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Dental Deal

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Remember last summer when I had some dental stuff pop up?

I never gave details before, but I went in for a routine cleaning and was told I’d need a new front tooth because my root was dead. The dentist recommended getting 6 porcelain veneers to remedy the situation. (Note: this was the first time I’d ever gone to that dentist, and I had selected them because they had a new patient special).

Well, I thought that was total crap. Instead, I decided to seek a second opinion. But, before going in, I chipped a back tooth. I’m so glad I went for the second opinion because the new dentist was awesome! He did an exam and x-rays for free and suggested that for the front tooth we take the “wait and see” approach because, although the root was dead, there was no sign of decay. He also said that IF further action needed to be taken, that the best thing to do would be a root canal and a single cap (a far cry from the 6 porcelain veneers the last dentist recommended!)

Anywho, I did need to get a filling on my chipped tooth to protect it from potential cavities but that was it, and cost a grand total of $171 (we don’t have dental insurance and pay out-of-pocket).

It’s now been 7 months and is time for another teeth cleaning.

This time around, I started by checking out a bunch of the dental discount plans in my area. Only….I wasn’t really thrilled with any of them.

The one that sounded best “on paper” I found out had TERRIBLE patient-reviews. Like, an average of 1 star out of 5. Plus it was clear across town.

Then I looked up one that’s nearby with better reviews, but the prices really didn’t seem that great and they don’t have a pediatric dentist for the girls (they really need to start going to the dentist soon!)

The dental discount plan is 100% worth the money if I can get hubs to go, but this month has been insane with his schedule. And its really not that great of a deal if it’s just me and I’m going just for a cleaning. After talking about it with hubs, we decided that I’ll pay out-of-pocket for a cleaning this month, and we’ll look back at dental discount programs next month. Hubs promises to make it a priority to get to the dentist next month. (He’s one of those people who needs some time to wrap his mind around the idea of going to the dentist – he’s never been a big fan.) Stay tuned next month for my “Year of Becoming Adults:  April Update” >>>hopefully I can report on hubs having completed some much needed dental work!

Anyway, given my pleasant experience last time with dentist #2, I decided just to go back there. I figured most teeth cleanings are in the $100-$150ish range so I anticipated an expense of that size (and right now we have plenty of dental savings to cover it). But when I called and scheduled the appointment, I decided to ask the receptionist about it just so I would know up-front what to expect.

And guess what….

Apparently they have a deal going on right now for an x-ray, exam, and cleaning for $50 for new patients. Now, I’m not new, and they’ve already given me an x-ray and exam (for free last time!!!), but they said they’d honor the discount and give me the cleaning for only $50!! Can you believe it?! Oh, how I wish this dentist participated in a dental discount program because they are awesome – from the dentist to the staff – they are all so friendly and accommodating!

At least I’ll be getting my cleaning this time around for a reasonable price. Who knows what’ll happen next time around (dental discount plan? Out-of-pocket?)

But it just goes to show – never hurts to ask about prices!

Have you ever saved money by simply asking for a better price? If you pay out-of-pocket, about how much did you spend on dental care last year?

Ashley

Texan at heart; Arizonan on paper. Lover of running, cheese, camping, and family (fur-family included!). Blogger, motivated to get out of debt YESTERDAY! Follow along with my journey!

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8 Comments

  • Reply CJ |

    One piece of advice – do the wait and see approach but when they do go back to do the crown, ask about the veneers option. You don’t have to do this right away but ask him about them. I only say this because I went the one crown route in the front and now a few years later…..it shows brighter than my other teeth…especially in photos. Part of this may be due to when they went to color match my crown, I did the white strips right before so they were really white so it would not look like I had all white teeth and one yellowish tooth. But I whitened them so much though that now it looks whiter than my natural teeth! So I spend time whitening my teeth more often than I normally would before so they all look similar in photos.

    • Reply Ashley |

      That’s a good point and, to be fair, this is really where Dentist #1 was coming from with his recommendation of doing 6 veneers (so all the front, top teeth would match). It’s just SOOOOO much money, though! And so far my front tooth with the dead root is holding out just fine (no browning, no decay) so I’m just going to keep riding this train as long as I can! May be worth planning to do veneers at some point in the future, but that just feels like SUCH a luxury item right now that we really cannot afford!

