• Report: #255733

Complaint Review: Hillcrest Family Dental

  • Submitted: Wed, June 20, 2007
  • Updated: Fri, September 18, 2009

  • Reported By:San Diego California
Hillcrest Family Dental
3330 3rd. Ave. #400 San Diego, California U.S.A.

Hillcrest Family Dental Dishonest fraudulent practices and insurance claims San Diego California


*Consumer Suggestion: Arestin IS NOT A SCAM but it is not for everyone

*Consumer Comment: dental hygienist here

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This Family dental group uses intimidation, fear and persuasion to scam people and insurance companies out of hundreds of dollars, much like a mechanic or used car salesman would do. They stretch the visits out to get paid by the insurance companies. They prey on those who come to them in trust, and take advantage of the fact that the general public assumes the clinic what they are talking about and perhaps to get more money than they would if they were not covering HMO insurance.

After searching the internet and talking with friends in the area, I heard similar stories about this office telling people they have gum disease and must have a 3 visit expensive treatment not covered by their HMO insurance.

I went in for a general cleaning, only to come out 2 hours later with nothing accomplished. I had my x-rays taken, and an assistant look through my mouth with a small camera and show me various things in freeze frame on the monitor next to me. He said it was clear that I had a few cavities that were obvious for anyone to see, and that I was at the early stages of gum disease.

Then the doctor came in and looked at my teeth and at the images on the freeze frame. She said I dont have any cavities but that it was necessary for me to get preventative care for gum disease for obvious reasons, because she cares for my teeth and my health. Yeah right.

She left and the assistant went over all the horrible things about gum disease, he left these horrible images on the screen to reinforce the necessary treatment, he showed me handouts, literature, articles and images on the wall. He said I had to come in and have this 3 visit treatment, including an antibiotic called Arestin, and that because my insurance doesnt cover everything, it would be $750 out of pocket, to be paid that day. He left me in the room for another 10 minutes, but I had already been there almost 2 hours and was getting impatient.

I went to leave through the lobby and I heard a commotion in the back and he literally chased after me with panic in his eyes. He wanted me to leave the entire amount that day, or at least half or a deposit of some sort. Looking back it seemed like he was working on a commission. We ended up getting into a confrontation / heated discussion about me not paying this amount in full that day. I should have gone with my instincts then and left.

Hesitantly, I made an appointment and had my first irrigation cleaning. There would be a second treatment for the other side of my mouth, and then another cleaning appointment of some sort. By having patients come in many times, they are able to charge the insurance company per visit.

In my first deep cleaning appointment, the only treatment done was a drill cleaning into my gums on one side of my mouth, and 2 treatments of Arestin. No polish or cleaning whatsoever. The girl at the front desk said I had cavities that needed to be treated, which I dont. I paid $333.000, half of the treatment cost and left with a horribly uneasy feeling in my stomach.

The next day, I contacted my family dentist from years back, whom I trust but is not covered in my HMO plan, and explained the situation. They said it sounded like a scam, that Arestin is hardly ever used and that if I wanted it, they would do it for free. I immediately cancelled my 2nd and 3rd appointment with Hillcrest Family Dental. They didnt seem concerned or surprised in the least bit.

I began to search the internet for information and the first search to come up was Insider Pages. I found similar experiences to mine posted regarding this Dental Center being a scam. Ive listed the responses at the end of this letter. I wish I had done this first

Again, I am writing to highly recommend the investigation into Hillcrest Family Dental scam operations. Look beyond their jargon and contracts and see what they are really doing! Save others from being ripped off!

San Diego, California

This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 06/20/2007 11:53 AM and is a permanent record located here: http://www.ripoffreport.com/r/Hillcrest-Family-Dental/San-Diego-California-92103/Hillcrest-Family-Dental-Dishonest-fraudulent-practices-and-insurance-claims-San-Diego-Cali-255733. The posting time indicated is Arizona local time. Arizona does not observe daylight savings so the post time may be Mountain or Pacific depending on the time of year.

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Seems to me as if the dental group educated the patient.  This patient belongs to a Dental Maintenance Organization, and likely thinks that her health care is always free.  Sadly, this patient was fooled by the health care company, which is something the health care companies know they can do quite easily to many people who have no concept of what quality medicine and dentistry costs. 

Arrestin is a wonderful aide to dentists trying to help their patients keep their teeth. Great dentistry doesn't happen by accident and is a combination of education, skill, and using all qualified regiments in attacking dental disease.  Most patients don't know that gum disease can cause heart disease and treating this periodontal problem will have a good overall health affect for this patient.  Showing the patient what gum disease can do is not scaring the patient, its educating this patient who likely would have gone ahead with treatment if it did not cost them.

Applause for the Hillcrest group that cares about their patients and is unafraid to educate them.  Do let this patient know that there will be many dentists very happy to charge them $50,000-$100,000 TO REPLACE this patient's teeth with dental implants once the gum disease loosens this person's teeth and they need to be extracted.  I bet the arrestin will look like a good buy at that time.
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#2 Consumer Suggestion

Arestin IS NOT A SCAM but it is not for everyone

AUTHOR: Drtooth - (U.S.A.)

