2 Investigators: Dentists May Be Drilling For Your Cash

Send Your Tips To Dave Savini

CHICAGO (CBS) — A tough economy is being blamed for an upswing in dentists telling patients they need work that really may not be necessary.  

2 Investigator Dave Savini received numerous tips about the alleged practice.

One of them, Paul Kaufmann, says a visit to a new dentist who was offering a good discount for a cleaning, X-rays and whitening nearly cost him a lot of money and pain.

“I think the goal was to sell more than what you went there for,” Kaufmann says.

He went to Dental Works in Vernon Hills and saw Dr. Alin Alkass.  Kaufmann says Dr. Alkass told him he had a gum infection and needed 15 cavities filled, which would cost $2,800. 

Kaufmann says he was in disbelief because he did not have pain or any problems with his teeth. So, he went for a second opinion. That dentist gave him a clean bill of health – no cavities – says Kaufmann.

Experts like Dr. Lou Graham, who has a practice and teaches ethics, cautions that dentistry is not black and white.

“X-rays are very subjective and dentistry is very subjective,” he says.

He also says dentists can have different opinions, so patients need to be careful of dentists who may be trying to drill for cash, which he says is a  growing trend.

“The question is, why all of a sudden does that patient need all this work done?” Graham says.

He adds that tough economic times have meant more problems with dentists doing procedures that are not needed. Some can actually damage your teeth.

“The moment a dentist lifts up a drill,” says Graham, “that means that tooth is traumatized for life.”

Graham says treating a tooth that does not need treatment will take away critical enamel and can cause years of trouble and ongoing expensive repairs. Implants and cosmetic procedures are the areas that can be most abused and cause the most damage to otherwise healthy teeth.

“I’m not going to deny that the money starts to go up in more specialty procedures,” Graham says.

Jean O’Sullivan said she needed quite a bit of specialty procedures.  She says she went to Dr. Paul Petrungaro and was told she had cysts and needed expensive bridges and crowns, then was offered a deal. Pay up front for a discount.

She says she gave the dentist cash, then regretted doing so after a second dentist told her some of the expensive work was unnecessary.

“I think there is so much money to be made in dentistry, that I think it brings out the greed,” O’Sullivan says.

A statement for Dr. Petrungaro says O’Sullivan met with other dentists and agreed with Petrungaro’s treatment plan. The statement also says the Illinois board reviewing this matter sided with the dentist.  O’Sullivan says that complaint is still being reviewed.

“It seems like their interest is not in doing dental work, it’s in taking as much money as they can from you,” Kaufmann, the dental patient who balked at extensive work.

A statement from Dental Works says patient feedback is of utmost importance  and that they have an unwavering commitment to excellence.

Dr. Graham says red flags that should send you for a second opinion include being told you need a lot of work or recent work needs to be re-done.

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More from 2 Investigators
  • anyomous

    My dentist called me to tell me it was time for me to come in – told him I had no job and no insurance – then he told me to call him back when I got w job.

    • anonymous

      Obviously your dentist was under the impression you were not going to be able to pay for the services rendered. Do you expect him to provide you the dentistry you need for free? Do you also go to the store and expect the same thing? Why should your dentist finance your dental care?


      He called you and said you needed work done? He’s just trying to drum up business by telling you he cares and you need dental work he can provide. He’s obviously not “your” dentist…so many dentists are happy to set up a payment structure to get you in… period.

  • Amanda Walsh

    This sounds like the dentist that was in the south town I think it was the dentist filled a women’s cavity than he took it back out and thought that she didn’t pay for it when she did so she want to Christ Hospital when she got home because of the pain I belive that he was sued and he lost his license to. I used to go to him but I stopped going to him as I thought that he was allways weird.


      Was he a Probationer Dentist?

  • lateesha

    You should investigate Dr. Petrungaro since i have heard a lot of stories from people.


      What did you hear?



  • Russ fitton

    The most important thing to find in a dentist is someone you feel comfortable with and that you can trust. Just like an auto mechanic,accountant,doctor or anyone else that you need to rely on to give you advice in an area that you don’t have much knowledge about. I’m a dentist and when I have a patient who is moving to an area where I don’t know anyone that I can refer them to is to research online. Find someone who is busy. Then more than likely you will get only the work that needs to be done instead of the work he needs to do! If you don’t feel comfortable with a proposed treatment plan get a second opinion but DON’T show the 2nd dentist the treatment plan because you might not get a fair 2nd opinion. After he gives you an opinion you still might not be comfortable so get a 3rd opinion. After 3 opinions you should have a pretty good idea of what’s going on in your mouth.


