Warning Signs of a Bad Dentist and How to Find a Good Dentist?

So with the recent scandals in dentistry such as the BC rogue dentist providing unlicensed treatment to patients; I thought I put together a little guide to help you watch out for shady dentists as well as tips for finding a good dentist.

1. Do Your Homework and Make Sure the Dentist is Licensed to Practice.

This is one that people sometimes assume. We assume that the dentist is trained and licensed to practice. Even dentists from overseas that would like to help patients in Canada or the U.S., must complete training in the country they wish to practice in.

Standards of care in dentistry differ from country to country and I’ve heard that there are significant costs difference in some countries. One of my friend’s once told me her sister had her teeth extracted in another country for $5. I’m not saying that it was bad quality but $5 would hardly cover the costs of sterilizing the instruments, the supplies such as gauze and cotton rolls and not to mention the dentist’s time. I know if it were me and I had someone quote me $5 for a procedure that impacts my health and is very, very painful if done incorrectly without freezing; I would think twice.

So how can we ensure that the dentist we’re seeing is licensed. For Canadians, the Royal College of Dental Surgeons of Ontario or RCDSO has a dentist lookup feature on their website to ensure your dentist that you’re thinking about seeing is licensed.

For those looking for a new dentist, here’s the link:


So I’ve been pretty busy with the start of school, but I do have several more tips and pointers for those looking for a new dentist. So check back shortly and until then remember to brush and floss every day.


All About Dental Insurance and What You Might Not Know Your Dentist May Be Charging You For

Remember GI Joe where they’d always say:

“Knowing is Half the Battle”

Well there’s two things.

One: kids television shows back in the 90’s almost always had great advice that I still follow today.

Two: when it comes to going to the dentist and payments this is very true!

I’ve been through more than a handful of dentists in my short lifetime and have learned a LOT about insurance.

Insurance policies and benefits can get really tricky when dealing with dentists.

Some dentists are non-assignment and some are assignment.

Assignment Dental Offices

Essentially what this means is that some will take insurance payments on your behalf. This is otherwise known as assignment or assigning your dental health benefits that you’re covered for to the dentist.

Non-Assignment Dental Offices

The other is non-assignment. This means that you pay for your dental procedures on your visit and they will file the claim on your behalf and you’ll be reimbursed a few days later.

Now anyone can clearly see the benefits of assigning your insurance payments over to the dentist.

  1. Less money upfront and out of pocket, so you can essentially feel like you haven’t paid a dime.
  2. You don’t have to deal with the insurance companies as much.
  3. Everything’s pretty much taken care of

Why Assigning Your Dental Benefits Can Be Very Dangerous

I’ve always preferred to visit dentists with assignment payment policies in the past. That is until I recently discovered that not taking responsibility for the payments can really have some pretty large negative effects.

I discovered this recently when visiting my new dentist.

Explanation of Benefits

When visiting a dentist, at the end of your appointment the dental office is obligated to print you out an Explanation of Benefits.

What this is, is a sheet of paper detailing the procedures preformed and how much your insurance company will reimburse you for.

To my surprise my old dentists, even though they were obligated to, never provided this nor notified me that I should be receiving these statements.

The Problem with Assignment & Not Knowing Your Dental Benefits

So what’s the problem you ask? It turns out like in all professions, even medical professions, are managed and run by humans. Humans on occasion get greedy. When this happens they look for ways to exploit the system and make more money.
How they do this is by manipulating your insurance.

When an office doesn’t provide you with your insurance explanation of benefits, you trust them to be honest and only apply the procedures that were performed. You are not aware of what procedures they are telling the insurance company were performed.

When you encounter a greedy dental office that is unethical, not knowing what they are submitting allows the dental office to submit more procedures than were performed.

The problem arises when you go to another dental office and the office tells you that those procedures have already been performed. You know for a fact that it was never completed and you have to wait for your insurance renewal to have it covered.

In my case, I went for a complete examination with my new dentist and they told me you’ve already been billed recently for it even though all I had recently were cleanings with a hygienist and I never even saw the dentist for the complete examination.

How to Ensure You’re Receiving Your Dental Benefits

My recommendations would be:

        1. Always ask for your explanation of benefits.Doing so shows you all the items that were performed during your visit to the dentists. If you see a complete examination on there and never even saw the dentists, that is a red flag.
        2. Choose an Dentist with Non-Assignment Office Policies.Going to a non-assignment dental office eliminates the risk that the person in charge of your health has other priorities such as money in mind. I’ve recently discovered that non-assignment practices only have your health as their main objective. They aren’t focused on collecting money or other endeavors that a dental office shouldn’t have as a daily task. My current dentist recently let me know some treatments that she recommended taking care of before they grow into big issues. Amazing since I always felt pain in certain areas and my old dentists always would say it was nothing. I wonder if the lower insurance coverage for those treatments had anything to do with it.

