I may have had enough…
After Covid hit, I never knew we had so many immunological experts all over the valley! They were usually online, even though you may have overheard them in the grocery store, pet store or walking in the park. We received almost constant notifications updating one another as to the virus numbers, specifics, and rules regarding the appropriate use of a mask. Debates over who was right and who was wrong were on every channel and streaming source available.
Dentistry is no different, we have trusted sources and fringe sources. We have good advice and sketchy advice. Where do we go to find the right information? While not all dentists agree on the same course of treatment for a particular patient, generally we follow established scientific criteria, based on years of experience, and we adjust treatment modalities with new information and changes to the profession. We love peer-reviewed, double-blind clinical trials. Technology absolutely helps, but does not replace a clinician’s guiding eye during treatment.
Social media, however, has a knack for misinformation. I think we’ve all seen an ad or two for do-it-yourself dentistry. Individual experiences become held as facts instead of anecdotal evidence. Companies promise unrealistic expectations, often without any consultation or exam, but don’t worry it’s really cheap so even if they mess up, you could pay again and it would only cost as much as seeing a normal provider. The biggest offender of this is at-home orthodontic treatment.
Maybe in a future article I can break down all the reasons why it’s not a good idea to move teeth without a thorough exam, or periodic check-ins during treatment. Suffice it to say that your health should be between you and your trusted, well-trained, licensed, provider. Which brings me to my least favorite question.
Does my insurance cover it?
First of all, it’s not insurance; it’s a benefit plan. Go ahead, check your card, let me know if it says “insurance,” and I’ll retract this statement next month. At best, it’s like a high-school baseball team fundraising card. Once you use that benefit, it’s over until you can buy another card next year. There are limits, pre-existing conditions, and waiting periods. No “insurance” has ever truly cared about their patients. Now we have “insurance” companies buying hospitals, how is that not the biggest conflict of interest in our solar system?
Second, they play a middle person in your personal health care. When a patient tells me they only want what their “insurance” provides, it’s like saying, I don’t really care what my provider has to say, I’ll let this other for-profit company dictate my health. Seriously? “I like other people to buy my car for me, test drive it, and develop a financing plan for me before I buy it,” said no one ever.
You should be in control of your healthcare. You and your provider should develop such a deep relationship of trust, that you feel safe to even disagree with the proposed plan and ask about other options. If you’re done dealing with “insurance” nightmares, and want to be in control again, make an appointment where you and your provider are the only ones dictating treatment.
Rant Over. – Dr. B