      You sound like an ethical dentist Russ, that’s great. My dentist lied to me for over a decade and I trusted his convincing suggestions…he was a Probationer Dentist. Neither the Dental Board nor he ever told me he was on probation for harming several others. Why don’t more exemplary dentists make it easy for the consumer of dental services know the difference between a Probationer Dentist and an exemplary dentist?

  • Lyndia

    Please, I use to go to a dentst in Oak Park, Illinois. Th dentist had been telling me that I had gum disease. I should have know something because she use to tell me this every time I went to her. Well, I went to another dentist at the urging of a friend and I found out that my teeth were fine.
    That was seven years ago. People ALWAYS SEEK ANOTHER OPINION. This use to be true for medical doctors but it now applies to dentists.


      I agree Lyndia…but find out if your dentist is a Probationer Dentist. The Dental Board does not inform consumers/patients at the place of treatment if the dentist is on probation for harming other patients, fraudulent billing or even being in a Diversion Program for drug/alcohol addiction. Word of mouth is great but even I encouraged my friends to see my dentist – I never knew he was a Probationer Dentist because we’re never informed at the place of treatment. I’m irreparably damaged today and on surgery 5…the dentist has no smear of the irreparable harm he did to me on his record.

  • Chicago Dentist

    Dr. Graham should exercise more discretion when making statements referring to the use of a dental drill. The public’s perception of a “tooth traumatized for life every time a dentist picks up a drill” gives no credit to the value our profession provides day in and day out. This comment was reckless as a doctor and misleading to the public. Dentists who use public platforms to denigrate the profession do not add to public awareness and value, but serve only to undermine the integrity that so many competent and ethical dental professionals have strived to achieve. This was self serving and arrogant on Dr. Graham’s part. Sensationalistic journalism is what this story was about. The only OBVIOUS information worthy of learning here is that a 2nd opinion is always a useful option in helping you to become an informed advocate for your own dental needs.

    • Tina Gomes

      “Tooth traumatized for life every time a dentist picks up a drill” is an accurate description of the result from drilling on natural teeth. The profession deserves credit for providing valuable service but when a Probationer Dentist repeats negligent conduct to unsuspecting patients no matter how how many good dentists provide valuable service, the negligent conduct that causes damage done to a tooth from drilling is irreversible. So many competent dentists are well intended and valuable but don’t demand that the Dental Boards educate the consumer of dental services at the place of treatment what a Probationer Dentist is and what an Exemplary dentist is.

    • Paige M.

      I agree with Chicago Dentist. Shame on you Dr. Graham. Dave Savini — please do a story on the many dentists that provide the highest standard of care to their patients. Please do a story on the many dentists who travel to third world countries every year (at their expense) and provide dental care to villagers. These are dentists you can trust have your best interests in their hearts.

      • TINA GOMES

        Thank you Dr. Graham and Dave Savini…while there are good dentists out there the fact remains in just one appointment permanent and irreversible damage is possible. I know because I stayed with this dentist – a Probationer Dentist- who was also advertised as a top dentist and I will suffer for life with no chance for implants. He’s successful. He “lost” my dental records and now there is no resolve. I paid dearly and 10’s of thousands of dollars only to learn he repeated gross negligent patterns harming several other patients there was no notice of.

  • concerned patient

    I disagree with Chicago Dentist, because there are many that need to be made aware of other peoples greed whom we have bestowed to trust. We trust and put our health in their hands only to find that some have damaged it further. Enamel is very important and I agree with the author exactly they way he put it. Thanks for this great and informative article. PS. How do we know that the dentist drilling on my numb mouth is not drilling parts of another tooth only to get me back in there for another job??

    • Tina Gomes

      Profit has become the paramount concern of too many dentists and the Dental Boards that collect probation monitoring fees from PROBATIONER DENTISTS…as long as they’re practicing on probation they collectively make a profit while the public is uninformed about the harmful patterns and increased risk and likelihood of repeated gross negligent conduct repeating. So many competent dentists are well intended and valuable but don’t demand that the Dental Boards educate the consumer of dental services at the place of treatment what a Probationer Dentist is and what an Exemplary dentist is. A dentist with an established history of repeated gross negligent conduct repeats harmful patterns at the place of treatment and why consumers deserve to be notified at the place of treatment before any drilling or treatment begins.

