Category Archives: Affordable Dentist

Can’t Afford My Sinus Perforation

I had a molar extraction about six months ago. During the procedure, my dentist perforated my sinus. After a few weeks a piece of bone came out. I thought it had healed over after that. However, recently I blew my nose and so much air came through that it literally blew my partial denture out a bit. I don’t have the money to get this fixed at the moment and my dentist has retired. What do you recommend?

Laura

Dear Laura,

I am glad that you wrote. While a sinus perforation can happen to any dentist because of mouth structure– there are some maxillary molars that have a very thin membrane separating them from sinus cavities. That being said, your dentist should have addressed the issue. While it sounds like he let you know that it was perforated, it does not sound like he actually closed the perforation.

At this point it should have healed. Because it did not, I would suggest you see an oral surgeon. I know you said you are not able to afford a dentist right now, but I think your dentist should take responsibility for this. If the dentist had partners, talk to one of them about what is going on. They should cover the cost of this.

If his practice was sold, there should be provisions in the contract dealing with post-operative complications, etc.

I feel confident that you can get this covered without expense to yourself (except for your time, of course).

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

Getting Discounted Dental Care

Is there a way to go to a dental school to get your dental work done cheaper than you would with a graduated dentist? I’m sort of broke at the moment and I’m pretty sure I have at least one cavity.

Benton

Dear Benton,

Dollar Sign hatching from an egg

Yes, there are dental schools that will do your dental work. It will cost about half of what you would pay with your dentist. Not all states have dental schools. For instance, there is not a dental school in Arkansas. So you would have to make sure there is one in your area.

If so, it will be students who do the work and then that work is checked by an instructor. You will not get shoddy work, but it will not be top of the line work either. Another factor is the time it would take you.

If you were going to a regular dental practice and needed three dental fillings, you could have those procedures done in one appointment, which could be done in about 45 minutes.

At a dental school, each of those three fillings would have to be done at separate appointments and each appointment would take about an hour and a half. So, you are looking at 4 and a half hours of work, plus travel time back and forth for each of those three appointments. If you’re paid by the hour, you might end up losing money.

Another option is to look for a private dentist who doesn’t mind advertising themselves as an affordable dentist. This usually means they work to keep their prices down. Often, these dentists will offer payment plan options as well. This way you can save time and likely get better quality work done.

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

Affordable Dentistry During Inflation

The rising costs of everything have been eating away at the worth of my husband’s paycheck. He already works so hard so I can raise our four young children and I’m worried that we won’t be able to afford the dentist this entire year. Our dentist’s prices went up again this year. I don’t blame him. He’s dealing with inflation just like the rest of the country. But, I haven’t been able to afford their last appointment and I’m worried about the children’s teeth. Are there ways to find affordable dentistry in this climate?

Gina

Dear Gina,

Dollar sign hatching from an egg
There is a difference between affordable and cheep dentistry

I understand what you are going through. Everyone seems to be feeling this pinch, which is causing a vicious cycle of rising costs. I have some things that may help, even if it doesn’t solve all of your problems.

What You Can Do At Home

While most parents know and do the obvious things, such as brushing and flossing their children’s teeth daily, there are a couple of things that seem to surprise people. In case your pediatric dentist hasn’t told you about them, here they are:

First, limit snacks. Believe it or not, one of the best defenses against decay is actually saliva, which contains bacteria fighting minerals. However, the more your children snack, the less chance their saliva has to do its job. I know growing children are always hungry, but if you can limit them to one snack a day it will go a LONG way to fighting cavity causing bacteria. Plus, you will have the additional benefit of them actually being hungry enough to eat the food you lovingly prepare for them at their meals.

Second, know many juices contain citrus acid. This can eat away at their enamel. While some of those juices, like orange juice, can be healthy, you don’t want it to counteract what you’re trying to do for their teeth. One mistake people make is thinking brushing immediately after drinking something acidic will protect their teeth from the damage. Unfortunately, it has the opposite effect. Instead, it grinds the acid into their teeth. If you’re going to give them a juice right before bedtime when they are going to brush, have them swish some water around their mouth first, to neutralize the acid.

Finding An Affordable Dentist

Don’t confuse cheap with affordable. If a dentist is significantly lower than all other dentists in their area, it is a red flag. They could be using poor quality fixtures to keep their profits up, or they are terrible dentists who have to keep their prices super low to draw in new patients.

Sometimes an area a dental office is in can keep prices higher. Rent for office space is different depending on the real estate location. Sometimes you can save some money from going to a dentist that is just outside of an expensive area. You can get high quality care with slightly lower prices because the dentist’s overhead is lower.

