I had a cavity. I knew exactly what was wrong but didn’t have money to deal with it. A month later, it started feeling weird so I knew I had to force the issue and find care even though I was broke. I called around letting them know exactly what I needed to get their prices. I planned on going to the dentist with the best deal. One dentist I called assured me he’d be the cheapest. In fact, he was almost $110 under every other practice I called. I was thrilled. That was under what I’d hoped for. I scheduled the appointment right away. Once I was in the chair, the whole thing changed. He said my cavity was way too large for the treatment he quoted me for and I needed a dental crown. That was way more money than I planned. I left without the crown, feeling cheated. Is he right? Do I need the crown or did he lure me there with a low price he’d never follow through on?
It would be impossible for me to tell whether or not you needed a crown without seeing your x-rays. But, I’m not surprised you don’t trust him. When you price shop and someone comes in way under everybody else, you’d have to wonder why he is so much cheaper than the other dentists. One thing I hope to help patients to understand is that cheap doesn’t always mean affordable.
Often they’re cheaper because their materials are cheaper and don’t hold up. Or, they’re not very good dentists and have trouble retaining patients in their practice.
All that being said, it’s possible the dentist was perfectly correct in his diagnosis. You mentioned you’d had the cavity for a month and you’d begun to feel it. While some cavities take a while to get serious, others can suddenly take off out of nowhere. If it spread, you’d need a dental crown. In fact, you may be quite lucky this hasn’t turned into a dental emergency, costing you a tooth.
If you think a crown is expensive, wait until you see how much a dental implant costs to replace your tooth.
Finding an affordable Dentist You Can Trust
You don’t want cheap. You want legitimately affordable dentists. They won’t undercut other dentists, though they may have slightly lower fees. Many will have an in-house payment plan to allow you to spread out your costs. Even if they don’t do an in-house plan, almost all will work through Care Credit. It’s a medical credit card which has low and no interest payment plans.
Other times, if you don’t have insurance, they’ll give you a discount for paying in cash.
If you’re still not sure you trust the diagnosis, you can always get a second opinion. As you’re trying to save money, I’m sure you aren’t keen on paying another dentist, but you can bring the x-rays from the first dentist and just have them look at that. It will significantly bring down the cost of your appointment.
This blog is brought to you by Dr. Raymond Bolt.