The Atlantic’s May 2019 issue includes an article by Ferris Jabr entitled “The Truth About Dentistry“. It highlights the dearth of evidence-based studies and strong procedural controls in the profession. The author claims that the prevalence of private practices is one reason for this. I think some specialties are more rigorous then others, but I agree with the author’s thesis. It may be that a benefit of so-called Dental Service Organizations is to enforce compliance with best practices. Technological advances might help too!
The article details the malpractice of one dentist, prone to over-treating patients as well as billing for “phantom” treatments. There will always be bad apples, but I would agree that for some practices, the economics of the dental office drives procedure choice rather than the patient’s best interests.
Patients are also consumers. Especially in dentistry, where paying out-of-pocket is common, these consumers — especially younger ones — will be choosing less-invasive and less-costly procedures. What tools do dentists need to improve patient outcomes and maintain a healthy practice? Tell me about it in the comments!