Can’t AFford This Affordable Dentist

I needed a dental crown. It was my first one and I don’t have much money. I decided to look for someone who was affordable. I did the scientific process of asking Uncle Google to find me one. Most affordable dentists were close to the same price, but I found one that was several hundred dollars cheaper than the rest of them. I thought I’d found the holy grail of dentists. But, in the five years since I’ve gotten this crown, it has needed to be replaced three times. Is that normal for a dental crown? Online it says they should last five years, but maybe that is just dentists trying to get people hopeful?


Dear Penny,

As you are unfortunately learning, not all affordable dentists are created equally. I call it the difference between an affordable dentist and a cheap dentist.

Some dentists lower their prices a great deal more than other dentists in order to draw patients in. This is usually because they are either new dentists who have not built up their patient list yet or they are a dentist that has trouble keeping patients and use their low prices to get new ones.

The problem is the cheaper the prices, the harder time they will have making ends meet. Some, less scrupulous dentists, will use substandard materials in order to make up the profits.

As for how long a dental crown should last, five years should be the minimum. Some crowns, when well taken care of, can last around fifteen years.

With the number of times you have had to replace this dental crown already, you have already paid what you would have with one of the other dentists who cost more. My guess is this affordable crown has cost you even more than that. Then, factor in all the time you’ve spent getting a new crown and I think this has been a bit of a disaster.

At this point, my recommendation is you bite the bullet and go to a different dentist to prepare your new crown. Make sure you check their reviews to see if patients have had a good experience with them or not.

This blog is brought to you by Phoenix Dentist Dr. Hillary Peck.

Dental Disaster in Mexico

I went to Mexico to have two dental crowns done because it was supposed to be a lot cheaper than having it done in the United States. In two days the first crown fell off and I had to go back. When I did, they told me I needed a root canal before they could replace the crown. I had some doubts about that becuase the tooth wasn’t hurting but they seemed certain it was necessary. Then, it starting have senstivivity to hot and cold. Now I can’t even eat with it. I called them and they told me I needed to come back in. These trips are pretty extensive so I decided to just get a second opinion with a local dentist. He said the tooth did not need a root canal and is actually cracked and needs to be extracted and replaced. My question is, do you think it is reasonable to ask them to apply the cost of the unnecessary root canal they did toward the cost of the extraction and dental implant?


Dear Pam,

What a disaster. While I am sure it is reasonable, I don’t know if you really want them doing that. A dental crown is one of the first things a dentist learns how to do in dental school. He couldn’t even do that right. Then, they gave you an unnecessary root canal treatment. AND, they didn’t even do it right because you should not have had any sensitivity to hot or cold.

Dental implants are one of the most advanced procedures in dentistry. If they can that wrong, it will cause you serious, permanent injury. What if they place it on a nerve? Or you get an infection in your jaw that causes you to lose bone?

In your place, I would bite the bullet and have this done in the United States with a reputable dentist with dental implant training and experience.

I do not know what the laws are in Mexico as far as getting a refund for malpractice, but you can at least try.

Dental tourism is always a gamble. Sometimes it works out. The problem is in the cases where it doesn’t, it is always a disater and in many cases people end up with permanent problems.

This blog is brought to you by Phoenix Dentist Dr. Hillary Peck.