One Dentist is $500 Less

I need a dental crown so I started calling around. I’ve called three dentists. One of them is significantly less than the others, by like $500! It seems like a great deal but I’m wondering how he can be so much less. Are the other two just hiking their price up?


Dear Fran,

We all want a good deal, don’t we? The thing to be aware of is there is a difference between affordable dentistry and cheap dentistry. You didn’t mention the two different prices, just that they were $500 apart. Let’s say for argument’s sake the less expensive dentist is $400 for a dental crown but the other dentists you called are $900.

You asked a great question earlier about how he could afford to charge so much less for their dental crowns. Usually, when one dentist is significantly less expensive than other dentists in the area there are usually one of three reasons:

They are a Brand New Practice

Maybe this dentist is fresh out of dental school and he needs experience. He lowers his prices to barely above cost to draw in patients. We all start somewhere and if you are willing to give the new guy a chance with the hope of saving money, then go for it.

They Have Trouble Keeping Patients

Like in every field, you will have some dentists who are terrible at their job. Maybe they barely passed dental school and don’t apply themselves to improving. Maybe they have a terrible chairside manner and patients just don’t enjoy being around them.

When you keep losing patients, you have to find ways to constantly draw in new ones. You can certainly do that by having your prices several hundred dollars less than everybody else.

If they’re not a new dentist, I would certainly check their reviews to see what type of experience other patients have had with them.

They Use Cheap Materials

It is hard for a dentist to pay for their overhead if their prices are barely above cost. Do make up profits, some dentists will purchase cheaper materials in order to make money. The one who suffers in those cases are the patients.

Is It Really Cheaper?

Let’s say you go with one of the last two dentists to save money. You get a dental crown for $400. It seems like a good deal, but only lasts you three years before you have to replace it. You get another one for $400, plus the cost of time off work. It only lasts you another three years. Again, $400. You’ve now paid $1200 and lost work three times.

Compare that will a dentist who initially charges $900 but his crowns last you $15 years. In this case, you have actually saved $600 by originally going to the dentist who costs more.

I’m not saying you have to go with a more expensive dentist to get quality. I am just saying do your homework on the dentist to make sure you are getting affordable and not cheap.

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