    • Chicago Dentist

      Do you really need to be made aware that in ALL areas of life there are people, including doctors, lawyers, tradesmen, consultants, beauty consultants, etc., who might not always have your best interests at heart. It can happen anywhere. If you are a doomsday person, you WOULD think that ALL healthcare professionals provide iatrogenic care. How do you know what happens in any surgery when you are asleep? How do you know a lawyer/judge is truly representing you and aware of all the laws applicable to your case? How do you know if a tradesmen or mechanic is ever doing the right job if you do not have knowledge in that field? How do you know that beauty cream is really going to get rid of wrinkles? You don’t. That is what second opinions are designed to do. They educate the patient and help one to discern whether they are willing to trust the person they are going to have services rendered by. Enamel is important, but to suggest that every time a drill is used, some type of iatrogenic treatment is being performed does not serve anyone well, especially patients in need of dental services. If you want something informative regarding a dentist, check with the Department of Professional Regulation or the American Dental Association, not a local news cast.

      • Chicago Dentist

        M.L.-Mishaps in the PRACTICE of dentistry occur in every office of course! There is a perceivable difference between being greedy as this “investigation” (which cites no research by the way) and a treatment failure. I did not write off the patient’s experiences as you stated but only the comments of the irresponsible doctor and journalist! Lets be clear about who is dancing around the issue here.

      • jrjago

        To Chicago Dentist: Certainly there are many good and ethical dentist in Chicagoland, but you’ve got to be kidding about getting any good consumer information regarding individual dentists from the Dept of Professional Regulation or the American Dental Association. I suspect the only time you would get a bad comment from them would be if the dentist killed a patient….and, maybe, not even then if the lawyers could find some way of blaming it on the patient, e.g. the patient didn’t disclose this or that.

      • M.L.

        Journalist Dave Savini’s work is extremely thorough and he is NOT just some LOCAL news cast. By you discounting this investigation, it shows just how possibly you defend those in your community. Although I agree with people checking-out the IL Dept. of Professional Regulation or ADA as part of their options, UNFORTUNATELY it is TOO LATE once the damage has been done! Don’t dance around the issue, as I’m sure you as a “Chicago Dentist” have had mishaps in your practice, but just have NOT BEEN CAUGHT YET. Since we are all human, I expect that even you make mistakes and should not be so smug and write-off peoples’ terrible experiences with your peers (and that includes you too).

      • Chicago Dentist

        Jrjago-The type of information you will find at the Dept. Of Prof. Regulation is related to licensure and whether the dentist is in good standing. Membership in the ADA and other affiliations gives you insight as well. That should tell you something! If you want “good” information try getting personal referrals and recomendations from people who respect the dentists they go to-It’s certainly a more responsible way to find a quality provider -Don’t think you’re going to get that from a website or advertisement. Look for dentists that have gone to LVI or Pankey to further their expetise and clinical skills and for God’s sake-use the resources available to you to make INFORMED decisions when choosing a dentist. Advanced certificates in prostodontics will assure you that crowns and fillings are placed, fitted and contoured properly because that dentist chose to endure advanced training to be able to better serve their patients.

      • TINA GOMES

        Consumers of dental services need to hear personal experiences as long as the ADA, Department of Professional Regulation and Dental Boards refuse to adequately inform the public at the place of treatment a Probationer Dentist is performing irreversible procedures at….period. We have one set of teeth in the hands of a dentist aggressively advertising to compete with other dentists. Your harsh words and lack of consideration for the fear patients are expressing is indicative you disregard this truth Chicago Dentist. What is your real name?

      • jrjago

        @Chicago Dentist. Right on Tina! It is up to ethical and conscientious dentist to police their industry. How many of you have demanded the ADA or the state board do more to protect the consumer from bad dentists? Covering up and ignoring malfeasance is all too common for most, if not all, of our professions. How can I trust YOU, Chicago Dentist, if you are not willing to stand up for me?

  • Raymond Prudente


    I filed three medical records requests and my wife issued two checks for payment to secure my remaining records: Treatment Plan, Diagnosis, Prognosis and Billing Claim. However, my treating dentist (DR. KALEE A. BUGMAN) and (DR. NASRIN S. AZIMZADEH) owner of Stone Dental Group in Chicago failed to release the those records.

