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Letters: Over diagnosis

January 06, 2014

I read with great interest the My View by Dr. Camm in the Oct. 21 issue of ADA News. His comments add to the growing number of examples that over diagnosis is becoming an epidemic.

Discuss the issue with any specialist and many general practitioners off the record and you will hear example after example of over diagnosis and over treatment. Multiple class fives on healthy teeth, occlusals on all the posterior molars in otherwise healthy mouths. Multiple crowns on patients with great insurance. A buildup under every crown. All surgical extractions. The list goes on and on.

I especially love the patients that come in for second opinions after the previous dentist found multiple thousands of dollars in necessary treatment where nothing had been found six months earlier. And, when we look, there is nothing to diagnose.

We must continue to keep this problem in front of the profession. We must let every dentist know that he or she is being judged by his peers on a daily basis. We need to develop a better relationship with the dental insurance companies who are punishing all of us in order to curtail the excesses of a known few whom they can't touch because the dental associations "don't want an insurance company to get between the patient and the doctor." They know who the big abusers are.

If we could work together, we might be able to take the heat off the ethical members of the profession and, as we should as professionals, clean up our own act before our trusting patients say, "Enough!"

William van Dyk, D.D.S.
San Pablo, Calif.