I am always honest with my patient in asking their motivation for their treatment. If they cannot commit to periodontal maintenance or if their gum disease is severe then I referred them for surgical intervention with the periodontist. There is no point in placing Arestin/Atridox/Periochip if the patient only wants cleaning once every 2-5 years, that lack of motivation will ensure that the medicine will fail. I also see it pointless to placed Arestin in more than 10 teeth as it seems the patient would already be a good candidate for surgical intervention in the specialist office.

After the deep cleaning/root planning is done and Arestin is placed, no polishing is done until at least 2 weeks after the deep cleaning/root planning is finished. The deep cleaning/root planning is usually done in 2 visits, each visit addressed one side of the mouth/2 quadrants of teeth for the patient comfort. We also asked the patient to abstain from anything chewy, sticky and crunchy for 7 days to prevent food from dislodging the medication.

The use of antibiotics in conjunction with periodontal therapy is widely documented in scientific journals and it's benefits is a widely accepted as fact by most conventional dental professionals. Before the arrival of the locally applied antibiotics such as Atridox, Periochip, Arestin, Doxycycline gel, periodontists (dentist who specialize in treatment of gums disease) and dentists only have systemic antibiotics such as Metronidazole, Clindamycin, Azitromycin, Clarithomycins, and Fluoroquinolones.

Unfortunately these systemic antibiotics (works through drinking/ingestion) has a lot of side effects because they go through the body. Side effects includes Nausea, Vomitting, Photo/light sensitivity, not to mention the potential for significant clinical interaction with other drugs. As a dentist I can tell you it is a nightmare to expect patients to take these strong antibiotics for 3 months for a condition that though is be ravaging their mouth is causing no pain. Patient compliance can be expected at minimal at best and any fear over developing potential drug resistance is justifiable.

The arrival of LOCALLY applied antibiotics such as Arestin is heaven sent for dental professionals who are legitimately concern about their patient gum issue and legal ramification of ignoring periodontal disease. It's less intrusive on the body and less potential for side effects. The dentist have a LEGAL responsibility to DIAGNOSE conditions that THE PATIENT have and NOT THEIR DENTAL BENEFITS COVERAGE/INSURANCE. TO DO OTHERWISE IS MALPRACTICE. Under the American Dental Association Code of Ethics dentist have the obligation to respect what the patient wants to have done or not, but dentists are also obligated to be truthful in promoting the patient welfare. If you have periodontal disease I have the obligation to inform you of your best course of action, whether or not you choose to take my advice is your decision.

When there is +5 mm of perio pocket (the charting/probing that is performed on new patients) accompanied by bleeding there is strong indication that there is gum disease. Thus a localized antibiotics will be placed. I know of NO dental office that gives the medicine for free as they have to purchase the medicine.

The success of the periodontal therapy depends largely on the patient's compliance. On the first year we need the patient to return 3-4 times (every 3-4 months depending on the severity of the case) and not 2 times only (every 6 months for the rest of population who have faithfully come at regular intervals and thus have no periodontitis). We call these visits periodontal maintenance, we monitor the development of the tissue regularly and at 12 months make the call to either send to specialist (condition has not improved/worsen), keep at perio maintenance status (more improvement is needed), or prescribed a 'regular cleaning'/prophy light scale.

If you feel that your dentist's diagnosis of your gum disease is personally unacceptable you can always ask for a second opinion from the periodontist (gum specialist) or other practitioner.
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#3 Consumer Comment

dental hygienist here

AUTHOR: Allison - (U.S.A.)

i am a registered dental hygeinist in san diego. While i have never worked for or been to this particular office before- i think there are some things you are unclear of when it comes to dental work
FIrst off- Arestin is widely used as a common antibiotic to treat areas in your mouth where gum tissue is inflamed- it aids in treating gum disease?(also known as periodontitis). The hygienist most likely took a periodontal reading( measuring of the gums) and thus was able to determine which sites did need Arestin.
In no office that i have EVER worked for or had experience with gives Arestin for free! It is true that most insurance do not cover the antibiotic- but just becuase you want it - doees not mean you get it for free. Chrages for the placement do range from office to office( Some as low as $20 per site, others as much as $45 per site) Perhaps your older family dentist does not use this treatment in his office, but I can assure you it is a beneficial service, when needed, although it will cost you out of pocket.
Secondly, when you come in for deep cleaning, usually you do not get polished. This is because our main goal at this appoitnment is to clean underneath the gum tissue to rid it of bacteria- when you return for your follow up evaluation cleaning once you have had deep cleaning on both sides of your mouth( usually 4-6 weeks later) this is when you get polished.
FYI regarding polishing- it is mainly a thing of the past, although convincing patients of this fact will take some time. The ADA no longer looks at polishing to be beneficial to persons that do not exhibit staining on their teeth.

I think it is unfortunate that you had a bad experience with this dentist- and sounds as if you made a good decision to seek treatment elsewhere- but it always helps to get all the facts about the treatment so that you can make an informed decision

Also- offices cannot charge "per visit"- they charge "per service"
Good Luck in pursuit of a new densit- there are many to be found in San Diego!
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