Dental Group Scams, Dentist Fraud, Rip Offs and Malpractice in California and What Consumers Can Do to Help Attorneys Protect Dental Consumers
By The Law Offices of R. Sebastian Gibson, California
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An Analysis of Dental Group Scams, Dentist Fraud, Rip Offs and Dental Malpractice in California and how a few bad apples in the Dental Profession are tarnishing ethical and caring dentists with the same toothbrush.
According to the Coalition Against Insurance Fraud, most dentists are honest and ethical dental practitioners who provide their patients with professional and caring treatment. We agree wholeheartedly. Most dentists would never consider being part of a scam, rip off or any type of fraud.. However, the Coalition Against Insurance Fraud, which has many insurance companies among its charter members states that “a small but disturbing number of dentists, however, are dishonest.” While it can be difficult to determine who is at fault in a specific dental office, the complaints made by certain dental patients in California paint a disturbing picture in some situations of fraudulent, negligent and unethical treatment.
Being primarily a plaintiff’s law firm (although one that has on occasion represented Canadian insurance companies - you shouldn’t really hold that against us since, after all, they were Canadian), we rarely take sides with insurance companies. However, when it comes to dentists involved in scams, rip-offs, over-charging and performing negligent dental treatment, we agree that something can and should be done to prevent these few bad apples from tarnishing the dental profession as a whole with the same toothbrush.
Scams by disreputable dentists include providing worthless or unnecessary treatment, over-charging for routine services such as teeth cleaning, inflating estimates for dental work in order to push dental plans that may or may not even be valid insurance plans, operating dental clinics without the proper precautions for safety and hygiene, and operating without sufficient or properly trained and suddenly rude inconsiderate staff as soon as their billing practices are questioned or advertised services are asked to be performed. And then there are the dentists who simply provide negligent dental treatment. We know that anyone can make a mistake. Our concern is with those dentists either participating in scams and defrauding their patients or those who on a regular basis commit malpractice.
If you’ve been the victim of a scam, rip off, fraud or a bait and switch by a California dentist or dental group, received negligent dental services, been the victim of dental malpractice, overcharging, false advertising, or have been threatened or harassed or defrauded in any way by a dentist, dental treatment coordinator, hygienist, or the dental equivalent of a high pressure used car or financing department salesman, call the Law Offices of R. Sebastian Gibson at (800) 589-3202 or e-mail us.
Unfortunately, a few bad groups of dentists participating in scams instead of good dentistry, who put the pain in peoples’ wallets instead of putting smiles on the faces of their patients, lead to complaints and word of mouth to avoid these dentists at all cost. At a time when economic conditions are nearly as bad as they were in 1929 or ‘39, dentists offering low cost teeth cleaning, X-rays and other routine services should be the norm. Instead, some dentists have chosen to inflate their prices, and prey on the unwary by using tactics such as the old bait and switch. Patients come into their offices for advertised services for an advertised dollar amount and are instead talked into much higher $ services when they are told they have a need for braces, extractions, deep cleaning, gum treatment, mouthwashes, expensive night guards, fillings, root canals, crowns, dental posts and retainers.
These rip off artists go on to provide worthless treatment to those who can least afford it. Their offices inflate their bills, and sometimes may even provide (or in the case of phantom treatment, fail to provide) treatment by unlicensed or improperly trained or licensed staff, who like Jekyll and Hyde suddenly turn into con artists and high pressure salesmen if not rude and pushy bullies when their estimates or bills are questioned and who go on to either refuse to provide the advertised services or who tell patients in pain and in tears to leave and never come back.
Patients expecting the usual good service offered by honest dentists instead find themselves the victims of fraud. They are sold fake dental plans, or told they need painful, dangerous and sometimes disfiguring surgery not covered by insurance plans. They are told by office staff members that they have gum disease if not poor gum health, that they need expensive mouth rinses and antibiotics, that they need cavities filled, fillings replaced by expensive dental posts, teeth extractions, deep cleaning and possibly gum treatment as well, and in order just to get the simple low cost service they came in for, they will need to wait hours if not return another day, at a cost of more time and money because the dental hygienist who should have been there for the appointment it took three weeks to schedule is not there after all.
Most dentists are honest and caring individuals who genuinely have the best interests of their patients at heart. They become friends with their patients and often treat them and their family members for life. It is therefore disappointing that those few dental groups who would put profits ahead of ethics would risk tarnishing the reputations of these honest dentists. If you’ve been the victim of a dental scam, rip off or fraud anywhere in California, call the Law Offices of R. Sebastian Gibson and let us know what you’ve been through.
Nothing in this article is meant to refer to any one particular dentist or dental group and any interpretation of this article as referring to any one dentist or dental corporation is an incorrect interpretation. If, however, you’ve had an unpleasant incident or a bad experience at the office of a dentist or dental group in California, or if you worked with or trained at a dental group which was designed to take advantage of its clients, we’d like to hear about what you experienced. If you have any documents that evidence what you went through, we’d be interested in seeing them. Please e-mail us and let us know what happened to you and which dentist or dental office attempted to con you or others into paying too much.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: R. Sebastian Gibson
Sebastian Gibson graduated cum laude at UCLA in 1972 and received law degrees in the U.S. and U.K., graduating with an LL.B. magna cum laude from University College, Cardiff in Wales and a J.D. from the University of San Diego School of Law.
Mr. Gibson began his legal career in San Diego before practicing for years in London, England. Today, he has offices in Rancho Mirage and Palm Desert, Newport Beach, and the firm’s Of Counsel office is in Carlsbad, San Diego.
Mr. Gibson’s firm practices law in a wide variety of areas of law including dental malpractice, dental fraud, scam and rip off protection, class actions, and personal injury throughout Southern California from San Diego, Orange County, Irvine, Anaheim, Los Angeles, Huntington Beach, La Jolla, Temecula, Buena Park, Riverside, Escondido, Costa Mesa, Laguna Beach, Santa Monica, Santa Barbara, Ventura, Oxnard, San Luis Obispo, Indian Wells, Fullerton, Orange, Palm Springs, Palm Desert, and Newport Beach to Carlsbad.
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Disclaimer: While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of this publication, it is not intended to provide legal advice as individual situations will differ and should be discussed with an expert and/or lawyer. For specific technical or legal advice on the information provided and related topics, please contact the author.