TV show finds too few ‘righteous’ dentists

Show sees 30% of dentists at 6 private clinics “diagnosing” need for model with perfect teeth to undergo unnecessary surgery.

Child at the dentist 370 (photo credit: Thinkstock)
Child at the dentist 370
(photo credit: Thinkstock)
The spectacle on Channel 2 of 30 percent of dentists at six private clinics in the North “diagnosing” the need for a model with perfect teeth to undergo as many as two wisdom tooth extractions, six fillings and cleanings did not ruffle feathers at the Health Ministry, whose dental medicine department is supposed to supervise dentistry.
The program, Yatzata Tzadik (“You Came Out Righteous”) was shown on Monday night by Channel 2 franchisee Keshet after applications for restraining orders to prevent the broadcast were rejected by the Nazareth Magistrate’s Court earlier in the day.
Asked to comment, the ministry spokeswoman said her office asked the production company that made the program to send all the filmed material it had. This was aimed at examining the activities of dentists involved in the report and “if necessary, taking disciplinary action according to the means at the ministry’s disposal.”
The ministry was unwilling to say whether the report reflected any countrywide problem with its supervision of dentists.
At the end of the show, the ministry stated only that anyone who had complaints against dentists could call its information number, *5400.
Dr. Yitzhak Chen, chairman of the Israel Dental Association, saw the show but declined to comment.
In the show presented by Haim Hecht, a beautiful blonde woman called “Bar Cohen” went to dental clinics in the Afula, Tiberias and Nazareth areas, accompanied by her “father” who insisted her dental condition be checked before setting off on a trek to India. Hecht brought hidden cameras that recorded what went on, while he and Dr. Moshe Gottlieb, whom Hecht described as an expert, watched. Gottlieb examined Cohen and a panoramic scan of her mouth and declared her teeth in perfect condition and requiring no treatment.
A senior dentistry professor at Tel Aviv University’s School of Dentistry also examined Cohen and confirmed Gottlieb’s findings.
Some of the dentists – Arabs and Jews – charged no fee after saying that her teeth needed no treatment. They were presented by Hecht with the show’s medallion.
But others said they would charge up to NIS 1,900 for “necessary” dental work.
Gottlieb said that if Cohen had followed the “sinful” dentists’ advice, by the age of 50, damage from their work would have cause her so much damage that she would need false teeth or implants.