Can I Refuse

Is there a way to whittle down unnecessary services that your dentist insists on? I’ve had the same dentist for years and he recently retired. The staff stayed on and I know them quite well and enjoy them. However, the new dentist is tacking on services that raised my appointment cost by over $200. She’s added things like full panoramic x-rays and fluoride treatments. Are these really necessary? Can I refuse them or should I just switch to a more affordable dentist?


Dear Joseph,

Dollar sign hatching out of an egg

It is hard to make ends meet these days, especially with inflation the way it is, so I understand your desire to cut back some expenses on your dental bill.

The first thing I would do is have a conversation with your dentist about the reasoning behind the additional services. Most dentists will to a panoramic x-ray every three to five years. You didn’t mention when your last one was. If it has been a while then it might just be time.

While fluoride is most often used in childhood appointments there are still instances when doing it in adulthood is useful. One is if you are undergoing any treatments such as radiation that will be hard on your teeth. Other reasons include frequent decay or sensitive teeth.

If your dentist is doing these additional treatments for one of those reasons, it may be in your best interest to go with them, though you can certainly explain the hardship the cost is for you and see if she is willing to allow you to pay them out in installments.

If she just does them as a matter of course, you can ask if she is willing to make an exception for you. If not, it may be time to seek out a more affordable dentist.

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