Anti-Science

Transcen-dental

Howdy skeptic babes. Today’s brief posting is brought to you buy reader Wendy, who writes that the following story from the LA Times is “a glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel.” It is good news, indeed, as insurers and the court system start to crack down on fraudulent holistic “doctors,” in this case dentists who are ripping out teeth for people who would probably better off with a full set of ivory.

This comes just a day after I read a story in the Boston Globe about shops illegally using dirty tools to install “grills” in the mouths of morons who want to look like their favorite tin-toothed rap star. Unlike those Rhodes Scholars, the people who are getting ripped off by the holistic dentists are a.) getting hurt a lot worse and b.) not quite as deserving of the hilarious consequences of willingly sticking “bling” in your face holes.

The LA Times article mentions Robert S. Baratz, a local Bostonian who is making good by giving expert testimony against the huxters who are telling trusting patients that they need to be completely disfigured or else risk dying in a multitude of horrible ways. The frauds presented a compelling case to Lindsay, one of the victims mentioned — they used x-rays and pamphlets and their own authority as “doctors” to convince her to have teeth with fillings and other work removed completely.

The article is full of jaw dropping (sorry) quotes from one of the frauds and heartbreaking stories of people who have died following “treatment.” There’s too much to quote here, so just go read it and enjoy the knowledge that we’re slowly finding and prosecuting these people. It’s good news, but I’ll be happier when we start seeing these “dentists” holistically locked up in jail cells.

Rebecca Watson

Rebecca leads a team of skeptical female activists at Skepchick.org. She travels around the world delivering entertaining talks on science, atheism, feminism, and skepticism. There is currently an asteroid orbiting the sun with her name on it. You can follow her every fascinating move on Twitter or on Google+.

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11 Comments

  1. "Today’s brief posting is brought to you buy reader Wendy…"

    I hate to be pedantic, but the posting is brought to us BY (not buy) Wendy.

    Otherwise, I agree.

  2. "I don't care what science says," he said about criticism of holistic dentistry. "My patients leave here feeling better. That's their reality. You can't deny that."

    Holy Hairy Hell.

    I have a friend whose grandmother was takin in by these quacks. She has much the same mentality. Hopefully this Article will wake her up.

  3. Not really. the pharma sales people who recruit at our school will hire any major. They get a crash course in whatever they are selling-but that's not the same as understanding the science behind it.

  4. Man, this is one of those times I wish it was legal to punch people in the face for being jackasses. I'd like to needlessly extract some teeth from these fake dentists some time.

    But since that's not legal, I guess we'll just have to be happy with the denial of insurance (which is bound to give pause to a lot of people) and whatever punishments the courts come up with. Although, ideally, these people would be seeing jail time. I mean, if their patients are dying from dental surgery that shouldn't have been given to them in the first place, jail time is letting them off pretty light.

  5. Oh, and then there's this quote from the LA Times article: "Lindsay went to see Shen and Young, who were recommended by her chiropractor."

    Further proof that quacks of a feather flock together.

  6. My dentist drilled out most of my old amalgam fillings, and replaced them with porcelain (I think) fillings.

    Apparently, amalgam does have some unhealthy influence on certain benevolent bacteria in your intestines. And further more, the new porcelain fillings have the same colour as my teeth, rather than the ugle grey of the amalgam fillings.

    So even though it did cost a bit of money to do this, now you can no longer see which teeth have been filled, unless you look really closely.

    Of course, he did not pull my teeth out because they were "poisoning" me, he just drilled out the fillings …

  7. Re: exarch

    I would like to see some research on that. Quoted from quackwatch

    http://www.quackwatch.org/01QuackeryRelatedTopics
    In 1986, the American Dental Association Council on Ethics, Bylaws, and Judicial Affairs concluded that "removal of amalgam restorations solely for the alleged purpose of removing toxic substances from the body, when such treatment is performed at the recommendation of the dentist, presents a question of fraud or quackery in all but an exceedingly limited spectrum of cases."

    The limited spectrum of cases is for the most part a very rare incidence of allergic reaction to amalgam.

    I see no harm in recommending someone change their filling for cosmetic reasons, hell I paid the extra money for the white fillings when I had mine done. But even just throwing in misleading information to sway someone’s decision is still a scam.

  8. The Quackwatch article, and it's detailed profile of Hal Huggins, is very interesting. Mentioned briefly in the LA Times article, Huggins has done a lot of damage, caused a lot of sorrow.

    It's too bad that 60 Minutes has multiplied that damage. The skeptical response to information, which is to seek corroboration before making a momentous decision, would have saved people a lot of grief.

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