honest and genuine".
 
letsconnect

letsconnect

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I know right? That was a dead giveaway. Patients would never talk like that. Also, patients would never call it a "retreat". They would call it "a root canal the other doc didn't do right". Also, how would a patient know that a "retreat" is "no easy procedure"? That is something the dentist would only know.
I'm not sure that's true these days - now that everyone has access to an endless supply of information on the Internet, it's pretty easy to gain that sort of knowledge :).

Actually, what surprises me most is that people seek out lots of information about their medical conditions and possible treatments, but not so much about dental conditions and possible treatments. People tend to visit their GPs armed with copies of the results of their Google searches, but when it comes to dentists - not so much. There's still an implicit assumption that "dentist knows best", despite the shift away from the "doctor knows best" culture.

Apologies for derailing the thread!
 
brit

brit

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Private practitioners.....with a stake in your repeat business and their professional reputation.
 
C

comfortdentist

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I'm not sure that's true these days - now that everyone has access to an endless supply of information on the Internet, it's pretty easy to gain that sort of knowledge :).

Actually, what surprises me most is that people seek out lots of information about their medical conditions and possible treatments, but not so much about dental conditions and possible treatments. People tend to visit their GPs armed with copies of the results of their Google searches, but when it comes to dentists - not so much. There's still an implicit assumption that "dentist knows best", despite the shift away from the "doctor knows best" culture.

Apologies for derailing the thread!
In dentistry the disease states are generally limited to two so generally much of the discussion is focused on treatment and the treatment depends on what the patient wants as an outcome or at least that is more my approach. What I find disappointing is it is a rare patient who comes to me for a second opinion regarding dental caries treatment who has ever been educated as to the real cause and preventive measures.
I will occasionally see these patients with multiple needs and spend a good amount of time on preventive aspect even though I don't get paid for those efforts.
 
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