Is Dentistry a Science? – The Atlantic

From the article:

The Cochrane organization, a highly respected arbiter of evidence-based medicine, has conducted systematic reviews of oral-health studies since 1999. In these reviews, researchers analyze the scientific literature on a particular dental intervention, focusing on the most rigorous and well-designed studies. In some cases, the findings clearly justify a given procedure. For example, dental sealants—liquid plastics painted onto the pits and grooves of teeth like nail polish—reduce tooth decay in children and have no known risks. (Despite this, they are not widely used, possibly because they are too simple and inexpensive to earn dentists much money.) But most of the Cochrane reviews reach one of two disheartening conclusions: Either the available evidence fails to confirm the purported benefits of a given dental intervention, or there is simply not enough research to say anything substantive one way or another.

Source: Is Dentistry a Science? – The Atlantic

I started looking into this years ago with this article on the fact that there is no scientific evidence that flossing is necessary. (It’s a great website if you don’t read Harriet Hall’s anti-trans articles. . . )

This article inspired me. I decided to do my own unscientific trial. My dental hygienist at a questionable one dentist shop kept telling me I had to floss and that my gums depended on it. So I did. I flossed morning and night for 365 days in a row.

Then the next year’s cleaning, when she asked, I told her I wanted her to look at my teeth and tell me if I had flossed, and if she saw any improvement. She was caught off guard, and uncertain, and told me that I hadn’t, and gave me the exact same prognosis on my gums that I had heard for two previous years. Then I told her I had been flossing twice a day, and she didn’t believe me.

After that, I started to consider that this dental shop, which kept trying to balance bill us, was doing procedures that were unnecessary. My wife needs a lot of work, and I felt the work was questionable in skill and necessity.

It was at this time I started hearing more anecdotal stories about people being screwed over by dentists. I remember reading of a Native American that went to get a filling, and being told her insurance was already used up fort the year, because the dentist was committing insurance fraud saying they had given her fillings and pocketing the cash. That guy was busted.

There were billing frauds. There were extra work being ordered.

We have a good dentist now, that we travel an hour for, because we trust them with the billing and the work, but we went through quite a few.

I wish they’d loop dentistry into the rest of the medical system, and just be done with it.

Now that there is scant evidence that half this shit is necessary? Wow.