Dentist: Is this acceptable?

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jwblue
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Dentist: Is this acceptable?

Post by jwblue » Sat Aug 03, 2019 12:28 pm

The last two times my mother was at her dentist for a cleaning he was not there to examine her. The receptionist said he was spending time with this family.

This is two times in a row he has not been there. Isn't the dentist supposed to examine the teeth after a cleaning?

I find this unacceptable. Am I overreacting?

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dougger5
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Re: Dentist: Is this acceptable?

Post by dougger5 » Sat Aug 03, 2019 12:34 pm

I find that rather odd as well.

At the least, I would examine the EOB (Explanation Of Benefits) very closely. If there's anything beyond the cleaning, es no bueno.
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hicabob
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Re: Dentist: Is this acceptable?

Post by hicabob » Sat Aug 03, 2019 12:37 pm

My old dentist used to have a sign saying patients will always get a dentist inspecting their teeth after a cleaning and she did.
The sign disappeared then cleanings were frequently not followed by the dentist having a quick look.
I switched dentists.

jacksonm
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Re: Dentist: Is this acceptable?

Post by jacksonm » Sat Aug 03, 2019 12:41 pm

jwblue wrote:
Sat Aug 03, 2019 12:28 pm
The last two times my mother was at her dentist for a cleaning he was not there to examine her. The receptionist said he was spending time with this family.

This is two times in a row he has not been there. Isn't the dentist supposed to examine the teeth after a cleaning?

I find this unacceptable. Am I overreacting?
I get lots of cleanings because of gum disease. I don't recall the dentist doing an examination afterward as standard practice. It generally only happens when the hygienist thinks there is something that needs to be looked at or I have something to complain about.

Traveler
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Re: Dentist: Is this acceptable?

Post by Traveler » Sat Aug 03, 2019 12:42 pm

My dentist always inspects after my cleanings. I get way more of his time than I do from my physician when I see her once a year.

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Doom&Gloom
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Re: Dentist: Is this acceptable?

Post by Doom&Gloom » Sat Aug 03, 2019 12:51 pm

Very weird.

Is he the only dentist in town? I would have moved on after the first experience of that.

abner kravitz
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Re: Dentist: Is this acceptable?

Post by abner kravitz » Sat Aug 03, 2019 12:54 pm

I go every 3 months so the dentist does not examine me every time, but she is always there. I would find a new dentist.

Calli114
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Re: Dentist: Is this acceptable?

Post by Calli114 » Sat Aug 03, 2019 12:57 pm

This happens to me about every other time with cleaning, but I go every 3 months so there's no need for her to look at me each time.
Sometimes she's not there at all, other times she's working but doesn't see me. If I don't have any complaints and I'm not being billed for an exam, I don't see the problem.

Rus In Urbe
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Re: Dentist: Is this acceptable?

Post by Rus In Urbe » Sat Aug 03, 2019 1:00 pm

Our dentist ALWAYS takes a look after my DH and I get our cleanings (which we schedule simultaneously); since my teeth are (genetically) trouble-free, I always tease the dentist that he's coming in to admire my choppers and I'm deeding the extra time to my spouse, whose teeth are far more challenging.

Yes, I would definitely switch dentists. And let the practice know why.
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CAsage
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Re: Dentist: Is this acceptable?

Post by CAsage » Sat Aug 03, 2019 1:02 pm

The dentist absolutely should check at least every 6 months, and I personally expect a quick look every time I pay for a cleaning.
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lthenderson
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Re: Dentist: Is this acceptable?

Post by lthenderson » Sat Aug 03, 2019 1:22 pm

I go every six months and the dentist either is there to inspect my mouth or his secretary has called me in advance to let me know that he won't be there and ask me if I'm okay with that or reschedule me. In the two decades I have gone there, I think the latter has only happened three or four times.

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Stinky
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Re: Dentist: Is this acceptable?

Post by Stinky » Sat Aug 03, 2019 1:30 pm

CAsage wrote:
Sat Aug 03, 2019 1:02 pm
The dentist absolutely should check at least every 6 months, and I personally expect a quick look every time I pay for a cleaning.
Agreed.

I’ve had a lot of dental issues over the years, and the hygienist will frequently see something to be brought to the dentist’s attention. I would be greatly annoyed if I had to come back to the dentist another day for the dentist to look at the hygienist’s findings. Cleaning and assessment should always be on the same trip to the dental office.
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boater07
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Re: Dentist: Is this acceptable?

