Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: Southern California
| | Conflicting Advice/Confused
I'm kind of confused. Although I have been with the same dentist for about a half dozen years, and do like his work, I am suspicious of the office manager, who has free reign when it comes to charging (and gets bonuses based on how much "business" she brings in).
So, I had the opportunity to get a cleaning, exam, and x-rays for $49 and took advantage of that. The dentist and the assistant were both very nice, knowledgable (or so it seemed), and very thorough. I was in there for over an hour.
Now, here's the part I'm unsure about. My previous dentist recommended a deep-cleaning, which I never had done. This dentist also said I need a deep-cleaning, but said I only needed one quadrant as opposed to the full mouth. (I never told him the other dentist already recommended it.) However, the new dentist would charge $274 for one quadrant, whereas my old dentist quoted me $475 for the full mouth (if memory serves me). It seems like a better deal, but should I get the one quadrant only and save money?
The part that I'm confused about is that this new dentist also recommended having four crowns replaced, and I do see his reasoning. They have a "margin" as they call it -- meaning a gap between the crown and the gum, and he says there is a bit of decay under one of them. (Can't this be seen on x-rays? I got the impression that the decay wouldn't full be known without taking the crown off.) He also recommended a few other minor things like replacing a few fillings, although they are not currently decaying. I have to admit the prices they quoted me seemed about average (I have no dental insurance), but the replacement for the veneer that chipped seemed high (about $1350 for one veneer).
Now, here's where it gets complicated. I am still undergoing treatment with Invisalign braces, and all of this work (assuming I got it all done at once) could only be done when I'm finished with the braces, but before they make the final retainer. Crowns, veneers, etc. will never be exact, and so the braces wouldn't fit (I know, because I already had some work done and it's not an exact fit anymore). So this gets tricky. My old dentist has treated me for all the work I've had done, including the Invisalign, so imagine the complications of getting work done elsewhere and trying to time this just right with the end of my Invisalign treatments, but before my retainer...
I'm now thinking it just isn't worth making the switch, although the new dentist does seem good in my opinion, but he's proposing work that would total about $3,500. My other dentist hasn't said anything about the crowns, or at least not that I can remember. I have had some fillings replaced, but not all, and he didn't say anything about replacing the others. However, I have often wondered myself what happens after I get the retainer and then need work done on my teeth. Do I need to get a new retainer every time? That would be a bummer because they are expensive. I never thought to ask that before, but I guess I should. Right now my trays are not fitting exactly because of an inlay my dentist did some time ago. (Yes, I know, I should have said something right away.)
If you have any advice or thoughts for me on this issue, I'd appreciate it. The only reason I even considered the switch is that I'm not good at confronting people about anything, and so I've just accepted whatever I got charged. Because I have no insurance, I'm sort of at the dental office's mercy. This seems to be a problem everywhere though, and has happened to me at other offices as well. (I used to have dental insurance, and was commonly told "the insurance doesn't cover it." Well, I just believed whatever they said, but looking back, I doubt they were truthful. I then gave up the insurance because it didn't seem worthwhile.)