Wasteful Health Care

One year ago, I wrote a post about my experience of forced x-ray during a dental visit:  Tough love or over the boundary?

Today I had another dental visit for regular maintenance care of teeth cleaning. The same thing happened again.

After my name was called, I followed the dental hygienist in. She directed me right to the place where she would take a full mouth x-ray of me. I refused.

I said I had just had an x-ray not long ago. I didn’t want to do it again. She said it would be a different kind of x-ray. I was ordered to do it. If I don’t do it, they could refuse to see me as a patient.

So I had a talk with the dentist. I shared my two reasons for not wanting to do an x-ray.

First, I think I have healthy teeth and I don’t need x-ray. I don’t want to be exposed to unnecessary radiation.

Second, I want to contribute to keeping the health care cost down in this country by doing only the procedure and treatment that is necessary.

I said I am an adult and can take full responsibility of my health. I won’t hold them responsible if there are problems with my teeth that can’t be detected without the x-ray they wanted to take.

This male dentist was nice enough to let me go this time.

Now I dread to visit the dentist office. Every time I visit the dentist office, I feel like I have to fight the same battle.

8 Responses

  1. Claudia

    I took my son to get his dental check up to be allowed (!) to go to school. The dentist didn’t even look into my sons mouth and already directed him to get xrays. I told the dentist to look into his mouth first and then, if she though he had a certain problem, to talk to me about it. She refused. She said she would only treat him if he got the xray. She lied and said it was the law. I told her to show me that law in this free country. She said she couldn’t. My son and I left. I will from now on let my insurance company know of every dentist who pulls this one on me and hope they will start getting on to this nonsense. People have grown up to be healthy individuals for thousands of years without all this radiation. And a good dentist should ask about genetic dental disorders in the family before opting for radiation. Radiation is everywhere now, cell phones, cell phone towers, dentists, doctors… it’s all about making money and in the end the acumulation of all this radiation will make people more ill and cost tremedously in the end.

  2. thomas s

    you folks are very interesting: either you have been going to the wrong dentist/physician or you have some kind of chip on your shoulder(s). i have never been “forced” to undergo any dental or medical procedure. i have been strongly advised to do such and so. and when you have a life threatening illness, you had better listen to the advice. and remember, there is such a thing as a second opinion. of course, one should be careful when dealing with medical issues: do your homework, look at the options, but don’t be mulish about it. as to wasting health care dollars: think about this. you probably wouldn’t have incurred any costs that weren’t already incurred. the equipment and staff were already there and paid for (or being paid for). greater utilization would probably have reduced the per capita price, not increased it. true, one s/b cautious about radiation while at the same time being aware of the fact that radiation typically gives you and your health care provider important information as to what is going on in your body (or, in this instance your mouth). generally, i think, the benefits far outweigh the risks. and all this hand wringing about nuclear power plants, dental x-rays and the like: it’s probably more ideological than anything. besides there is modern technology that greatly lowers the risk of radiation exposure. my advice: cool your jets and find another dentist.

  3. Andrea D.

    If you are lucky enough to have insurance, they will try to do what is covered by that insurance. If they are telling you that you HAVE to get x-rays, even though you may have had some recently, it is for their benefit more than yours. I do not have dental insurance, so I don’t go to the dentist very often. But when I do, I tell them that I don’t have it and that I can’t afford much. I recently paid $85 for a tooth extraction, that included the x-ray. Of course they wanted me to come back for more work, but again I told them I couldn’t afford it. They seemed more willing to work with me due to that fact. This was a clinic at my local hospital, there are more clinics like these at hospitals across the country. These are training clinics, the work is done by students of dentistry, but dentists are there to guide them. My student was in her fourth year(you should ask before they start work on your teeth) so I felt confident that she knew what she was doing. It also seems that this does not only apply to dentists. I have had problems at eye clinics getting a copy of my eye prescription so I can get glasses cheaper elsewhere, they expect you to get your glasses there(and pay their high prices). I went to the eye clinic at Wal-Mart, they didn’t give me any trouble and their prices were affordable. Learning about the subjects helps you make informed decisions on your healthcare, you stand to benefit from that in many ways.

    1. Liz

      For cheap eyeglasses you can also go online, once you have your prescription. My boss at work got a pair for $20 (and they look nice!) and another person in our department tried it out and loves them. You can even get the special treatments (thin lens, shading, etc.)–these increase the costs but only to about $80-$100. I think I paid over $300 for my last pair of eyeglasses, and that was without special anythings.

  4. stormchaser

    I too avoided the dentist as much as possible. Unfortunately I had to give in the other day because I need a filling. I’ve always been big on brushing and flossing every day, so I couldn’t understand why I ended up with 3 cavities in a short time period. Then I found out that it was due to the braces that I had when I was younger. But now I’m starting the routine of having to go to the dentist all the time and I have a feeling it’s about to become unpleasant too.

    1. I never had a cavity my whole life, then when i was 18 i got that sealant that’s supposed to protect your teeth. Ever since i’ve gotten cavities like crazy. I don’t know if that caused them, but i’m suspicious.

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  6. I’ve been avoiding going to the dentist for this reason. I don’t want an x-ray of my head and i don’t want to have the guaranteed confrontation when i refuse. They get so defensive and irritated when someone goes against their advice. It’s great that you didn’t give in this time. I got a small piece of iron in my eye last year and went to the hospital to get it removed. It wasn’t serious, it was just hot when it hit so it embedded in the cornea. After he got it out he got ready to stick me with a vaccine without even asking or telling me what it was. When i asked him he said it was a tetanus shot. I told him i would pass and he said i had to take it. I said no i don’t and he argued that i did. We went back and forth when finally he said that by law he can’t force me to take it. Then he lied by telling me i was at a high risk of contracting tetanus. I knew that was false because the bacteria is anaerobic and the eye is full of oxygen. He was extremely pushy and condescending. Why does it have to be like that?

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