Post by boater07 » Sat Aug 03, 2019 1:48 pm

When I want an inspection, dentist charges $75 in addition to cleaning

dbr
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Re: Dentist: Is this acceptable?

Post by dbr » Sat Aug 03, 2019 1:51 pm

Cleaning is one procedure. A checkup of dental condition is another. I see nothing wrong with a dentist not checking teeth when you are in for cleaning but there is everything wrong with not getting a dental checkup. Most dentists would find it convenient and logical to do that when you are having your teeth cleaned. Most dentists also have a routine for taking x-rays though not as often as every checkup and not as comprehensive at every interval of x-rays. Your cleaning should also include the hygienist evaluating periodontal condition and the dentist can screen for oral cancer as well.

If you are not getting this kind of routine preventative dental care you need to find a new dentist. Also, while possibly debatable, you might consider adult floride application with the cleaning.

strafe
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Re: Dentist: Is this acceptable?

Post by strafe » Sat Aug 03, 2019 1:53 pm

Interesting that people are up in arms about this.
The last time I looked up the published literature on this topic, there was no evidence that q6mo “prophylactic” dental exams were of any benefit.
It’s hard to make a well person better.

I’d say it’s acceptable as long as you are being billed for the only the hygienist and not the dentist.

dbr
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Re: Dentist: Is this acceptable?

Post by dbr » Sat Aug 03, 2019 1:57 pm

strafe wrote:
Sat Aug 03, 2019 1:53 pm
Interesting that people are up in arms about this.
The last time I looked up the published literature on this topic, there was no evidence that q6mo “prophylactic” dental exams were of any benefit.
It’s hard to make a well person better.

I’d say it’s acceptable as long as you are being billed for the only the hygienist and not the dentist.
Not all people are well. Developing cavities, periodontal (gum) disease, bite problems, and even endodontic problems can exist that the individual is not aware of until too late.

bstewie
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Re: Dentist: Is this acceptable?

Post by bstewie » Sat Aug 03, 2019 2:00 pm

I’m at the dentist frequently, she always gives me ten minutes of face time after the hygienist is done. If it bothers you I would just find a different dentist. I pay a little extra to go to an out of network dentist specifically because I like the dentist and their staff that much more than my in network options.

Nowizard
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Re: Dentist: Is this acceptable?

Post by Nowizard » Sat Aug 03, 2019 2:02 pm

In our area, the dentist always looks, and there is a separate charge for an oral examination for oral cancer or similar things. A dentist friend found one case of OC in more than 35 years of practice. Not sure this increases the charge for cleaning which is approximately $175 with two, bitewings and the exam.

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JPH
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Re: Dentist: Is this acceptable?

Post by JPH » Sat Aug 03, 2019 2:10 pm

I attend a university-based faculty practice program. Examination and cleaning always are scheduled independently; sometimes on the same day and sometimes on different days. If I specify cleaning, then I only see the hygienist.
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Re: Dentist: Is this acceptable?

Post by fru-gal » Sat Aug 03, 2019 2:16 pm

For decades all of the dentists I saw took a look at my mouth after a cleaning. Sometimes the hygienist would mention something to look at, but basically the dentist did the exam.

Recently with a new dentist that did not happen, and I am not comfortable about that. I can't necessarily tell if there is a problem, and a hygienist is not a dentist, any more than a physician's assistant is a doctor, probably less.

sawhorse
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Re: Dentist: Is this acceptable?

Post by sawhorse » Sat Aug 03, 2019 2:59 pm

One time the dentist didn't inspect me after the cleaning. I thought that was odd because I hadn't been cleaned in a long time. He later looked at the x-rays and called me about them. The other times he has inspected me. I figure he must have been caught up with something urgent when he didn't inspect me.
strafe wrote:
Sat Aug 03, 2019 1:53 pm
I’d say it’s acceptable as long as you are being billed for the only the hygienist and not the dentist.
I agree.

Trader Joe
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Re: Dentist: Is this acceptable?

Post by Trader Joe » Sat Aug 03, 2019 3:21 pm

jwblue wrote:
Sat Aug 03, 2019 12:28 pm
The last two times my mother was at her dentist for a cleaning he was not there to examine her. The receptionist said he was spending time with this family.