    Subsequently, I filed disciplinary and Health Care Fraud complaints with the Illinois Department of professional Regulation and Office of the Attorney General with respect to the following allegations: ILLEGAL BILLING CLAIM, ABANDONMENT, FAILURE TO REFER, MISREPRESENTATION, FALSIFICATION AND WITHHOLDING OF PATIENT MEDICAL RECORDS. But the above government agencies closed my case absent an impartial investigation and deprived me of an opportunity to present my medical information vital to the case. RE: (Case# 2009-02201, 2009-00057, ILO7-01262 and 20030487). (Case# 2008-HEALC-00017798).

    After the initial disciplinary complaints my family received two death threats and was assaulted by two unidentified male suspects in front of my unit and secured a police incident report. I received the two sets of original diagnostic x-rays two years after the dental procedure and obtained my Billing Claim records form Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois after months of waiting. When my wife a registered nurse, compared the two pages of medical records initially released by the clinic with respect to billing claim persuasive, false, overcharged and the absence of the diagnostic film showed that the root canal was incomplete and improperly done. Initially, my wife also issued two personal checks (full -advanced payment) payable to Stone Dental clinic.

    What is disturbing is that, on October 30, 2006, my treating dentist certified under oath to release my remaining records but did not materialized.
    Atty. Thomas (Dr. Bugman’s Atty.): I’ll tell you what the records consist of. there are two handwritten pages of progress notes. There is a prognosis and treatment plan form. there’s a copy of Prudente’s Blue Cross– a copy of bills submitted to the insurance company.
    That’s the file in its entirety, and we will make of everything and send it to them.
    (Signed by: Denise M. Mills, C.S.R. No. 84-4450, Notary Public, Cook County)

    Presently, The Office for Civil Rights, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Chicago Regional Office is investigating the matter. The practice of dentistry in the state of Illinois is as a matter of public policy and dentist is mandated to release patient’s records as requested. I hope and pray that justice and fairness will be attained.


      My experience is similar…I pray for you to find resolve, proper restitution and rightful retribution for the continued damages you suffer since trying to resolve your case. It appears you have characters trying to impede your rights so they can cover up their “wrongs”…the truth always prevails. The unnecessary human suffering is also being caused by the agencies charged with a duty to provide you with a resolve. Unfortunately, they collect fees for the length of the investigation. I hope it won’t be too long before you can move on from this horrible experience.

  • Starbuck Severin Avon

    Oh, don’t I know dentists are greedy. I’m looking for another one because a) the one I currently go to presented me with a laundry list of work that needed to be done and b) of course, everything needed to be paid for up front and *then* would be submitted to my insurance company. That’s bull, so I’m looking for someone else. That’s not easy, because a lot of dentists are charging up front and not working out payment plans these days.

    • Dental Staff

      Why do you expect the dentist to finance your dental work? The dentists only obligation is to provide you with a diagnosis and recommend treatment. The dentist is not contracted with your insurance company. That is YOUR EMPLOYEE BENEFIT. Why shouldn’t a doctor get paid either before or at the time of service? It’s not like the office is going to disappear like a patient can without providing the care that was paid for. Our gas, electric and mortgage companies expect to get paid on time every month, why shouldn’t a doctor? Unfortunately, having worked in a dental office, I have seen rampant abuse of dentists by their patients. These doctors sacrifice years to gain and maintain the education necessary to provide quality dental care. The dentists often know the sequela of events that can occur if treatment is not rendered. Often, they provide the necessary treatment and end up NOT getting paid because patients have a misconceived notion that if the insurance didn’t cover it, either the work was not necessary or the dentist charges too much. Patients deflect their responsibility for their own dental care onto the dentist. Patients do not understand that their insurance carriers are the ones interested in being paid heavy premiums only to turn around and delay paying claims. That is how they remain profitable. The reason dentists request payment either before or at the time of service is because IT KEEPS DENTAL COSTS DOWN! The overhead expenses involved in tracking and billing patients DRIVES COSTS UP! As an employee, how can I get paid by my doctor if everyone thinks they can pay down the road? Insurance is a benefit of the PATIENT, not the doctor. Most often, our office has to wait weeks to be paid by the company, yet you, the patient, have enjoyed the valuable services of the entire dental team. Also, do you have any idea how expensive dental materials and disposable infection control items are? Dental offices face cash flow problems and patients think that they shouldn’t have to pay at the time of service? No wonder our country has a multi-trillion dollar debt! A great patient is one who accepts responsibility for their own dental care by scheduling regular check ups twice a year, does not delay in committing to necessary treatment thereby preventing advancement of the condition and the costs associated with it, and who accepts and owns the financial responsibility for their own dental care, whether they have insurance or not!