Do an internet search using the term “affordable dentist” and the area you are looking. Often dentists who strive to keep their prices down will have a web page devoted to how they strive to make things easier for families. Just be certain to check their reviews to make sure the quality of care is what you want for your children.

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

Dentist Insisting I Get a Dental Implant

I recently lost a tooth. That is stressful enough but my dentist is insisting I get a dental implant. It isn’t that I don’t want one. I just honestly can’t afford one. They are way out of my budget. He’s insisting it is the only good option. Is that true? If so, do I just have to leave a gaping hole in my smile?

Kelly

Dear Kelly,

It really galls me when dentists give ultimatums like this or make patients feel like they don’t care about their teeth just because they do not go into debt for a treatment.

I’m going to tell you right away that you will probably be better served by going with a different dentist. You want one who follows his ethical obligation to give you all the options available to you. Not everyone can do the ideal treatment.

While it is true that a dental implant is currently the best tooth replacement option, there are other choices.

The next best option would be a dental bridge. This suspends a false tooth between two dental crowns. That means the adjacent teeth will have to be crowned, but it is a permanently attached solution.

The next option is a removable partial denture. This will have a false tooth and use clips to attach it to your adjacent teeth. As the name suggests they are removable, so they won’t be as steady as a dental bridge, but will suffice.

The cheapest option is a dental flipper, but this is only meant as a temporary option while you save up for a better replacement.

I am going to suggest you do an internet search for an affordable dentist and go to them to get your replacement. Most dentists who promote themselves as affordable try to keep their fees reasonable and also offer some type of payment plan.

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

“Affordable” Dentist Disaster

I went in for a dental crown with a guy who was cheaper than the other dentists in town. I was looking to save some money but that was a big mistake. The temporary crown fell off once. I wasn’t too worried about that as it is temporary. Then, the permanent ones have fallen off over five times in as many weeks. On top of that, it is several shades whiter than my regular teeth and really sticks out…when it is staying in. I complained to my dentist and he said that he could change the color for another $400. I couldn’t afford that so felt stuck with the color. Then the crown fell out yet again and I asked him what he was going to do to keep this from constantly falling out. He said he would tell the lab the crown is defective and have them replace it. I was very clear with him that I did not want to pay any more for this crown because I’ve already paid in full and just need it to stay in. It’s not my fault it is defective. He agreed. THEN, after I get the new crown, which still doesn’t match, by the way, I get a bill for $423 saying this is what I owe after insurance from the original crown. But, I already paid that and feel like they are being deceptive to get me to pay for the new crown. What do I do?

Jenny

Dear Jenny,

Dollar sign hatching from an egg
There is a difference between affordable and cheap dentistry

Wow. I am sorry to hear everything you have gone through with this unethical dentist. The first thing I want you to do is NOT pay any further money. If you already paid the new fee, see if your bank will reverse the charges.

When a dentist provides a dental crown, there is a basic understanding that it will match your other teeth and stay in. That is dentistry 101. It seems like your dentist is more of a scam artist. What he’s telling you is “I will provide a dental crown. However, if you want it to match your teeth it will be $400 more. Plus, if you want it to stay in, that will be another $423. He sounds more like a used car shyster than a medical practitioner.

Next, do not return to the office. I want you to go to another dentist in your local area and recruit them to help you get a refund. If you are not dealing with a front tooth, you will not need an expert cosmetic dentist, just an honest one. There are more honest dentists than unethical ones, though it probably doesn’t seem that way now.

If your dentist refuses the refund, tell him you will be reporting him to the dental board. Believe me, they will be on your side.

Please don’t forget to leave a review about what this dentist did to warn any other potential victims.

I know you were looking to save money, but there is a big difference between a cheap dentist and an affordable one. Never go with the dentist who is substantially lower than the rest of the dentists in that area. It’s usually a red flag. However, look for an affordable dentist whose prices are reasonable and who is willing to work with you on payments.

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

Will Medical Insurance pay for Dental Implants

I have serious dental issues on my front teeth, including two missing teeth and a 20 year old bridge. I’m having trouble with other teeth as well. I’d like to take out all my upper teeth and replace them with dental implants. I have tried to use upper dentures on those missing teeth but the dental plate was too much. I couldn’t keep wearing it. If I don’t do something, I won’t even be able to eat. Do you think medical insurance will cover it as not having them will affect my health?

Becky

Dear Becky,

You brought up a good point about dental plates that I think others need to be aware of when making decisions about their tooth replacement options. Dental plates can be a nightmare for people with a strong gag reflex or a sensitive palatte. With dental implants, you do not have to worry about anything extraneous like that.