This is two times in a row he has not been there. Isn't the dentist supposed to examine the teeth after a cleaning?

I find this unacceptable. Am I overreacting?
This is what happens to me with every teeth cleaning. My dentist never examines my teeth after a cleaning. I have no problem with this.

brcase800
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Re: Dentist: Is this acceptable?

Post by brcase800 » Sat Aug 03, 2019 3:36 pm

Dentist here: I wouldn’t worry too much. Ideally a patient will have an exam done every six months. However, sometimes dentists are out of town, sick, etc. In Texas, it is allowed to have hygienist clean teeth with no dentist present. However, in Texas A hygienist isn’t supposed to clean teeth without an exam done by dentist in last 12 months. I wouldn’t worry about it now, but If the dentist isn’t there at her next cleaning I’d tell your mom to find a new dentist. Not sure other state rules.

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Phineas J. Whoopee
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Re: Dentist: Is this acceptable?

Post by Phineas J. Whoopee » Sat Aug 03, 2019 4:08 pm

Not only don't I like going to the dentist, and who among us do?, I especially don't like when the dentist repeatedly doesn't do what we agreed.

I like choosing a new dentist still less than I like going to my existing one, and who among us do?, but I would take what happened repeatedly as a cue to shop around.

I only ever had one dentist I liked, so far as as going to the dentist goes. While providing fully professional service, she was always extremely gentle. She moved to the other side of the continent.

Oh, well.

PJW

tim1999
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Re: Dentist: Is this acceptable?

Post by tim1999 » Sat Aug 03, 2019 4:12 pm

The last time I went in for my 6-month cleaning, the dentist apparently was on vacation and wasn't there to inspect after the cleaning. It was probably the only time in 25+ years of cleanings that the dentist wasn't present at the end. I thought it was a little odd, was sort of surprised they didn't close the whole office while he was gone (it's just him, a receptionist/billing person, and 2-3 hygienists who are all working at several different practice in town. Hopefully he'll be there next time. Past dentists have occasionally spotted things in need of more attention during these post-cleaning inspections. One of my golf buddies is a recently retired dentist who had a similar small practice, whenever he took time off (which was usually scheduled 6+ months in advance), his office closed. He was pretty old-school though, had a small but clean office with very dated décor, but didn't have to constantly try to upsell people in order to service 400k in student loans or whatever like the younger ones. My new dentist who kept the office open while on vacation is fairly young and hungry.

dbr
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Re: Dentist: Is this acceptable?

Post by dbr » Sat Aug 03, 2019 4:15 pm

Whether or not the dentist was there at the time of cleaning the important issue would be when and what kind of dental examination your mother is getting. Is that office scheduling here for a periodic dental examination? If not she should schedule that. Do they not say anything about it?

dbr
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Re: Dentist: Is this acceptable?

Post by dbr » Sat Aug 03, 2019 4:21 pm

tim1999 wrote:
Sat Aug 03, 2019 4:12 pm
The last time I went in for my 6-month cleaning, the dentist apparently was on vacation and wasn't there to inspect after the cleaning. It was probably the only time in 25+ years of cleanings that the dentist wasn't present at the end. I thought it was a little odd, was sort of surprised they didn't close the whole office while he was gone (it's just him, a receptionist/billing person, and 2-3 hygienists who are all working at several different practice in town. Hopefully he'll be there next time. Past dentists have occasionally spotted things in need of more attention during these post-cleaning inspections. One of my golf buddies is a recently retired dentist who had a similar small practice, whenever he took time off (which was usually scheduled 6+ months in advance), his office closed. He was pretty old-school though, had a small but clean office with very dated décor, but didn't have to constantly try to upsell people in order to service 400k in student loans or whatever like the younger ones. My new dentist who kept the office open while on vacation is fairly young and hungry.
So what does he say about the kind and frequency of examination he recommends you schedule? You may not need to be examined, have x-rays done, etc. as often as you have a cleaning. Just as with cleaning this can depend on the patient as well.

When I go to a doctor I don't have every possible exam, vaccination, etc., done every year, but the doctor does have a schedule for recommended procedures. As far as that goes the maintenance on an automobile does not schedule every possible maintenance procedure each time you change the oil and the guy that changes the oil and checks the tire pressure is not the same guy that replaces the timing belt some day.

