@MsGinkgo: Most dental insurances don’t just randomly pay for dental treatment because a bill was sent. The anticipated work suggested has to be charted on a tooth chart, treatment described, along with the correct dental ins. code, and usually have to be accompanied by xrays as proof the work is actually there and needed. Many insco.s use retired dentists or dental professionals to examine the forms and xrays, and many times, treatment and coverage is denied. The fact that you had no balance to pay suggests to me that the treatment provided, was indeed, necessary.
It is very common to hear stories about people going many years with no decay and then what seems like all of a sudden, to have many areas develop. Was your prior dentist more conservative or did they miss it? Were xrays taken of suspicious areas and were they being ‘watched’ and they didn’t tell you or you’ve forgotten? Since most teeth touch each other at some point, if an area of decay starts on one tooth, the adjacent tooth may soon develop it as well. Flossing regularly is one way of helping to prevent it, but early treatment of decay is always better than waiting it out. Again, opinions by different professionals may vary. Some will fill and some will not…doesn’t make one better or worse than the other. Some even hope you will return for more regular visits to keep on top of things rather than wait many years in between, where small things can become much larger and require more work.
Replacing old fillings can often be needed, as over time, the filling material used can ‘shrink’ allowing areas that were previously filled to be exposed and new decay to develop. Removing older mercury fillings has become one of those things that I’ve seen in the past years, and using white fillings (which don’t hold up as well or last as long) instead, but again, when insurance is involved, will only be covered if it is necessary.
If you’ve lost confidence or are questioning this office’s professional opinion of the treatment they’ve suggested, you may be better off elsewhere. The perio issue is one that should most definitely be addressed,tho. If orthodontics has also been suggested and is needed, that may be making your perio issues worse…..overlapping or misaligned teeth make it harder to keep certain areas as clean, and bone loss can occur. As far as the ‘sudden’ development for the decay goes, that can be caused by many factors. You’ve admitted to not flossing and the long time between checkups, so those 2 factors alone can account for some of it. Has your diet changed to a soft,mushy one (lots of bread,chips,rice,etc) rather than hard,crunchy foods that help cleanse? Do you drink a lot of soda or acidic drinks? Do you have any mouth habits like chewing on ice or chewing gum incessantly? There’s lots of reasons people get decay! Remember also that a posterior tooth is like a box, and can have 5 surfaces where decay,if present, can be filled. 8 areas doesn’t necessarily mean you have 8 decayed teeth.
If you do decide to go to another office, I’d make sure they do a thorough exam, including at least 14-18 xrays (a full mouth), and that they go over the xrays with you until you fully understand and can see any problem areas for yourself. An ethical, caring dentist will WANT you to know exactly where you stand.