      • TINA GOMES

        Some dentists do a financial plan for patients and why consumers even think to look for dentists that set up a payment plan…patients are learning about this type of opportunity from dentists.FYI, I didn’t have a “cash flow” problem until I invested in the suggested treatment plan that destroyed my oral health. The dentist was unethical and on probation for harming several patients with the same treatment plan he convinced me to invest in but failed to inform me of his actual probationer status and harmful pattern known to the dental board. I’m suffering greatly as a result and no matter how expensive dental materials and overhead is for the dentist, I’m on surgery 5 with a suggestion to remove hip bones to replace the last bone grafting surgery that was meant to replace all the bone and teeth that are now gone due to grossly negligent conduct. This dentist deflected his responsibility by “losing” my dental records when I filed a lawsuit and for the rest of my life I get to deal with the overhead of multiples of surgery. There are exemplary dentists and Probationer Dentists…the public is not informed of the difference and why they are reaching out in discussion here…the fear of going to the dentist is understandable to most people because of the truth that is communicated in personal experiences. No amount of money is going to replace my losses or the suffering I deal with. Try to hear a patient’s and consumer’s concerns before you list your costs or overhead as a big burden.

  • Nys Cof

    And these are the people journalists trust about water fluoridation?
    Dentists themselves on the back for promoting fluoridation even though it will put them out of business. Yeah right?

    People need to take back their water supply from this greedy special interest group.

  • Paige M.

    Almost all disease does not hurt until in later stages. A cavity is bacteria eating away at your tooth (disease). It usually won’t hurt until the disease is in the root of your tooth (root canal) and it will then need a much more expensive procedure than a simple filling.

    If teeth and the mouth were considered a part of our body and covered by medical insurance instead of the inadequate dental insurance, the issue of treatment would be a moot point. Medical insurance would pay for any treatment after your medical deductible is met. Unfortunately, many of us have dental benefits totaling $1000 annually. This maximum has not changed since 1964. Read the story below to understand how woefully inadequate dental insurance benefits are today. I think Dave Savini should do a story on the difference between medical and dental benefits.

    Ford Motor Company introduced the Mustang in April 1964. At about the same time dental insurance began to be a common benefit offered to employees by companies around the U.S. In 1964, the Mustang cost about $2500. Dental insurance benefits at that time averaged about $1000 per year.

    Today the Ford Mustang retails around $25,000 (fully-loaded can be up to $51,000). Dental insurance benefits today remain at about $1000 per year.

    Back in 1964 a crown cost approximately $90. Today a crown can cost $900 or more. In 1964 a patient could have most of his mouth restored utilizing his insurance benefits. Today your benefits will cover about one crown.
    Dental insurance benefits today, if they had increased with inflation, would be about $10,000.

    The reality, though, is most of us have $1000 in dental benefits.
    Today’s dental coverage is not meant to restore your mouth to ideal oral health. Today’s dental coverage is meant to maintain your oral health after you have completed any necessary restorations.


      The reality is health is being flagrantly disregarded to make the priority of profit the paramount variable when a person walks in the dental clinic needed care. Oral health care is necessary for anyone to be at their best to go to work and make the money to invest in a dentist’s services…the mouth won’t ever be separate from the body no matter what legal benefit there is for the industry. The mouth is the most integral part of the anatomy to sustain life. Teeth are not manufactured and our natural teeth need less drilling. A crown is not a tooth but simply a dental device that will need to be replaced…just like a car.

  • Carmella

    Insurance are being charged so much for unnecessary dental work. My daughters teeth are ruined because the dentist told us to fix all her teeth and then destroy the enamel and then she will eventually have tooth ache all the time and we will have to go to the doctor all over again paying him thousands and thousands of dollars for work that did not need at all.
    Can someone check on this dentists that are ripping off people all over the place?

    • Dave

      If an insurance company is being charged for unnecessary work it’s their own fault. My dentist as of 3 years ago has to send in x ray proof of major work to be done before the insurance company will approve payment. It’s more likely the people without insurance are the ones getting hosed.

