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Watching Out for Dentists that Rip You Off

I watched this video about the different ways dentists can rip you off.
Often, it's about suggesting unnecessary treatments.

One dentist told a patient that her teeth did not look good and suggested veneers.
However, sometimes veneers can be bad for one's teeth.

I'm thinking about visiting dentists in public healthcare.
They are less incentivised to suggest treatments based on making more money.
Much more affordable as well.

From personal experience, this is true for doctors in public healthcare in this country.
I have found them to be more trustworthy and balanced in their approach.
Because they often suggest the least invasive procedure needed to treat the medical issue at hand.

I suspect this to be true for the dental profession too.
(Dentists and doctors are sort of separate professions here.)

It's what Lucio suggested before.
The situation can make a man a thief.
Here, the work culture does influence a person's behaviour.
When one goes to the private sector, one tends to become more profit-oriented.

Last wisdom teeth surgery tomorrow!

Quote from Matthew Whitewood on September 19, 2021, 6:27 pm

I'm thinking about visiting dentists in public healthcare.
They are less incentivised to suggest treatments based on making more money.
Much more affordable as well.

It's a good idea.

But one should still be watchful.

The true extent of better interest alignment depends on how the healthcare system is set up.

In some countries, public hospitals get reimbursed based on the number and costs of surgeries they perform.
So the top administrator might apply direct or indirect pressure on all departments to perform surgeries.

Plus, there is the doctor who might want to do surgeries for the experience.

And of course the all too common "justifying one's own existence" where surgeons might feel more powerful, important and impactful if they perform more surgeries.

I know there are several doctors who went through PU, if any of them would like to chime in for sure they could offer more insight.

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Matthew Whitewood
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In some countries, public hospitals get reimbursed based on the number and costs of surgeries they perform.
So the top administrator might apply direct or indirect pressure on all departments to perform surgeries.

I heard some stories that this is the case for the NHS in the UK.
I cannot confirm this though.

I can see the challenge of disincentivising doing more surgeries for the purpose of earning money.
Because the top administrator could say that there's a rise in costs and patients seeking surgery.

I believe one of the ways is more transparency in the diagnosis process to the public.
Letting any person have easy access to multiple opinions from a few doctors would be good.
However, medicine is a complex subject so the expertise and informational asymmetry provide a natural advantage to doctors.
We also cannot have people calling up doctors for trivial matters that take up a lot of their time.

I chose my current dentist from good online reviews.
Almost all reviews are 5 stars.
However, I realise that they proactively ask patients to leave reviews.
So maybe they are marketing better.

But it's no different in industries with a tight circle like law, investment banking, etc.

I guess the broader question would be how to seek advice/service on a niche/specialised subject without being manipulated.

My personal experience is a few ways:

  • Be prepared - Do your homework as much to your ability as you can
  • Prepare questions to ask in advance
  • Search and contact a few vendors (clinics in this case)
    • Talk to big firms, freelancers, mid-sized firms, etc
    • Ask for introductions from trusted friends
  • Ask your prepared questions and record your answers
  • Compare consistency and analyse
    • Does one vendor tell something very different from other vendors?
    • Is the vendor willing to do things against their interests out of ethics?
  • Start small - work on a small project first

3 years ago, I needed to treat my shoulder dislocation.
One doctor recommended surgery to see what's going on in the shoulder.
My shoulder wasn't that bad so it sounded risky, and the cost was sky-high too.

So I went to another doctor, and he recommended starting with physiotherapy first.
He had "an avoid surgery when you can" mentality.
If my shoulder got better, no need for surgery.
And it got better.

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