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BogleFanGal
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Re: Dentist: Is this acceptable?

Post by BogleFanGal » Sat Aug 03, 2019 4:30 pm

My insurance only covers 2 exams a year - but I go 3x for cleanings. The dentist does not examine my mouth unless I'm scheduled for a bi-annual exam or have a problem to report. There were several times I was there for a cleaning and the dentist was out that day. This has happened at several dentists' practices - not just this one. He wouldn't get paid for a 3rd exam per year unless I paid out of pocket. I'm a little puzzled by those who get examined every time they visit - they must have good insurance or dentists just waive the fee.
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Marylander1
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Re: Dentist: Is this acceptable?

Post by Marylander1 » Sat Aug 03, 2019 4:41 pm

BogleFanGal wrote:
Sat Aug 03, 2019 4:30 pm
He wouldn't get paid for a 3rd exam per year unless I paid out of pocket. I'm a little puzzled by those who get examined every time they visit - they must have good insurance or dentists just waive the fee.
I go 3 times/year and pay $130 out-of-pocket for the 3rd visit. I've had more than $900,000 of medical care resulting from a bad root canal two decades ago, so it seems cheap to me.

Marylander1

dbr
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Re: Dentist: Is this acceptable?

Post by dbr » Sat Aug 03, 2019 4:42 pm

BogleFanGal wrote:
Sat Aug 03, 2019 4:30 pm
My insurance only covers 2 exams a year - but I go 3x for cleanings. The dentist does not examine my mouth unless I'm scheduled for a bi-annual exam or have a problem to report. There were several times I was there for a cleaning and the dentist was out that day. This has happened at several dentists' practices - not just this one. He wouldn't get paid for a 3rd exam per year unless I paid out of pocket. I'm a little puzzled by those who get examined every time they visit - they must have good insurance or dentists just waive the fee.
Or they aren't going 3x per year. Lots of people only need cleaning 1x per year but it would not be a good thing if the dentist would just kiss off doing an exam in that case.

I would guess the dentist has determined that the OP's mother doesn't need an exam with every cleaning. Or, it could be the dentist is not paying attention to how often she is getting a full exam, and that would be bad.

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2pedals
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Re: Dentist: Is this acceptable?

Post by 2pedals » Sat Aug 03, 2019 5:20 pm

brcase800 wrote:
Sat Aug 03, 2019 3:36 pm
Dentist here: I wouldn’t worry too much. Ideally a patient will have an exam done every six months. However, sometimes dentists are out of town, sick, etc. In Texas, it is allowed to have hygienist clean teeth with no dentist present. However, in Texas A hygienist isn’t supposed to clean teeth without an exam done by dentist in last 12 months. I wouldn’t worry about it now, but If the dentist isn’t there at her next cleaning I’d tell your mom to find a new dentist. Not sure other state rules.
Consumer Here: I have dental benefits ... I mean "dental insurance". I would be very careful. If the dentist waits too long and finds a big problem or many problems due to failing to care for issues in a timely manner, the benefit period can expire the consumer may needlessly have to pay for lumpy expenses. Annual benefit limits can easily be exceeded and if the paid for or work place dental benefits are not used in a timely manor they can be lost forever. If the patient teeth are in good condition this is probably okay, but how would you know without an inspection so you can use you dental benefits wisely. One inspection every 12 months definitely not good enough for me. I work with my dentist to get routine inspections (I prefer 3x/year) and a treatment plan.
Last edited by 2pedals on Sat Aug 03, 2019 10:43 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Mr.BB
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Re: Dentist: Is this acceptable?

Post by Mr.BB » Sat Aug 03, 2019 5:32 pm

You should check how they bill your insurance. Make sure they are not charging you for a dental exam.
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BogleFanGal
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Re: Dentist: Is this acceptable?

Post by BogleFanGal » Sat Aug 03, 2019 5:38 pm

Marylander1 wrote:
Sat Aug 03, 2019 4:41 pm
BogleFanGal wrote:
Sat Aug 03, 2019 4:30 pm
He wouldn't get paid for a 3rd exam per year unless I paid out of pocket. I'm a little puzzled by those who get examined every time they visit - they must have good insurance or dentists just waive the fee.
I go 3 times/year and pay $130 out-of-pocket for the 3rd visit. I've had more than $900,000 of medical care resulting from a bad root canal two decades ago, so it seems cheap to me.

