I’ve been searching for a dentist that does good work, is honest and does not focus on how much money can be milked out of dental patients. A couple of years ago, I had the misfortune of going to a dentist (Dentist A) that drilled away at several teeth against my wishes and left my teeth in need of further dental care and my gums irritated. Consequently, I went to another dentist (Dentist B) who was highly recommended by several friends for follow-up treatment. After examining my teeth and gums and noting what Dentist A had done, Dentist B sent me to an endodontist. The endodontist examined my teeth and gums, took x-rays, ruled out the need for any root canals at that time, and recommended that corrective dental care on the teeth worked on by Dentist A be done one tooth at a time in order to prevent further irritation to my gums. Of course, I had to pay Dentist B and the endodontist for their services.

A couple of strangers sent me my Dentist A information that had been sent to them by mistake, information that included my Social Security number and credit card number. The couple had looked up my address and included their names and phone numbers in the mailing. I called them to thank them for being so honest and responsible but also let them know that I had not received their information. They had hoped that there had been a switch – they receiving mine and I receiving theirs. During our conversation, we learned that each of us had had unnecessary dental work done by Dentist A, work that caused oral discomfort and cost thousands of dollars.

I decided to send a complaint about Dentist A to the Attorney General’s office. After some investigation and Dentist A’s refusal to pay for corrective dental work, the Attorney General’s office recommended that I get a lawyer. Several lawyers told me that a statement from the follow-up dentist about malpractice by Dentist A and an estimate of what it will cost to correct work done by Dentist A would be needed in order to sue for the amount of money already spent and future costs for corrective dental work. So far, Dentist B has given me neither, which makes me think there is COMROBBERY (a play on the word comaraderie with com meaning “together”) – dental comrades being loyal to each other! I was surprised to hear several people state rather matter-of-factly that they were well aware of this loyalty pact among dentists. COMROBBERY, be gone! There have to be dentists out there with ethics. My search continues.

Peggy Tarr has been a columnist for the Evanston RoundTable since its founding in 1998. Born in Bruce Springsteen's hometown of Freehold, New Jersey, she graduated from Rutgers University with a degree...