65-year old man seeks care from numerous dentists, without satisfaction and pays no one.
In an interesting UK case, an older gentleman (Mr. D) went from London dentist to London dentist seeking care for his “TMJ pain” (temporomandibular joint pain). He was dissatisfied with each dentist he saw (whether merely consulted or providing treatment). Her moved on without paying anyone anything, despite running up several significant bills. The local Dental Association made note of it in their Journal as it had occurred so frequently! Mr. D was intercepted leaving a dental office and detained by the police.
Those with “TMJ pain” sometimes find adequate care hard to find. The resultant frustration and mental stress can lead some to lose their usual insight and move from dentist to dentist. Unfortunately, this has resulted in some dentists believing that such pain is “all in the patient’s head”. While acute pain is useful (moving your hand when leaning on a hot surface), chronic pain has no such function, it develops a “life of it’s own” and can result in affective mental disorders such as depression. In this case it was determined that these factors aside, there was no excuse in not paying, or at least discussing payment; with the many dentists involved. These are the factors illustrated in a Dental Expert Witness’ Report that assisted the court in its determination.
Mr. D. was fined by the court and ordered to repay all of his outstanding dental bills. A referral to a postgraduate dental facility was arranged for a reversible and non-invasive splint as intervention for his pain at the recommendation of the report. While it is not known if pain management was a success, there is a need for an independent and impartial opinion in cases where many dentists have been unsuccessful yet the patient’s involvement is not understood. This benefits both parties and provides a basis for determinations.
Did the previous dentist give appropriate treatment and an adequate explanation of the procedure and it’s possible success? Would both sides of the case be illustrated equitably without a Dental Expert Witness’ report?