So as fun as it can be to visit the dentist (joke), always remember there is a whole other financial side to it. Eliminate the risk that your dentists may only perform treatments covered by insurance and not required by taking responsibility over your insurance payments. Like I always say to my sisters before their visit to the dentist, if it’s easy today it could be painful tomorrow. Walking out of the dental office without paying can have nasty issues down the road as well.

Should I brush before or after meals?

When to brush is often overlooked and can be as crucial as brushing.

If you brush to quickly after a meal, you can actually damage your teeth.

Kind of anti-productive, right?

Tip: Wait 30 minutes before brushing

Should I brush before or after meals?.

Best Floss Dental Floss in 2013: 1st Contender – Philips Sonicare Airfloss

Sonicare Airfloss - Review

Sonicare Airfloss – Very Easy to Use, But How Clean Does it Get Your Teeth? First up: Airfloss by Phillips Soniccare I was very very very very excited when my dad brought home Airfloss a few months ago. Finally! I … Continue reading

Best Dental Flossing Products to Save You Money in 2013

If you’re looking for the best brand or type of dental floss to keep your gums healthy and your teeth clean, then you’ve come to the right place.

Over the years I’ve tried many different brands of dental floss and even kinds. Most recently my sister got me the an Air Flosser by Phillips which I’ll write about in this lens.

The overall goal of this lens, is to help you find the best type of floss to keep your teeth clean. I’ve always hated when my gums bled and trust me, fl

Dental Floss

Dental Floss (Photo credit: Bret Arnett)

ossing consistently is the best way to stop it!

This is an unbiased review of the various dental floss brands from Gum, Oral B/Crest Glide, Johnson and Johnson’s Reach and even floss types and alternatives like air floss, water piks, floss threaders and even proxabrush cleaners..

I’ve had friends make recommendations and will outline the best floss to clean their teeth and will outline the best floss type depending on how close

dental floss

dental floss (Photo credit: Rakka)

your teeth are, how frequent you like to floss, and even the most convenient type of floss for those of us who have had braces in the past and now have to wear a retaining wire.

Ultimately, flossing will definitely make a difference in keeping your teeth clean but that doesn’t mean you don’t have to still go to the dentist. It just means you’ll have a lot less bleeding during your appointments. I know since I’ve gotten into the habit of flossing daily my appointments go a lot quicker helping save a girl some cash for shoes and clothes LOL!

How We’ll Be Ranking The Best Floss!

So how will we be ranking the types of floss you ask?

After trying almost every brand and type of floss in the past I always thought I had found the best floss that kept my the cleanest and would recommend it to everyone.

Some of my friends and family didn’t agree with me and being the curious person that I am, I always like to put on my detectives hat and constantly ask “WHY???” until I solve the mystery!

It turns out that the type of teeth you have changes how much you like different brands or types of floss. After much sleuthing, I noticed something in common with those of my friends and family that disagreed with me.

Ready for it….

It all depends on how your close your teeth are!!!

My friends and family who all hated my choice all had really close teeth.

So how will we be ranking the types of floss?
We’ll be using 5 different rankings and here they are

Floss Ranking Criteria

1. Cost – because who wants to spend a fortune on floss or a flossing machine when you could be spending it on clothes or food!
2. Ease/Quickness – I must admit, flossing is not the most fun thing in the world to do. So a major decision that goes on in my mind when choosing a floss is how long will it take to clean my pearly whites.
3. Effectiveness of Cleaning – What’s the point of flossing if it doesn’t make your teeth nice and white.
4. Closeness of Your Teeth – This is a big one! I’ll add in a ranking depending on whether you have really close teeth or small gaps between. Some of us may have both so I’ll also let you know how best to deal with that.
5. Hard to Reach Areas – For those of us who struggle with flossing our “back teeth” better known as molars or who’ve had braces.
6. Taste – You know those times you floss and you taste bubble gum or a minty freshness, well we’ll be adding that to the ranking factor to.

I always thought I did a superb job flossing my teeth but at every dental appointment my dentist would say, “Vanessa, you’ve got to do a better job cleaning in the back.” I’d go home and do an extra good job cleaning the back and 3 months later return to the dentist and he’d say the samething! Like what gives man LOL!

It wasn’t until I changed to my new super cool dentist that she showed me what he meant by using her super cool inside-the-mouth camera and even a instrument to make sure I could touch, feel and see where I needed to do a better job. How cool of her!

On a more important note: flossing won’t take the place of going to the dentist and getting regular cleanings but it can certainly help save you some money and not to mention pain on the more expensive fixes like filling and root canals.

And another side note: for those of us in Hamilton, Ontario Canada…if you’re out there I’d definitely recommend doing your homework on your dentist. It wasn’t until I changed dentists that I realized how amazing my new dentist was. Less radiation, less pain, better cleanings and it wasn’t until I switched that I noticed my old dentist would over bill my insurance!!!! So if you’re in need of a dentist in Hamilton Ontario or even close by like some of my friends who needed a dentist in Burlington, I’d definitely recommend seeing my current dentist.