I remember when I was about ten going to the dentist, getting an exam and being told I had 17 cavities. The news stunned me even at that young age. I always remembered that moment and wondered: did I really have that many? Or was it a doctor cashing in?
A licensed Minnesota dentist has been practicing for more than 20 years. But now she's under the microscope. A family is questioning her diagnosis when they took their 4 year old in and was told she had 9 cavirites and needed four crowns. At age 4!
The Looyens have made brushing part of the routine twice a day with their two girls. "Your typical dental hygiene routine with a 4 year old, and she does pretty well," Marina Looyen said.
So when it was time for 4-year-old Ella's annual trip to the dentist in July, they again never suspected much trouble. Dr. Alevizos walked in to deliver the bad news: Her daugher had nine cavities, and four needed crowns.
"I was like, 'Oh my gosh, there's no way that she could have nine cavities!'" Marina said.
The doctor suggested they do the procedure at the hospital so Ella would be under general anesthesia.
Marina didn't feel comfortable with that setup, and called her husband in confusion.
Marina had gone to school to be a dental assistant. She decided a second opinion would be best.
That dentist saw things much differently.
"He retook her X-rays and looked in her mouth, and he looked at me and he's like, 'No Marina … she's got three cavities and one of them is a watch,'" she said. "'They're tiny cavities I can fix without even Novocain."
It was a $717 treatment plan versus Dr. Alevizos' $2,900 bill.
The findings sent Marina to Facebook, where she posted the story to a south metro moms' group page.
"I couldn't believe my phone was just going off and off and off," Marina said.
Other parents soon shared dozens of similar complaints about Dr. Alevizos' expensive treatment plans.
"There's 121 posts," Marina said.
In both girls' cases, the dentists who gave second opinions told us Alevizos' count simply didn't add up.
"Something wrong is happening there. Something isn't right that there's such a difference in opinions," he said.
What happened next? Here's the story from the local CBS affiliate.