Marylander1
And I thought my own dental nightmare was bad. Hope you didn't pay for all of that out of pocket. :shock:
"Life would be infinitely happier if we could only be born at the age of eighty and gradually approach eighteen." Mark Twain

Johnny Thinwallet
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Re: Dentist: Is this acceptable?

Post by Johnny Thinwallet » Sat Aug 03, 2019 7:02 pm

My dentist does everything. He examines my teeth, he cleans my teeth thoroughly in all aspects (scraping, polishing and flossing) and he does x-rays when needed. He is the only person in the office that does anything with my teeth. This is the actual dentist, not the hygienist. My appointments are twice per year. I'm usually there for 45 minutes, and he's with me for all 45 minutes.

My wife is lucky if her dentist looks in her mouth for more than 20 seconds. A hygienist does everything else. I've told her to switch to my dentist or find a dentist who actually does clean her teeth, but she doesn't want to.

I always thought the actual dentist should be the person doing everything, not a hygienist. Maybe my wife's dentist is the norm and my dentist is the exception. I don't know.
Last edited by Johnny Thinwallet on Sat Aug 03, 2019 7:06 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Jesteroftheswamp
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Re: Dentist: Is this acceptable?

Post by Jesteroftheswamp » Sat Aug 03, 2019 7:04 pm

jwblue wrote:
Sat Aug 03, 2019 12:28 pm
The last two times my mother was at her dentist for a cleaning he was not there to examine her. The receptionist said he was spending time with this family.

This is two times in a row he has not been there. Isn't the dentist supposed to examine the teeth after a cleaning?

I find this unacceptable. Am I overreacting?
You are definitely overreacting, due to my profession I am in dentist offices every day. The hygienist does the majority - if not all - of the work. The fact that the dentist has not had to be there is actually a good sign as your mom probably has teeth that are in good health.

Big Dog
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Re: Dentist: Is this acceptable?

Post by Big Dog » Sat Aug 03, 2019 7:35 pm

I get cleanings all the time and is the dentist not always in the office. Sometimes he's at professional meetings learning new stuff, or personal time, or teaching at the local dental school. The Hygienist is excellent and does her job well.

If he's in the office, he always stops by to say hello and ask if 'things are ok?', i.e., any dental issues? But it is rare that he will come back and check on his hygienist's work.

I do make appts for a check-up, i.e., 2x year.

TallBoy29er
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Re: Dentist: Is this acceptable?

Post by TallBoy29er » Sat Aug 03, 2019 9:16 pm

Yep, definitely odd to me. EVERY time I go to the dentist, he/she personally inspects my teeth.

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Re: Dentist: Is this acceptable?

Post by JonnyDVM » Sat Aug 03, 2019 9:39 pm

brcase800 wrote:
Sat Aug 03, 2019 3:36 pm
Dentist here: I wouldn’t worry too much. Ideally a patient will have an exam done every six months. However, sometimes dentists are out of town, sick, etc. In Texas, it is allowed to have hygienist clean teeth with no dentist present. However, in Texas A hygienist isn’t supposed to clean teeth without an exam done by dentist in last 12 months. I wouldn’t worry about it now, but If the dentist isn’t there at her next cleaning I’d tell your mom to find a new dentist. Not sure other state rules.

OP is in CA not Texas. Didn’t see anything about Texas listed. Depending on the state the dentist is probably supposed to be there supervising the hygienists. Not sure how it works in dentistry but I could get in deep $&/@ if my techs were working on a patient and I wasn’t in the building supervising regardless of the reason. The dentist comes in after the cleaning, takes a quick look, we talk about golf and I go home with a new toothbrush. I’ve never had it any other way. I would definitely find a new dentist for mom.
Sometimes the questions are complicated and the answers are simple. -Dr. Seuss

Casimir
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Re: Dentist: Is this acceptable?

Post by Casimir » Sat Aug 03, 2019 10:18 pm

Unacceptable. Find another dentist if you are not completely satisified. I changes from a sole practice dentist to a small family dental group with a dozen dentists and dozen cleaners. They are very busy but provide excellent service. Dentist does a one minute exam and few minutes consultation each visit, This is essential for proper care and catching issues early.

toofache32
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Re: Dentist: Is this acceptable?