In the case of medical insurance, almost all of them have a dental exclusion clause. That leaves you looking to dental insurance to pay for this. While it is unlikely they will pay for all of it, they will have a percentage they will cover.

If money is really tight, I would look for a qualified implant dentist who also advertises as an affordable dentist. Just do an internet search using that term.

While in most cases you pay out dental implants in two stages, once after the surgery and once after the crowns or supported dentures are placed, affordable dentists may allow you to break up those payments even further.

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

What if Dentures are All I Can Afford?

I have absolutely horrible teeth. Like the worst. I’ve had 9 months of throwing up with four different pregnancies and then cancer to deal with. My teeth are literally crumbling and dental insurance only covers $1000 per year. I don’t have any significant “extra” money after the necessary bills are paid. I keep hearing dentures are the worst possible thing to get, but I don’t know what else to do. I broke a tooth yesterday while flossing. That’s what I get for trying to take care of my teeth. Will it really be that awful if dentures are all I can afford?

Macy

Dear Macy,

snap on dentures
Snap-on Dentures

You are in a tough situation. I’ll give you the best advice I can. Dentures are more devastating on the bottom arch than the top, so if you are left having to decide what to save and what not to, save the bottom teeth at much as possible. The reason for that is the bone loss in your jaw.

Once the roots of your teeth are removed your body recognized that and begins to resorb the minerals in your jawbone in order to use them elsewhere throughout your body where they may be more necessary. After ten to twenty years, depending on the speed at which your body does things, you will no longer have enough jawbone to retain your denture. This is a condition dentists call facial collapse.

If it turns out that you do need to lose your bottom teeth as well, see if you can get any dental implants for the bottom arch. These are expensive, but affordable dentists will be more willing to work with you on payments, especially if they know your situation.

There are snap-on dentures (pictured above) which can use as few as two dental implants. This has the benefit of securing your denture to your bottom arch, plus anywhere you have a dental implant, the minerals in your bone will be left alone, thereby protecting that particular area from bone loss.

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

My Mother’s Tooth Fell Out

My mom is 85 and recently moved in with my husband and myself. We were eating dinner the other night and a tooth from the bottom part of her jaw just fell out. She’s very embarrassed about it. At eighty five she doesn’t have a ton of money and neither do we. What is an affordable way that we can get help for her? We’ll want to replace that tooth for certain.

Lindsey

Dear Lindsey,

An elderly woman smiling.

If your mother’s tooth just fell out, that means she is dealing with very advanced gum disease. This is serious and she is likely to lose more teeth.

In most cases, you would need to build up the bone in her lower jawbone and get dental implants for implant overdentures to prevent facial collapse. However, you asked for something affordable and that definitely is not. Plus, at her age, there is not much point of dealing with the facial collapse.

My suggestion is you save as many of her teeth as possible by getting her gum disease treated. She will likely need at least partial dentures if not complete dentures depending on how many teeth she loses. It will still be important to treat the gum disease either way, that includes if she gets complete dentures. Gum disease will have a negative impact on her overall health as well.

I am glad that she has you to take care of her. It is obvious you care about her and will do your best to get her the care she needs. If she’s been under the care of a dentist this whole time, I suggest you get her a new dentist. The one she has did not adequately care for her as he or she should have. In fact, I’d consider it malpractice.

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

Penny

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.

Can’t Afford Next Treatment

I had a Maryland Bridge, but ended up being allergic to part of it. I can’t use that anymore and my dentist is inisisting my only option now is a dental implant. I priced that originally and couldn’t afford it. Surely there is another option, but my dentist is insisting this is it.

Carol.

Dear Carol,

A dollar sign hatching out of an egg

I’m sorry that you have had such a hard time with this tooth replacement. It is unfair of your dentist to insist on the most expensive treatment. While everyone wants the best option, sometimes our budget precludes that. What disappoints me is your dentist is ethically bound to at least make you aware of all your options, even if he won’t do them.

You will have more success with a dentist that understands budgetary limitations. If your dentist doesn’t look for someone who advertises as an affordable dentist. They’ll be more willing to offer you the options that work for your pocketbook. Most are even willing to accept payment plans.

Affordable Options to a Dental Implant

The first thing I would suggest to you is a zirconia or porcelain bridge. This is a false tooth suspended between two dental crowns. These are metal-free and won’t give you the same allergy issues that you faced with your last treatment.

If that doesn’t work for you financially, there are allso removable partial dentures. You’ll just need to make certain your dentist knows you will want metal free clasps.

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