  • Reply Joe |

    That’s a great deal for your checkup/x-rays! For the hubby, I’d say that getting routine preventative dental care is right up there on the list of “becoming an adult”, not that that makes the process any more pleasant!

    • Reply Ashley |

      So true!
      And, yeah, I love this dentist. The $55 rate was a special, but when I looked at the bill, I discovered that the REGULAR rate for a cleaning is still only $75! That’s a great price for a cleaning!

  • Reply Holly |

    Did you explain to this dentist that you like that you don’t have insurance and ask if they have any special programs/discounts for people without insurance? A lot of the dentists in our area seem to be going that route. I’m in the same boat, no dental insurance right now but I’m so terrified of the dentist anyway that I hate to even pay for an independent plan but I have used dentalplans.com before with some success, you just have to be diligent about making sure the dentist you want to use accepts the plan you choose but they always have lots of discount codes you can find to lower the costs even further.

  • Reply Walnut |

    For what it is worth, I think there is value in going to the same dentist every time. They’ll be able to monitor your dental health over time and are more likely to take a wait and see approach to issues. Schedule appointments regularly and budget this in.

    Out of curiosity, what is the difference between a dentist and pediatric dentist? We lived in a rural area growing up, so everyone in town went to the same dentist regardless of age.

  • Reply Jean |

    Ditto what Walnut & Holly said. It seems like you like this dentist & his office staff and there’s value in going to the same person every time; they can track your history & you build a rapport with them – which goes a long way with building trust for those who don’t like going to the dentist in the first place. And ask if there’s a discount for paying cash – might be a better deal than signing up for the discount plan (and maybe less hassle, too!).

  • Reply Mary |

    Good job on asking and getting the discount. A lot of dentists are offering great deals on cleaning and x-rays to get people into the dentists due to the high volume of people that do not have dental insurance. It is a bit of buyer beware however since the low initial offers get people in but then you pay regular prices. You also have to make sure you actually like the dentist and they are good.

    As I mentioned previously, I purchased the Aetna Dental Discount Plan and love it. I am averaging 33% discount (discount varies by tooth and can be up to 50%) for $7.95/month. I had a dental plan through work that had horrible dentists in it and after my dentist retired, I had trouble finding one. You do have to look at the dentists in any plan, including the dental discount plans. I live in an area with 140,000 residents and they voted my dentist number one (which is why I selected her!); she’s a Harvard graduate and has a great office. It’s a pleasure to go there. It’s well organized and the people are friendly. With the Aetna Dental Discount Plan, I am getting the same rate as someone with an Aetna PPO. Also, for $7.95/month, it includes the EyeMed Vision Plan. I’ve saved 33% on both the root canal and crowns (had an emergency root canal and need a crown) and got a 50% discount on a filling.

    In terms of your front tooth, I agree with the wait and see. The only downside to crowns is that you can always tell it’s a crown and it it’s a front tooth, you’ll want it to look great. I’d ask to see photos of people with both options, when the times comes of course, so you can see if that is what you want.

    Regarding this dentist that you like, have you asked her directly if she participates in any dental discount plans or are you saying she isn’t in the ones you researched?

    In terms of the difference between a pediatric and adult dentist…a pediatric dentist had additional years of training in infants, children and special needs patients. You wouldn’t go see an adult physician instead of a pediatrician and by the same token, you shouldn’t take kids to see an adult dentist. A bigger issue in my opinion is in terms of anesthesia…you never want an adult anything prescribing anesthesia for children. The results can be fatal. Kids require different amounts of anesthesia, different types of anesthesia and respond different to anesthesia than adults. I remember over twenty years ago, reading in a major newspaper how doctors used to do open heart surgery for infants WITHOUT ANY ANESTHESIA and they found out that when they used anesthesia, the outcomes were better! Seriously! This was front page news! Infants especially are very high risk with anesthesia of any kind so always use a pediatric dentist or specialist for kids . (off soap box now, lol) In addition, many adults don’t know how to treat children. I remember taking my child (special needs) to a pediatric dentist that was supposed to be able to handle special needs and he didn’t have a clue!

    Good luck with the hubs! Glad you were able to get your teeth taken care of as well. Dental care can be soooo expensive!

So, what do you think ?