1800 Reasons Not To Let Groupon Choose Your Dentist

How did you choose your dentist?

When I lived in Mexico and Central America I had a terrific dentist and enjoyed the inexpensive dental care.  Now that I’m living in North America it is more of a luxury.  I’m living on a pretty tight budget, so I do my own hair and nails, dream about massage, and run instead of paying for a gym membership.  I make sure my daughter goes to a great pediatric dentist, but I ignored my own need for a cleaning for a long time.

Then I got an email from Groupon with a dentist deal

A cleaning, checkup, x-rays, custom whitening trays – for $24.99!  It was a no brainer.  I don’t actually regret buying it, it was a fantastic deal.  However, at the end of my checkup I was presented with a plan to replace several old fillings, fill cavities, have a wisdom tooth removed, and see a periodontist.  The estimate for the work I needed was $1800.00.  Then they tried to sell me an insurance plan, which is really more like a discount membership club, that would somewhat reduce the cost of the procedures I needed.

I was really torn because I was face to face with a dentist who seemed very sincere, and he was telling me that the cavity in my wisdom tooth looked deep, and there appeared to be substantial bone loss.  The alternative would be to try to fill the tooth, but it would likely end up hurting, and I’d need a root canal and maybe a crown which would be even more expensive.  He said, “If it was my tooth, I would have it extracted.”  This was kind of compelling. After all, he was trying to save me money, right?

I left and never went back.  But I stressed about it.  About my mouth full of cavities.  About my jawbone that was surely disintegrating under the wisdom tooth that was rotten to the core and would start hurting any day now.  About my breath which must surely be wretched with all that decay.

Fast forward 3 years and my wisdom tooth was bugging me.

My wisdom tooth was finally bugging me. A little. I think. Maybe. It may just have been sensitive to the amount of lime juice I was putting in my mojitos.  Anyway, I confessed to my parents that I hadn’t seen a dentist in 3 years and told them about the $1800 worth of work my mouth needed.  They immediately got me an appointment to see their dentist in Vancouver.

When I got there, I told the hygienist that I was nervous and why.  She had a peek in my mouth and said that the doctor would be in to confirm, but that there was no way that tooth needed to be pulled.  The cleaning took a while, because it had been so long, but she told me that my teeth and gums were in great shape.  The dentist poked around, and even probed the cavity, then reassured me that it only needed a filling, and it was no big deal.  They were both appalled that a dentist had suggested removing it, and glad that I had gone with my gut (and budget) and had a second opinion.  My tooth immediately stopped hurting.  LOL

I had a second appointment to have the cavity filled, and left the office with a plan to return for a cleaning in 6 months.  Now that I’ve moved home to BC, my daughter and I both go to this dentist regularly, and we’re really happy.

So, what I learned from this is that there are unscrupulous dentists out there.  Actually this was just reinforced, because this isn’t the first time I’ve had a dentist try to do unnecessary work.  A dentist who is trying to drum up business by offering discounted services on Groupon is very likely going to try to upsell once he/she has you in the chair.  So, by all means, take advantage of the cheap cleaning, and whitening, but don’t have blind faith in their diagnosis.

Updated July 2017

1800 Reasons Not To Let Groupon Choose Your Dentist

18 thoughts on “1800 Reasons Not To Let Groupon Choose Your Dentist”

  1. I have learned my lesson. I will stick with this dentist until he retires. He’s my age I think, so that should be a while, especially since he’s not gouging and doing unnecessary procedures.

  2. Thank you! I borrowed some of those smiles from my sister's facebook page! My niece and nephew, and my little Pooh.

    I have learned my lesson. I will stick with this dentist until he retires. He's my age I think, so that should be a while, especially since he's not gouging and doing unnecessary procedures.

  3. Thanks! I do too – now. I totally got sucked into Groupon before that. Now I check, check, doublecheck.

  4. That's great. I know that the good ones outnumber the bad ones. I've had some great dentists too. I move around a lot though and it's been hard to stay loyal to one when they are so far away. After this experience though, I'm going to stick with this awesome dentist in Vancouver.

  5. Thanks for sharing. This kind of scumbaggery seems rampant. I worry that we are programmed to trust people because of their degrees and diplomas.

  6. Love your title image!! Great smiles-looks like a real dentist ad. 🙂
    Yeah, you gotta watch out with dentists sometimes.Unfortunately, there are a lot out there that like to perform unnecessary procedures. Once i find good ones, i always stick with them no matter how far they are. I'm so glad you were able to finally find a good one!

  7. Wow, that's crazy! I always read the reviews before I buy anything off groupon–if it's not rated or has less than 4 stars, I don't bother! Thanks for linking up at the Social Media Mixer 🙂

  8. Nice Blog. My dentist goes out of his way to make sure that I am comfortable, know what is happening and what to expect. I value and trust his opinion about treatment options.

  9. Oh wow that is so shady! I'm so glad you avoided all that. $1800?! You know if they're doing a Groupon that they have to make their money some other way lol. I've been going to the same dentist for 16 years and so far so good. Hope your new one turns out to be a keeper!

  10. Something very similar happen to me.

    I was in Denver at the time, trying out a new dental place. It was called "Bright Now!" or something ridiculous like that.

    All I wanted was a cleaning. But after I got there and they did some sort of preliminary check-up, they refused to give me the cleaning. I needed tons of unnecessary "work" done first.

    They attempted to use all sorts of tricky psychology to up-sell me (e.g., Look at all these unflattering photos we just took of your teeth! Watch this pretty video on crowns! Here, if you don't trust this dentist, we'll have another come in and chat with you!). It was like talking to used car salesmen, except they were wearing white coats instead of cheesy suits.

    Then they tried offering me a line of credit — what??

    Such a waste of time. But the worst part was the "what if" stress that followed me around for a while. Because, yeah, who wants a mouth full of cavities?

    Turns out my teeth are fine — not perfect, but no where near as bad as the crazies at Scam Dental had claimed.

    So I absolutely second your suggestion that people not have blind faith in their dental diagnosis. (Or any diagnosis, really.) Second opinions are a very good thing.

  11. LOL! I had a sadistic dentist when I was a kid. Not as bad as Orin of course, and my mom will insist that I'm exaggerating anyway. Before I had my braces on he was cutting away gums that were covering too much of my teeth. He slipped with the scalpel and drive it up into my gums. Blood was pouring out and it hurt. I cried and he basically told me to suck it up. I wish I had those gums back now.

  12. I don't trust doctors either, LOL. A doctor at the Mayo Clinic misdiagnosed my heart condition! Doctors are human and can make mistakes. We should never feel bad about getting another opinion.

    I thought I was the only one who buried my head in the sand when it came to the dentist. I had early childhood trauma, and I regress to the age of 11 when I sit in the big chair.

  13. Thanks for sharing, so ridiculous when that happens – good to know there are way more good than bad dentists out there!!

  14. Every time I go to the dentist, I think of Steve Martin in Little Shop of Horrors.

    Glad to hear it worked out!

  15. Good to know! That really stinks because you know, the dentist if you DOCTOR. So you trust them. And you think that for sure they must be telling your the straight up truth about your teeth. Maybe not so much all the time. I haven't been to the dentist in years. I don't even know how long. Way longer than I want to admit. I'm scared to go because I'm afraid they'll tell me all the things the not so honest dentist told you. And nothing in my mouth hurts yet so. . . it can wait hehehe

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