Post by toofache32 » Sat Aug 03, 2019 11:24 pm

Waiting for the thread that says "my PCP's nurse practitioner saw me but the doctor didn't...."

Erwin007
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Re: Dentist: Is this acceptable?

Post by Erwin007 » Sun Aug 04, 2019 12:58 am

JonnyDVM wrote:
Sat Aug 03, 2019 9:39 pm
brcase800 wrote:
Sat Aug 03, 2019 3:36 pm
Dentist here: I wouldn’t worry too much. Ideally a patient will have an exam done every six months. However, sometimes dentists are out of town, sick, etc. In Texas, it is allowed to have hygienist clean teeth with no dentist present. However, in Texas A hygienist isn’t supposed to clean teeth without an exam done by dentist in last 12 months. I wouldn’t worry about it now, but If the dentist isn’t there at her next cleaning I’d tell your mom to find a new dentist. Not sure other state rules.

OP is in CA not Texas. Didn’t see anything about Texas listed. Depending on the state the dentist is probably supposed to be there supervising the hygienists. Not sure how it works in dentistry but I could get in deep $&/@ if my techs were working on a patient and I wasn’t in the building supervising regardless of the reason. The dentist comes in after the cleaning, takes a quick look, we talk about golf and I go home with a new toothbrush. I’ve never had it any other way. I would definitely find a new dentist for mom.
Different rules for dentists and vets. Not sure why that is such a surprise. How much trouble could a hygienist get into cleaning teeth unsupervised (as in, what type of irreversible problems could come up)?

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Re: Dentist: Is this acceptable?

Post by Erwin007 » Sun Aug 04, 2019 1:03 am

Johnny Thinwallet wrote:
Sat Aug 03, 2019 7:02 pm
My dentist does everything. He examines my teeth, he cleans my teeth thoroughly in all aspects (scraping, polishing and flossing) and he does x-rays when needed. He is the only person in the office that does anything with my teeth. This is the actual dentist, not the hygienist. My appointments are twice per year. I'm usually there for 45 minutes, and he's with me for all 45 minutes.

My wife is lucky if her dentist looks in her mouth for more than 20 seconds. A hygienist does everything else. I've told her to switch to my dentist or find a dentist who actually does clean her teeth, but she doesn't want to.

I always thought the actual dentist should be the person doing everything, not a hygienist. Maybe my wife's dentist is the norm and my dentist is the exception. I don't know.
Why would you want someone cleaning your teeth who probably rarely does that? All hygienists do is clean teeth, so they’re probably better at it than the dentists who use their clinic time to do things only they can do. A complete misallocation of resources to have the dentist do every cleaning.

Is your dentist an older dentist? The last dentists I had clean my teeth was when I was seeing a pediatric dentist over 20 years ago.

sawhorse
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Re: Dentist: Is this acceptable?

Post by sawhorse » Sun Aug 04, 2019 2:27 am

Erwin007 wrote:
Sun Aug 04, 2019 1:03 am
Why would you want someone cleaning your teeth who probably rarely does that? All hygienists do is clean teeth, so they’re probably better at it than the dentists who use their clinic time to do things only they can do. A complete misallocation of resources to have the dentist do every cleaning.

Is your dentist an older dentist? The last dentists I had clean my teeth was when I was seeing a pediatric dentist over 20 years ago.
I agree. One of my doctors had to take my blood pressure once because no one else was in the office, and she fumbled with it and got a crazy reading, and in the end she gave up after about five attempts to get an accurate reading. We had a good laugh about it.

It's best to have it done by the person who does it all the time. In Johnny Thinwallet's case that's the dentist, but in most practices it's the hygienist.

Johnny Thinwallet
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Re: Dentist: Is this acceptable?

Post by Johnny Thinwallet » Sun Aug 04, 2019 7:55 am

Erwin007 wrote:
Sun Aug 04, 2019 1:03 am
Johnny Thinwallet wrote:
Sat Aug 03, 2019 7:02 pm
My dentist does everything. He examines my teeth, he cleans my teeth thoroughly in all aspects (scraping, polishing and flossing) and he does x-rays when needed. He is the only person in the office that does anything with my teeth. This is the actual dentist, not the hygienist. My appointments are twice per year. I'm usually there for 45 minutes, and he's with me for all 45 minutes.

