Dentists were ranked third among the most trusted professionals in 1995 but slipped to ninth in 2001. According to Gallup Poll rankings, they managed climbed back up to rank sixth in 2009. Still making the top ten!
A 1997 Reader's Digest article may have done the most to challenge dentists' honesty, though. In it, the author visited 50 dentists in 28 states to see how many different treatment plans he might get.
Before the survey, the author was armed with exams and plans from his own dentist, as well as three others who participated in the investigation. All determined that only one tooth needed a crown. Of the 50 treatment plans he received, plans ranged from three dentists who felt he needed no treatment, to one recommendation for 21 crowns and six veneers at a cost of nearly $30,000.
Like it or not, the article clearly left the impression that some dentists were planning excessive care and could not be trusted. In all fairness, depending on the amount of work a patient needs, any dentist could probably come up with three or four different approaches to treatment. Apart from need, there is always a matter of preferences and personal circumstances. What a patient wants or can afford is usually factored into the treatment, as well as what he needs. This is determined through simple communication. By way of analogy: you may need a roof over your head, but when you ask the contractor or architect to design your house, you can tell him whether you want a simple log cabin or something more like the Taj Mahal. Right? But, given one scenario versus the other, estimates are likely to be very different.
Here at ToothWiz, we still believe that most dentists want to provide what is best for their patients. You should never hesitate to communicate any concerns you have when speaking to your dentist. Tell him what you need and want. Chances are excellent he will do the right thing.