Quite possibly the worst dental experience I have ever had. River Rock had opened near my house and I thought it would be convenient to go to someone nearby. I made an appointment for an exam and cleaning since it had been a while. I was taken aback when the receptionist had "gingival irrigation" on the pre-authorization form (not covered by insurance), though I had yet to be examined. I asked about it and she said it was something the doctor liked to do, so they put it on there. Um. OK. After the hygienist took X-rays and photos the dentist came into the room and examined my teeth, calling out numbers to the hygienist. While sitting almost behind me, where I couldn't quite see his face even if I turned my head, he began to tell me that I had periodontal disease, some other issue that wasn't properly explained, and at least two cavities in need of filling and was recommending a deep cleaning, gingival irrigation (shocker!), filling two cavities, and some preventative application of composite along the gumline to protect my roots from damage. Oh, and they REFUSED to perform the cleaning for which I had made an appointment, nor did they ever disclose that it might not be done. when I asked the hygienist when my teeth were going to be cleaned she looked at me like a deer in headlights, then proceeded to tell me that she COULDN'T because the dentist said I needed the deep cleaning and that was the only thing they were going to do. She said she would check with her supervisor, then left me in the room for almost 15 minutes. When she came back she told me the same thing, and added that they are a practice focused on periodontal. I told her I was confused and thought they were a dental office, There was no further explanation.
Since I was not going to agree to $1500 worth of dental work without a second opinion, I got up and walked out to the front. The receptionist agreed that they could not clean my teeth - I asked why they did not inform people of that when they made an appointment. Again, no reply, just some bullshit about "well the doctor said you need a deep cleaning, so we can't clean your teeth." I said great, then I guess I will have to go somewhere else and pay to get my teeth cleaned. They told me they would be happy to email my x-rays to another dentist. I immediately made an appointment with the dentist my fiancee and his kids see for the next morning. They did send the x-rays, and the dentist said they weren't very good and wondered why you didn't do a panoramic X-ray. But I digress. The new diagnosis: most of the problems with my gums and roots are because I have had jaw issues my entire life (it was on my intake forms) and seem to grind and clench my teeth, which was evidenced by the wear patterns. There are some spots to keep an eye on, but no cavities currently in need of filling. There are a few teeth where the gums have receded to the point that applying composite to the gumline is necessary. I need a second cleaning next month. And I need a night guard - so I stop grinding my teeth and protect form further damage gum and root. Estimate was less than half. Hygienist said she didn't think a deep cleaning was necessary and would have probably taken less than half the time required as a result.
So why the disparity? My guess is that your hygienists work on commission and the goal of the practice is to bill as much as possible. Your staff's attitudes are evidence that the patient is less important than the billing. And the gingival irrigation is clearly a scam, since it seems to be recommended to everyone, even prior to examination.