My wife is lucky if her dentist looks in her mouth for more than 20 seconds. A hygienist does everything else. I've told her to switch to my dentist or find a dentist who actually does clean her teeth, but she doesn't want to.

I always thought the actual dentist should be the person doing everything, not a hygienist. Maybe my wife's dentist is the norm and my dentist is the exception. I don't know.
Why would you want someone cleaning your teeth who probably rarely does that? All hygienists do is clean teeth, so they’re probably better at it than the dentists who use their clinic time to do things only they can do. A complete misallocation of resources to have the dentist do every cleaning.

Is your dentist an older dentist? The last dentists I had clean my teeth was when I was seeing a pediatric dentist over 20 years ago.
He's in his 50s, and I've been seeing him for about 20 years. Same with both my parents. His operation is himself and one admin secretary, and he probably sees about eight patients a day. His practice is small, but he knows his patients very, very well. My parents have said he's by far the best dentist they've ever seen. We've had family friends switch to him over the years and they've said the same thing once they've switched.

My wife's experience at her dentist each time she visits with hygienists is a crapshoot. Some are good, she says, others are lousy. She rarely has the same hygienist working on her teeth with each visit. It's as if all they're focused on his churning out volume. That's a hard pass for me as a patient.

toofache32
Posts: 1863
Joined: Sun Mar 04, 2012 6:30 pm

Re: Dentist: Is this acceptable?

Post by toofache32 » Sun Aug 04, 2019 10:06 am

Johnny Thinwallet wrote:
Sun Aug 04, 2019 7:55 am
Erwin007 wrote:
Sun Aug 04, 2019 1:03 am
Johnny Thinwallet wrote:
Sat Aug 03, 2019 7:02 pm
My dentist does everything. He examines my teeth, he cleans my teeth thoroughly in all aspects (scraping, polishing and flossing) and he does x-rays when needed. He is the only person in the office that does anything with my teeth. This is the actual dentist, not the hygienist. My appointments are twice per year. I'm usually there for 45 minutes, and he's with me for all 45 minutes.

My wife is lucky if her dentist looks in her mouth for more than 20 seconds. A hygienist does everything else. I've told her to switch to my dentist or find a dentist who actually does clean her teeth, but she doesn't want to.

I always thought the actual dentist should be the person doing everything, not a hygienist. Maybe my wife's dentist is the norm and my dentist is the exception. I don't know.
Why would you want someone cleaning your teeth who probably rarely does that? All hygienists do is clean teeth, so they’re probably better at it than the dentists who use their clinic time to do things only they can do. A complete misallocation of resources to have the dentist do every cleaning.

Is your dentist an older dentist? The last dentists I had clean my teeth was when I was seeing a pediatric dentist over 20 years ago.
He's in his 50s, and I've been seeing him for about 20 years. Same with both my parents. His operation is himself and one admin secretary, and he probably sees about eight patients a day. His practice is small, but he knows his patients very, very well. My parents have said he's by far the best dentist they've ever seen. We've had family friends switch to him over the years and they've said the same thing once they've switched.

My wife's experience at her dentist each time she visits with hygienists is a crapshoot. Some are good, she says, others are lousy. She rarely has the same hygienist working on her teeth with each visit. It's as if all they're focused on his churning out volume. That's a hard pass for me as a patient.
My wife used to go to the same type of dentist. This is a very low overhead model. And paper charts and cash pay so they are not bound by HIPAA which saves costs even more.

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snackdog
Posts: 801
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Re: Dentist: Is this acceptable?

Post by snackdog » Sun Aug 04, 2019 10:26 am

There no laws governing this, just dental association guidelines, most of which say "dentist OR dental hygienist". If you have a question, ask your hygienist and they will either deal with it or get you an appointment with the dentist. In my experience, the dentist is just glancing in there fishing around for loose fillings or other ways to increase revenue.

Mr.BB
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Re: Dentist: Is this acceptable?

Post by Mr.BB » Sun Aug 04, 2019 10:28 am

Jesteroftheswamp wrote:
Sat Aug 03, 2019 7:04 pm
jwblue wrote:
Sat Aug 03, 2019 12:28 pm
The last two times my mother was at her dentist for a cleaning he was not there to examine her. The receptionist said he was spending time with this family.

This is two times in a row he has not been there. Isn't the dentist supposed to examine the teeth after a cleaning?

