Tag Archives: Porcelain Crowns

Can I Get Cosmetic Dentistry at a Discount?


I really dislike my smile. Many of my teeth are crooked or broken – my lateral incisors nearly stick straight out! I don’t have any photos of myself smiling as a child because I’ve always hated my teeth. I was wondering if there was a payment program I could sign up for to get a smile makeover? The majority of my teeth need to be redone, but I can’t afford it. Is there a way to get discounted cosmetic dentistry? I’d let them use my photos as promotional material, would that help me get a discount?


Pam, from Sterling, Colorado


Hi Pam,

Unfortunately, offering the dentist the use of your photo in exchange for a smile makeover isn’t going to get you a discount. Most patients are so happy with their crowns or veneers that they agree to let the dentist use their photo anyway. So that isn’t the best bargaining chip.

The good news is, the dental field is full of dentists with integrity and empathy. Many dentists volunteer or work with charities to help others access care they may not otherwise get. Affordable dental offices understand that many people need extensive dental work, but lack the savings or insurance to get it.

Fortunately, many dentists offer payment plans or Care Credit to help patients afford the care they need. However, offering these options to a patient with bad credit or who couldn’t afford it in the first place can ruin the relationship between doctors and patients, so have an open and honest conversation with your dentist.

Avoid going to a “cheap” dentist for cosmetic work, as it can cost more in the long run. Luckily, many offices will let you make payments on your treatment, as long as it is fully paid for prior to your first appointment. You can also talk to you dentist to see which parts of your smile to prioritize. In your case, you probably want a treatment plan for lateral incisors.  Doing a little bit at a time is the most affordable way to access cosmetic dentistry.

This blog post is brought to you by Phoenix affordable dentist, Dr. Hillary Peck, of Peck Family Dentistry. Please note Dr. Peck is a licensed general dentist with years of experience in treating cosmetic dentistry cases.


The Filling Over my Root Canal Fell Out!


I had a root canal done back when I had dental insurance. Now, I don’t have insurance anymore and the filling covering the gap the root canal left behind has fallen out. Since I lack the funds to see a dentist, I’d usually let it slide, but I’m worried. There’s a metal rod that’s been exposed, and what’s worse, it’s loose – I can wiggle it with my tongue. Is there anything I can do on my own, or is seeing a dentist my only solution? I need an affordable solution.

Barney, Poughkeepsie, NY


Hi Barney,

I’m sorry to hear about your situation. Root canal treatments can fail if they are not protected from saliva in the mouth. Loosening the protective filling can cause another infection, which means another root canal is needed, or else you will lose the tooth.

I’d recommend you go see a dentist that caters to your needs. If you explain your situation, they should be able to fix this for low cost (or if you’re lucky, no cost.) There are two different solutions I would recommend: The first is quick and easy, and can be done using Cavit (a paste that comes in a tube, and hardens when exposed to moisture – such as in the mouth).

A more permanent but still affordable solution would be to create a filling around a metal post using a bonded core material. In your case, if you can not afford to come back for a crown, this filling would last for several years. Once you have dental insurance again, or are in a more-secure financial state, you can complete the next step of treatment – a new root canal topped with the porcelain crown you need.

This blog is brought to you by Phoenix affordable dentist, Dr. Hillary Peck.

Is a cracked porcelain crown an emergency?

My front teeth have had porcelain crowns for many years. The left one has had a small imperfection on it all this time, but is was not visible to the eye. However, I am now beginning to see it and am able to feel it. I worry that the crown will soon break and I will lose it. If replacing the crown is necessary, I’ll go that route, but want to be sure this is not something for which I should see an emergency dentist.

Thank you,

Dear Eric,

While this is not an emergency, it would be a good idea to find an experienced cosmetic dentist and have the crown replaced. If not, you are correct, you will chance it completely breaking.

You mentioned that, while your crown has always had a slight imperfection, you were unable to see it or feel it. This is called a craze line. Teeth and porcelain have these and they are typically no reason for concern. However, you mentioned that you are now able to see the defect, as well as feel it. This indicates there has been movement which has resulted in the now visible difference in the surface of the crown.

Once a cosmetic dentist has the opportunity to assess the crowns, he or she may suggest replacing all of them, due to their age, or just the one. If just the one crown is replaced, the color-matching skill of the dentist will need to be excellent, in order to ensure the new crown matches the original ones. Do be cautious if you are told that the only way to ensure a perfect color match is to replace all of the crowns. That is a clear sign that the dentist does not have the skill-set to match the new crown to the original one.

This post is sponsored by Phoenix emergency dentist, Dr. Hillary Peck.

