First of all, I've always taken really good care of my teeth and have not had a cavity in my adult teeth to date. I visited Bagley Family Dentistry last August for a 6 month x-ray/check up/cleaning and was told after the x-rays that I not only had 2 cavities but one cavity that was in the dentin (2nd) layer of my tooth and that it should be filled right away. I was also told during the periodontal exam that I had several concerning areas along my gum line that indicated the start of periodontal disease and that this may need further treatment as well. Needless to say, I was disappointed but I had scheduled an appointment to get the cavities filled upon my departure. However, the more I thought about it, the more I started to question if this really made sense. I got in contact with my prior dentist that I definitely trusted (we had relocated to Greensboro or I wouldn't have left his practice) and asked him to look at my x-rays from my previous 6 month check up to see if he had missed any indication that a cavity had started to form, considering that the decay process of a tooth is gradual and certainly doesn't happen overnight. He assured me that he saw nothing on my previous x-rays and did not believe that I had cavities. Fast forward a year later (thanks to covid interfering with my should be spring check up) and after visiting another dental practice in Greensboro, lo and behold my x-rays taken a year later showed that I did not have any cavities in my mouth. Upon the periodontal exam, I was also told that my gum tissue was great and I had no problems or signs of periodontal disease. Not only did this happen to me, but my husband was told during his visit at Bagley Family Dentistry that he had 4 cavities with no explanation or discussion of the cavities. Then upon reviewing an insurance paper handed to him for the cost of filling the cavities, he noticed that it had 6 cavities/fillings listed. Upon questioning it with Dr.Davis, the response he got was just that yes, he had 6 cavities that needed to be filled. No explanation again or discussion as to why there were suddenly 2 additional cavities that needed to be filled. My husband also visited another dental practice in Greensboro where yet again it was confirmed that he only had 3 cavities, not 4 and not 6. Dental patient beware.
I am sorry to hear that you were dissatisfied with your experience. Obviously, different doctors with different equipment may perceive situations differently, for a number of reasons. I can only speak to our procedures and protocols, but during our routine exams we use a variety of techniques to diagnose disease in the mouth. We utilize X-rays, which have long been a standard tool for detecting decay. However, we also utilize ultraviolet cameras, traditional intra-oral cameras, and visual examination (aided by magnification and bright illumination). The combination of these efforts allows us to provide the best diagnosis possible to help our patients who are suffering from decay and disease, but also to help them prevent or avoid future discomfort by identifying problem areas before they become catastrophic.
It certainly sounds as though we could have done a better job explaining our findings and why we prescribed a particular course of treatment. I am glad you were able to reach out to your previous dentist and felt comfortable in doing so. Thank you for reminding us that well-informed patients are always able to make better decisions, and we will strive to improve our communication skills to bring them on par with our diagnostic skills.
Please know that you are welcome to reach out to me for further explanation or if you would like to discuss specifics of your case.
Dr. Thomas Bagley
Bagley Family Dentistry