I find this unacceptable. Am I overreacting?
You are definitely overreacting, due to my profession I am in dentist offices every day. The hygienist does the majority - if not all - of the work. The fact that the dentist has not had to be there is actually a good sign as your mom probably has teeth that are in good health.
"The fact that the dentist has not had to be there is actually a good sign as your mom probably has teeth that are in good health."
That doesn't make any sense. How would the dentist know that their teeth are in good shape if he doesn't look at them.
"We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit."

Jesteroftheswamp
Posts: 238
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Re: Dentist: Is this acceptable?

Post by Jesteroftheswamp » Sun Aug 04, 2019 11:06 am

Mr.BB wrote:
Sun Aug 04, 2019 10:28 am
Jesteroftheswamp wrote:
Sat Aug 03, 2019 7:04 pm
jwblue wrote:
Sat Aug 03, 2019 12:28 pm
The last two times my mother was at her dentist for a cleaning he was not there to examine her. The receptionist said he was spending time with this family.

This is two times in a row he has not been there. Isn't the dentist supposed to examine the teeth after a cleaning?

I find this unacceptable. Am I overreacting?
You are definitely overreacting, due to my profession I am in dentist offices every day. The hygienist does the majority - if not all - of the work. The fact that the dentist has not had to be there is actually a good sign as your mom probably has teeth that are in good health.
"The fact that the dentist has not had to be there is actually a good sign as your mom probably has teeth that are in good health."
That doesn't make any sense. How would the dentist know that their teeth are in good shape if he doesn't look at them.
You don’t think that the hygienist reports to the dentist? You don’t think the dentist sees the XRays? More than likely they do and the dentist is well aware of the patients current status.

Again, this is extremely common. If OP is uncomfortable with it, she obviously needs to find another dentist who is a bit more hands on. They’re out there as well.

boogiehead
Posts: 118
Joined: Wed Sep 27, 2017 11:45 pm

Re: Dentist: Is this acceptable?

Post by boogiehead » Sun Aug 04, 2019 11:09 am

Sounds exactly like my old dentist (I wonder if your mom is going to the same guy as me :D ). When he first opened up his practice he was always there and would explain everything to me in detail. Fast forward 10 years later after building up his practice, he started cutting back his hours (only opens 4 days a week and works half day on one of the days that he opens now) and became MIA after my cleaning as well. At first I was hesitant to change, but after the second time I realized I had enough so I changed to another dentist. After my first cleaning and inspection from my new dentist he let me know I actually had a couple of cavities which made me realize I should have changed long time ago.

I would definitely say this is not acceptable and that its time to change.

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JonnyDVM
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Location: Atlanta, GA

Re: Dentist: Is this acceptable?

Post by JonnyDVM » Sun Aug 04, 2019 11:11 am

Erwin007 wrote:
Sun Aug 04, 2019 12:58 am
JonnyDVM wrote:
Sat Aug 03, 2019 9:39 pm
brcase800 wrote:
Sat Aug 03, 2019 3:36 pm
Dentist here: I wouldn’t worry too much. Ideally a patient will have an exam done every six months. However, sometimes dentists are out of town, sick, etc. In Texas, it is allowed to have hygienist clean teeth with no dentist present. However, in Texas A hygienist isn’t supposed to clean teeth without an exam done by dentist in last 12 months. I wouldn’t worry about it now, but If the dentist isn’t there at her next cleaning I’d tell your mom to find a new dentist. Not sure other state rules.

OP is in CA not Texas. Didn’t see anything about Texas listed. Depending on the state the dentist is probably supposed to be there supervising the hygienists. Not sure how it works in dentistry but I could get in deep $&/@ if my techs were working on a patient and I wasn’t in the building supervising regardless of the reason. The dentist comes in after the cleaning, takes a quick look, we talk about golf and I go home with a new toothbrush. I’ve never had it any other way. I would definitely find a new dentist for mom.
Different rules for dentists and vets. Not sure why that is such a surprise. How much trouble could a hygienist get into cleaning teeth unsupervised (as in, what type of irreversible problems could come up)?
I could answer with the same question. I’m assuming a dentist has more training than a hygienist and could potentially recognize a problem the hygenist missed. Why am I ever seeing a dentist at all then if the hygienist can do everything?
Sometimes the questions are complicated and the answers are simple. -Dr. Seuss

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