What should I know before getting Lumineers?

I’m thinking about getting Lumineers. I’ve seen them advertised and they always look great. Are they too good to be true? I’m wondering if there is anything I should know prior to making an appointment.

Thank you,

Dear Becky,
You made a smart choice by asking about Lumineers. Before you commit to the procedure, keep these four pieces of information in mind.

  1. “Lumineers” is a general concept that has been given a branded name. To give you the back story, DenMat is the company that makes Lumineers and claims to be the first to create these veneers. While some may argue this, they were certainly the first to market the product well. But, there are dozens of companies that now make these veneers, some of which are labs which do not use any kind of branded trade name.
  2. The thin veneers may or may not be the right option for you.  One of the main advantages to these veneers is that they are able to be placed with a little adjustment to your tooth’s natural structure. However, sometimes the veneers are not thick enough to make an even smile, while other times, they’re too thick and awkward. Be sure to speak to a cosmetic dentist to see what will best fit your needs.
  3. A dentist’s skills are more important than the brand. Not only did the company that makes Lumineers market to patients, but they also marketed to general dentists, as a way to include cosmetic dentistry in their practice. This is a great feature for those dentists naturally gifted in aesthetics but gives false confidence to those who are not. The majority of dentists need extensive training to produce cosmetically beautiful results, but many may elect to pass on this training. This results in the use of this method without the proper training, yielding bulky teeth that do not look natural.
  4. Searching for a skilled cosmetic dentist will get better results than searching for a procedure. Like any profession, dentists have different strengths and weaknesses. Some are skilled more for crowns and oral surgery, while you should see different dentists for overcoming dental fear or to get a smile makeover. For the best results, search for a dentist who has devoted a great deal of time to become a skilled cosmetic dentist. Check the doctor’s credentials and extra training. Look at his or her smile gallery. Read reviews.

Best of luck to you!

This blog is sponsored by the office of Phoenix Lumineers provider, Dr. Hillary Peck.

Affordable Full-Mouth Reconstruction?

I never got to go to the dentist as a child. As a young adult, I couldn’t afford it. Now that I’m in my thirties, I decided to bite the bullet. I wasn’t surprised to be told I needed a lot of work. The dentist said he usually recommends a full-mouth reconstruction. He explained what it was, but the price was well out of my ability. It sounds like something that would really help me though. Is there some way to get an affordable full-mouth reconstruction?


Dear Elaine,

A smiling blonde with a beautiful smile

Even if you had the money for a full-mouth reconstruction, I’d recommend you get a second opinion. There may be a better way to repair your smile without crowning every tooth. That alone will give you more affordable dental care.

Go to another dentist and ask him to first list out all the work your mouth needs. It’s very likely you have teeth which don’t need work. You didn’t mention having any pain, so it doesn’t sound like you’re losing any teeth and need something like dental implants.

If it turns out you do need a full-mouth reconstruction, you need to verify the training and credentials your dentist has. This is a serious procedure which is well beyond what a dentist learns in dental school. It requires an advanced knowledge of both aesthetics and reconstructive dentistry. If they don’t get the aesthetics right, your smile will look horrible. If they don’t get the reconstructive done properly, you’ll end up in pain for the rest of your life from a misplaced bite.

How to Afford Dental Care When You Need a Lot of Work

It’s hard when you haven’t been able to go to the dentist because of the amount of work you end up needing. It sounds like you’ve been fortunate and haven’t needed any emergency dental care. As I mentioned earlier, you want to preserve as much natural tooth structure as possible.

When he lists out the work you need, have him list it from most urgent to least. A good dentist will also give you all your alternatives. So if you need a tooth replaced, which I hope you don’t, and the teeth on either side of it need crowns, it would make more sense to get a dental bridge instead of a dental implant. It’s like getting three procedures in one.

The reason for the list is to allow you to separate out your treatment into affordable bites. Make sure he tells you about any procedures you can double up on to save money.

This blog is brought to you by Dr. Kevin 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?


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.

Affordable Neighborhood Dentist? Where?

Why does where you live seem to determine how much you have to pay for the dentist? We stretched ourselves financially in order to live in a better neighborhood, but the dentist here is almost double what our old neighborhood dentist cost. I don’t want to have to drive across town into the heart of an area we felt was unsafe in order to get affordable dental care.


Dear Nora,

Dollar sign hatched from an egg

It would be nice if the quality of all dentists were reliably equal, but that isn’t the case. The cost of a dentist varies based on several factors, though it is possible to find highly skilled dentists which are affordable, even in better neighborhoods. First, I’ll go over some factors which affect cost.

