Dentist “Bait and Switched” Me with Prices

I had was diagnosed with a cavity two months ago. They said it was small enough we could just watch it for now because I told them I didn’t have much money. But, a few days ago it started hurting. Because I already knew the problem I just called around to a few dentists who advertised as affordable to see what their prices were. This one dentist was significantly cheaper than the rest so I booked with him. Then, when I get there he says the decay is too extensive and he’ll have to do a crown. That is way more money than I’d planned for. I left without having the work done. Should I get a second opinion? Do you think I’m being bait and switched?


Dear Bruce,

Dollar sign hatched from an egg
Cheap does not always equal affordable.

There are a few things going on here. First, is financial. You need an affordable dentist who’s willing to work with you on payments. But, you’re making a common mistake in equating affordable with cheap. There are good dentists who find ways to be affordable but probably aren’t the cheapest. Then, there are dentists who quote cheap prices, but end up costing you more money because either their skill or the quality of their materials are sub-par.

It’s also possible, the dentist wasn’t trying to pull one over on you. The original diagnosis was a couple of months ago. That, combined with the fact that the tooth starting hurting, tells me the decay has spread. Once decay gets to a certain point a filling isn’t enough and a crown becomes necessary. If it blows up into an infection, you’ll need a root canal treatment as well.

Get a Second Opinion from Another Affordable Dentist

It’s okay to trust your gut. If you truly feel like this guy was trying to pull one over on you then you should get a second opinion. You can bring your x-rays from your previous appointment for the second dentist to examine which will save you on additional x-rays.

Remember, cheap doesn’t mean affordable. Look for dentists who offer payment plans and phased treatment options. But, check their reviews to make sure they have a good reputation.

This blog is brought to you by Drs. Kevin and Hillary Peck.

Pediatric Dentist Missed Long Coming Cavity

My son has a bit of trouble at the pediatric dentist’s office. We’ve only been twice, but both times they were unable to get x-rays on him. The exam and cleanings seem to go fine. The x-rays scare him. Both times, they’ve sent us on our way saying everything looked fine. Then, two days after our last appointment, he came to my room crying with a toothache and massive fever. I gave him some pain reliever and called the pediatric dentist. They weren’t open, so I called my dentist who agreed to see him. Thankfully, because he turned out to have a massive tooth infection on his back molar. My dentist was able to give him an x-ray without any problem. The decay was so bad he couldn’t save the tooth, which worries me because it was a molar. He gave him some dental sedation and extracted the molar right there. He said that cavity was a long time coming. How did the pediatric dentist miss it?


Dear Lucy,

A child holding a teddy bear at the pediatric dentists office

It’s hard to say why the pediatric dentist missed it. I’m curious as to what your dentist did differently than your pediatric dentist which helped your son feel comfortable with the x-rays. It sounds like your family dentist is good with children. If you’re not satisfied with your current pediatric dentist you may consider you and your son going to the same practice. It’s perfectly fine for general dentists to treat children if they’re good with them.

I’m glad your dentist was able to deal with the infection so quickly. That could have turned out horribly if it spread further. You’re right it’s a shame that the molar couldn’t be saved. Hopefully, your dentist placed a space maintainer there for him. Otherwise, your son’s teeth will shift and cause crowding in his teeth. That will mean expensive orthodontics. You definitely don’t want to deal with that.

Effective Pediatric Dental Care

You’re wise to take your son to the dentist regularly. Too many parents wait until there’s a dental emergency to bring their children to the dentist. That makes their first experience a negative one, which often leads to dental anxiety.

It sounds like he responded well to dental sedation for the extraction. That’s good news too. The goal in pediatric care, along with good oral health, is to feel positive about the dentist.

Hopefully, this infection hasn’t completely thrown him off and he can enjoy going again.

This blog is brought to you by Phoenix Dentists Drs. Kevin and Hillary Peck.