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Dental Quotas – Malpractice or Ethics?

When you visit a dentist, you trust their training. You also trust them to do the right thing. But an investigation from USA Today highlights a problem with some dental practices. Corporate chains impose sales quotas on staff to maximize profits. These dangerous dental quota requirements put profits ahead of patient needs.
This article is for informational purposes only. Kane & Silverman does not handle this type of claim.

Dental Chain Locations

Certain dentist offices are part of a larger corporation. The corporation owns the dental practice. Dentists at chain dental locations are employees. Dentists must fill regular sales goals or lose their job. The sales quota is mandated by corporations such as North American Dental Group.

People trust dentists. Yet, these corporate dentists provide false diagnoses to increase profits. However, Consumer Reports states “When it comes to the best way to handle a problem with a tooth, there’s a whole lot of gray area.” There are situations when different dentists would recommend different remedies to the same tooth problem. Dentists can use this gray area to recommend procedures that result in more income.

dental quota malpractice claims

Dental Quotas

Dentists feel the pressure to meet dental quotas. This is causing them to conduct unnecessary procedures. One such case mentioned in the above article involves a preschooler, Gregory Lancaster. The dentist recommended seven root canals. The dentist didn’t take any X-rays to determine if this was necessary. But, Gregory’s mother trusted the dentist.

Targeting The Poor

Chain dental offices target people who normally can’t afford regular dental visits. They advertise low-cost exams and cleanings. But, once the person enters the office they are presented with a “treatment plan.” The dentist will refuse to do anything less than the treatment plan.

The dentists then charge the patients extraordinary fees to increase their profits and their investors’ equity. The dental groups urge dentists to find problems and recommend expensive procedures to increase company profits.

Even the state of Pennsylvania sued one of these chain dental companies. The lawsuit charged Aspen Dental with violating consumer protection laws.

dental fraud malpractice lawsuit

Dishonest Dentists

Corporate dental chains put dentists in a very difficult position. Many of these dentists are recent graduates looking to get a start in dentistry. Other dentists are more interested in increasing company profits to increase their personal bonuses. This puts patients in a vulnerable and dangerous position.

Dentist offices managed by Wall Street investors conduct “morning huddles” where they discuss how to increase profits each day. This includes conducting unnecessary procedures, such as replacing fillings when it is not needed.

Negative Side Effects

Unnecessary dental work can have a ripple effect on someone’s health. Several things can occur:

  • loss of teeth
  • infection
  • nerve damage
  • sinus problems

Bad dental work can be very serious but is often not enough for a legal claim. That’s why it is imperative to find a dentist you can trust.

unnecessary dental procedure lawsuit

Dental Quotas And Ethics

Dental quota requirements encourage dentists to perform unnecessary dental procedures to increase profits. This is an ethical problem that often does not have a legal remedy. The best way to protect yourself is to find a dentist you can trust. If you are ever in doubt or your dentist recommends expensive treatments, seek a second opinion.