Building Costs can Affect the Cost of Dentistry

You’ve heard the expression, “Location, location, location…” Often offices in better neighborhoods have to pay exorbitant rental costs on their building. It’s hard for them to stay afloat, so their prices are higher so they can stay in business in that area.

This is one of the reasons Dr. Peck chose a location just outside a more expensive area. This enabled him to keep his costs reasonable for people in more than one type of neighborhood.

Skill Can Affect the Affordability of Dentistry

While some dentists do not raise their prices simply because they have exceptional skills, some do. They’ve spent a great deal of money and time furthering both their education and their skills. They need to make up the cost of that education.

Affordable Dentistry versus Cheap Dentistry

On the other end of the spectrum, there are dentists who lower their prices significantly just to draw patients in, but the quality of their work isn’t up to snuff. They keep their profits up by purchasing lower quality materials.

Think of it this way. What’s more affordable, a crown that lasts fifteen years and costs $900.00 or a crown that lasts four years and costs $500.00? Obviously, the cheaper crown ends up costing you significantly more in the long run.

Ideally, you want to find a dentist who does quality work at a reasonable price. Most dentists will offer some type of payment plan option for work that has a higher cost because of the nature of the procedure.

This blog is brought to you by Dr. Kevin Peck.

When Do You Leave a Pediatric Dentist?

Everyone’s saying my daughter needs to move away from a pediatric dentist. But, we have a good relationship with our pediatric dentist. He lets parents come back into the operatory which helps me feel safe about her being treated. I’m not sure I want to let my sixteen-year-old loose with an adult dentist who may or may not allow me back with her. When do we have to leave?

Sandra Q.

Dear Sandra,

Child with Pediatric Dentist

There isn’t a universal rule for when your child, son or daughter, should switch. Each pediatric dental office usually has their own policy. I’d talk to them and see what their policy is.

One thing I don’t want you worrying about is the safety of your daughter with dentists. I know there have been some stories in the news that would make any parent nervous, but those are very rare indeed. If you’re afraid, many general dentists will also let parents back into the operatory. When you’re calling around, simply ask them.

Are General Dentists Qualified to Treat Children?

If you’re looking for a sort of transitional period, there are general dentists who treat children. They’re perfectly qualified. All of them did a pediatric rotation during dental school. They just didn’t do the extra time to specialize in it. By the time they’re sixteen, you rarely have to worry about something coming up totally pediatric related that they’ll need to give you a specialist recommendation.

In fact, their jaws are developing more into an adult’s, so things like crowns and composite fillings may be better suited to an “adult” dentist. Teenagers also start getting interested in procedures such as teeth whitening, which most pediatric dentists don’t offer. Be aware, though, that their bite is still developing so don’t listen to a dentist who suggests that they’re ready for something like porcelain veneers.

This blog is brought to you by Dr. Kevin Peck.

Why Doesn’t My Dentist Consider My Broken Crown an Emergency?

I was flossing my teeth and my temporary crown broke. My dentist has an emergency line. I called him and told him what happened. I wanted to come in right then,, but he said to come in the morning and he’d try to work me in. Why doesn’t he consider it an emergency?

Katie S.

Dear Katie,

If you had some other symptoms, such as pain, swelling, or a fever then it would be a true dental emergency. I wouldn’t be too upset at your dentist. He is having you come in first thing in the morning. They’ll make you a priority. They do understand how important it is and will place a new temporary.

It’s not uncommon for a temporary crown to break. They aren’t as strong as their permanent replacements. Now, if your dentist would have said see you in a week, then I would have said he’s being neglectful. Seeing you first thing in the morning sounds like he cares.

I know you’re worried. It’s scary being the patient and having something not go according to plan. But, just sleeping overnight won’t damage the natural tooth which is there. Your dentist wouldn’t put you at risk.

Just don’t take any unnecessary risks like eating on the damaged tooth.

This blog is brought to you by Dr. Kevin Peck.



Why won’t my insurance cover all porcelain crowns?

I wanted to get an all porcelain crown, especially because it is on my front tooth, but my insurance will only cover metal based ones. Do you know why?

Sara L. – Kentucky


Insurance companies generally only want to pay for the bare bones treatment. In your case, that will mean a crown with a metal foundation. That doesn’t mean you can’t get the crown you want.

Your dentist will likely let you upgrade to the all-porcelain crown and just charge you the difference from your insurance. If he’s an affordable dentist, then he (or she) will have payment plan options for you.

Good luck with your crown. And, you’re right, on a front tooth you’ll want an all-porcelain crown. It will be much more natural looking.

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