  • Dave

    When I moved to a new area, the first dentist I went to told me I needed all 4 of my wisdom teeth extracted as they were becoming impacted. He also said my wife needed 6 crowns. We went to another dentist. My wife needed 2 crowns. I only had 2 wisdom teeth to begin with (unerupted). I could just see him making 2 extra small cuts, stitching them up and charging me for 4 extractions. BTW, that was 35 years ago and I never had anything done to the 2 wisdom teeth I have. There are crooks in every profession.

    • Tina Gomes

      Thank you for sharing this valuable information Dave…less is best and more crowns only lead to more implants – all dental devices necessary after you drill away your natural teeth.

  • Chicago Dental Society

    This segment was sensationalistic. Mr. Savini used the experiences of two patients (and zero supporting research) to condemn an entire profession that really is dedicated to improving people’s health. The only worthwhile takeaway message is that patients should seek a second opinion about treatment if they have concerns.

    We encourage patients to find a dentist they are comfortable with and establish a trusting relationship. There are many personalities in the dental profession—patients should seek one that is match for their needs. A strong dentist-patient relationship is vital to maintaining good oral health.


      I established what I thought was a great relationship with my dentist. Unfortunately I didn’t know he was a PROBATIONER DENTIST because he failed to inform me. He convinced me to do work I didn’t need that he was being punished for after repeating gross negligent conduct to several other patients in the same manner. I’m suffering greatly today without the chance of even getting implants. The journey to file a lawsuit and deal with those antics with the Dental Board has been pure hell.

  • Tont

    Can’t they be locked away? Isn’t that theft?

  • dr. Steve

    I think it is very sad tio see so many people unhappy with their dental treatment…regrettably I think many people dont understand the subjective nature of trreatment decision…I have some patients that have had small dental caries that dont appear to have grown over ten years…so am I guilty of under treatment ? I dont thinkit over treatment if they see a colleague who says they need a filling because they don’t know the history this patients slow or no progress of decay. Most of my fellow dentist care dearly for their patients and want only the best …but we are human and so are our patients…complete with a lack of perfection.

    • Tina Gomes

      Thank you for sharing Dr. Steve…you seem like an honest dentist. You unfortunately are being compared equally to Probationer Dentists who are still licensing to practice even though they have an established history of repeating gross negligent conduct. Would you educate your patients what a Probationer Dentist is in your office? The punishable conduct that a Probationer Dentist has established in their career has provided exorbitant probation monitoring fees for the Dental Board licensing them and why established harmful patterns are harming consumers of dental services. Patients are not informed at the place of treatment with the facts of a Probationer dentist’s actual harmful pattern so you’re naturally and unfairly getting compared equally to Probationer Dentists.

  • Bella

    I have been waiting for a story like this to come up, i am one that has been scammed and still paying for it out of my pocket and physically. Two years ago I went to a random, last minute dentist because i was going out of town for 3 weeks and my regular dentist couldn’t fit me in in time and was suffering from tooth pain. I went in and she said I needed and emergency root canal.I went along with it because i was in such pain. After my trip I went back to the same dientist where they put on a crown and check the rest of my teeth. Then she said I needed 3 more root canals with crown and they should be fiixed right away. That is when I got a second opinion and they said absolutely not.
    Fast Forward 8 months later I start to experiance pains from the root canal tooth. Went in to my my regular dentist and she notices that is is infected and prescrib some antibiobitcs…..fast forward a few months later and the infection is not cleared up so I am referred to a root canal specialist. There she notices that the orginal tooth is fractured, infected and SOME OF MY ROOTS ARE STILL INTACT!
    This has now resulted in getting my tooth pulled and had to get a sinus lift, bone graft and an implant in the last couple of months. And to make matters worse the surgery caused and infection and have been dealing with multiple prescrptions to cure it so I don’t have to have another surgery.
    II hate that there are people out there you will scam you out of mondy ($10000) and cause you physical pain :(

    • Tina Gomes

      So sorry to hear about your suffering Bella…my experience is so similar to yours. I’m on surgery 5 still trying to find ways to improve the permanent damage, losses and dysfunction – I can’t even get one implant now. I think our experience is similar also because the damage wasn’t easily recognizable and when the dentist convinced me to stay with him because he knew my needs and mouth better than any other professional I stayed…I’ll suffer for life with the results I invested 10’s of thousands for this shoddy dental work. I was never informed my former dentist was on probation and that he didn’t have insurance. He also “lost” my dental records…there is a long list of misconduct since I filed a complaint. Luckily I have media attention now and soon everyone will recognize what a Probationer Dentist is and actually be able to choose because they can finally differentiate an exemplary dentist from a Probationer Dentist.

