Tag Archives: dental fillings

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.

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?

Bruce

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.

What Kind of Dentist Does Teeth Whitening?

I keep hearing you need a cosmetic dentist for that type of work. Does that include teeth whitening? I have a family dentist and he says he does whitening. Is it safe to use him?

Bruce

Dear Bruce,

A woman and her dentist smiling
Do You Need a Cosmetic Dentist for Teeth Whitening?

First, I want to make sure you know there isn’t a recognized specialty in cosmetic dentistry by the American Dental Association. Dentists who call themselves cosmetic dentists, are really just general dentists who do cosmetic procedures in their practice in addition to their general dentistry.

That being said, some dentists have invested much more time and energy in developing expertise in the field of cosmetics. So, for some procedures, like porcelain veneers, you will want a dentist who’s invested in training and has experience placing them. Also look at their smile gallery to see if you like the type of results they get.

Does Teeth Whitening Require a Cosmetic Dentist?

Teeth Whitening is a completely different story. Any general dentist can do it. It doesn’t take artistry, but rather general dental skills. When it comes to whitening your teeth, the role of the dentist is to provide custom fit trays for you to use the whitening gel, as well as monitor the patient’s oral health during the process.

There are always things which can go wrong, such as gum sensitivity, issues with decay, etc. That’s where his skills as a dentist, much more than a cosmetic dentist, are what you need.

I hope this helps answer your question. Most patients love teeth whitening and the results they get from it. One word or warning. If you have dental work, such as fillings or porcelain crowns, the whitening gel only works on natural tooth structure. That doesn’t mean you still can’t get your teeth whitened. It just means that (if they’re in a visible part of your smile) you’ll want to replace them after your whitening procedure so your smile will match.

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