Dollars and Dentists: PBS special

PBS Frontline just released a documentary called “Dollars and Dentists” this week. The documentary investigates aspects of America’s broken dental care system. One area highlighted by the documentary was the rise of corporate owned dental offices. This types are offices are designed to create high profits for the owners (non-dentists) at the expense of poor patient care.

In the past it was easy to spot these types of dental offices because they were chain store that you knew, for example, Western Dental. Most people know what kind of service to expect from a place like this.  What is alarming is the rise of corporate owned dental offices that disguise themselves as private dental offices. A great example of this a company called Pacific Dental Services (PDS). They operate all of the US and have 16 locations in San Diego.

Each PDS office cleverly has a different name (usually named: “Location” Dental Group) so you don’t know what kind of office it is. They specialize in getting people in the door that have not been to the dentist in a while by offer very cheap cleanings. No one ever gets this cheap cleaning though, as you will be upsold to a deep cleaning that is not covered by your insurance and the upsell continues from there. Read the reviews on Yelp/Google before you go to any dentist!

I highly recommend you check out the PBS special (check your local listings). You can read more from their website. You should also check out this article that highlights one of the companies investigated in the documentary, Aspen Dental.

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