  • M.L.

    Thanks to Dave for exposing crooked dentists in the Chicagoland area. I TOTALLY AGREE with this story and think this problem is My former dentist in Barrington, Illinois, Daniel W. Salvatore, D.D.S., told me I had a cavity. Next thing I knew he drilled my tooth down to a nub more than 1/2 its normal size then put a filling in it too. I addressed this concern with him. I recall he did explain to me he had this fascination with smoothing out rocks when he was a kid, which is one of the reasons why he decided to become a dentist (I did not think he would transfer is rock hobby skills onto MY tooth though). Yes, people should beware of iffy dentists. If I had to do it over again, I would have found another dentist before he worked on my teeth.

  • Buyer's Remorse

    This news story is very accurate and very true! Dentist’s have become “Used” Car Sales people as well as their Hygienists. I didn’t realize it until I began working in sales and saw that the Dentist that ruined my perfect mouth used sales tactics on me. This is a very true reality that people are experiencing.

    The first Dentist I went to told me I had a small crack in my metal filling that I got when I was a child. He was trying to convince me to change all my metal fillings into gold fillings. I felt like he was trying to scam me especially because his office was in a Sears store. Then 2 years later I finally had a job with dental benefits and I was moving and going to loose my dental insurance so I wanted to get my teeth cleaned before I lost my benefits again.

    I went to a Dentist that a co-worker recommended because she was also working there part time. The office was huge with lots of patients and a few Dentist’s were partnering together. Supposedly, the Dentist I saw was moving soon and branching off on his own.

    The Dentist I saw also said I had a crack in my filling. The Dental Hygienist was the one who really created the “sales” urgency and made me think I had to get a crown. Then the Dentist said I should change some other metal fillings to a new white enamel filling. They started throwing words around like decaying, rotting, pain, permanent suffering, expensive, and costly damage could be done if I did not get a crown ASAP!

    I was then brought into a “finance” office and they were trying to get me to open a credit line up under their organization to pay for it because my insurance barely covered any of the cost. I had to pay $800 out of pocket. They made me think I HAD to get this done or my tooth was going decay and rot. I was so stressed out trying to get the money to pay for it.

    I had no idea what a crown/cap entailed. I didn’t know there was going to be drilling, gluing, cement, burning, pieces of tooth flying everywhere. I was holding onto the Dentist’s chair for dear life. It was a scary, painful, and traumatic experience that I will never forget. Going to the Dentist never bothered me before in my life and after that experience I truly am afraid of going to the Dentist now. I now understand why people hate going to the Dentist. I am so mad to this day my tooth hurts.

    My tooth was drilled down to a small nub and then crowned/capped. It was the day before they were going to go on Christmas break for two weeks. I was the very last patient, late in the day and they did a rushed job. I was 25 years old and naive. I didn’t live near family and I didn’t have anyone to tell me to wait and get a second opinion.

    That was almost 6 years ago and my tooth still hurts to this day. I can’t eat on that side of my mouth. I have constant pain. I think of this tooth as a horrible, big, ugly tattoo that I got and I have to live with it for the rest of my life. I tried to forgive the tooth, forgive myself, and forgive the Dentist. I tried to get over the experience, to accept the experience, to move on, and get past it. But I can’t because I can’t ever get my real tooth back. I assume I will have to live with this pain for the rest of my life. I now haven’t been able to go to the Dentist for over 2 years because I have been dealing with unemployment and temporary work without health benefits.

    Dentists, Doctors, and Veterinarians have become the “Used” Car Sales people of today’s society, even Education has become a SALES business. They are money hungry and they do not have your best interests at heart. They want to make a fast buck, they want to get that sale, they are trying to meet a sales quota and you are only perceived as another sales prospective.

    Let’s face it, if your car breaks down, if your pet gets hurt, if your Grandparent is sick and you do not have the knowledge or educational experience in these matters then you can really be “taken for a ride”! You can be scammed and you will be scammed unless you find a reliable person in those job fields that you really trust. It’s sad but true and you can see the proof by all these comments and the people who have been scammed and are dealing with the financial, physical, and emotional aftermath years later.

    • Tina Gomes

      So sad and so true Buyer’s remorse…there is no way to grow new teeth and the crowns, implants and dentures are only dental devices that will need to be replaced like a used car. This story and all of our comments are the experiences all consumers of dental services need to be educated by because the Dental Boards and Probationer Dentists refuse to educate consumers accurately or adequately at the place of treatment with actual facts valuable and important to all consumers before they agree to irreversible procedures.

  • http://botd.wordpress.com/2011/05/07/top-posts-1832/ Top Posts — WordPress.com

    […] 2 Investigators: Dentists May Be Drilling For Your Cash CHICAGO (CBS) — A tough economy is being blamed for an upswing in dentists telling patients they need work that really […] […]

  • Chicago Dentist

    Buyer’s Remorse, perhaps you should be more remorseful that you waited 2 years before you commenced on treatment for your cracked filling! What do you think happens to a window with a crack in it? Do you think with expansion and contraction and temperature changes that water is never going to get inside? Of course not, just as with a cracked filling, bacteria will further penetrate and damage remaining tooth structure! Your dentist and hygienist were right to place URGENCY on the necessary treatment! Unfortunately your crown is not comfortable. It should be. Sometimes it requires only a minor adjustment, other times, it just needs to be redone. Neither is out of the scope of the PRACTICE of dentistry. Occasionally dental restorations need to be redone for one of a hundred reasons including your body’s own biological reactions. This does not make dentists greedy. In your case, both dentists and a hygienist saw the need for treatment and provided it-it was the timing of the treatment that failed you, not the ethics of the situation.

    • Buyer's Remorse

      Chicago Dentist, thank you for the dental advice. I actually couldn’t remember the exact time span between Dentist visits. I used to get my teeth cleaned religiously every 6 months. So, it may have been less than 2 years. My tooth did not hurt ever before I got the crown. When I brought the (before & after) ex-rays to my current Dentist he said that absolutely I did NOT need a crown at all. He said all I needed was a new filling. That is why I feel like I was tricked into getting something I did not need. O, and another thing I now cannot drink cold water on that side of my mouth. I have to cover cold liquids with my tongue so it does not touch that tooth. I have to drink warm/hot water. I NEVER had that problem before in my life.

      Basically, I have had a tremendous amount of pain and problems ever since I got this crown. Also, because of the crown it is now a food trap. Every time I floss that tooth always has food particles trapped. If I could go back in time I would have gotten a second opinion. I wish I would of walked right out of that Dentist office and kept walking and never looked back.

      As for redoing the crown…. I am terrified that the pain, time, and money will end up with the same results. I have had the crown adjusted many times and still it is sensitive and painful. By the way, this experience happened in a different state. You have some strong arguments and you sound like an ethical Dentist which is wonderful. But the reality is that dentistry has become a “meat market” profession. Unfortunately, the patients have become the commodities.

  • Concerned dentist

    As a dentist, I take exception to Dr. Graham’s comments in this sensationalistic expose. While there are undoubtedly some bad eggs in every field, we should not generalize to an entire profession. Although the recession has reduced the incomes of many of us in the dental profession, the dentists I personally know would never use that as an excuse to compromising their ethics. Unfortunately, people do not usually write about the good experiences they have had, but the bad ones are brought out after articles like these. Because this expose provided the experience of two people and not an actual study, the take-home message here can only to be to get a second opinion if you are uncomfortable with your diagnosis and treatment plan (as others here have said).


      Millions of dental patients don’t even know what a BAD DENTIST or a Probationer Dentist even is because the Dental board and dentist purposely do not inform patients before the dentist starts drilling. Why don’t good or exemplary dentists like yourself stand up for all exemplary dentists so consumers know the difference at the place of treatment?

  • Donna

    I work as a temporary dental hygienist and I have seen dentists tell patients that they have decay and that they need fillings and crowns when they don’t have decay. Its sickening.

    • Tina Gomes

      You honesty is so refreshing Donna…it’s your duty to report this dentist’s misconduct. Have you filed any reports?


    DO YOU KNOW IF YOUR DENTIST IS ON PROBATION? Millions of dental patients don’t even know what a Probationer Dentist is because the Dental board and dentist purposely do not inform patients before the dentist starts drilling. http://www.thepetitionsite.com/1/Pass-Tinas-Bill/

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