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Thread: a dental dilemma

  1. #1
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    a dental dilemma

    I finally found a dentist to try here and he seemed very competent. After my exam, he informed me that the one and only crown I have ("installed" after cracking a tooth on popcorn) needs to be replaced and since I don't have dental insurance, my cost will be $1600. He said it shows signs of not covering in the back and that if I don't replace it, I might need a root canal in the future when/if decay sets in. Since this is a major expenditure out of the blue, I am wondering best course of action or if I even need to have it replaced since I haven't ever had problems before. If you were me, would you:

    Get a second opinion and look for better price
    Ignore
    Just get it done and be done with it.

    I've even thought of flying back to TX and seeing my old dentist but that's probably overkill.

  2. #2
    Senior Member Tradd's Avatar
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    Can't hurt to get a second opinion.

  3. #3
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    Ask Rob, here on these forums, where he goes in Mexico for dental work. It's not much further than Texas.

  4. #4
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    Very worth getting a second opinion. Often, if asked, it is less cost than a full exam. (many dentists do it to make possible new patients feel more comfortable.)

  5. #5
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    How old is the crown? They do wear out, my mom is getting to that age. We have teeth that tend to be bad, so with 5 root canals and 5 crowns i get conservative on dental work.

    I did use to have care credit, a way to pay for just medical bills over time. It made some necessary work possible.

  6. #6
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    I have generally been a skeptic about dental insurance. Rather than pay premiums I put some money into savings every month earmarked for dental expenses. The amount is based on the long-term experience of my wife and I (we are empty-nesters now, and we drink no Mountain Dew.)

    The time to start saving for dentist bills is sort of like when is the best time to plant a tree (at least 10 years ago). But in the case of the specific "$1600" crown, is it possible to defer the date of service, without pain or disruption?

    It may be that for a crown, approximately half the cost would be paid when the crown is ordered by the dentist, and the remainder would be due when the work is completed.

    Is it possible to negotiate a buy-now-pay-later agreement for the the second payment? There are all kinds of dentists in the world. Some are compassionate towards people who honestly keep their promises, but can only afford to pay cash at $100 per month, say.

    For the first payment, if a patient does not have the cash saved by the time that it is due, there may be options that would be lower cost than carrying a credit card balance. Sometimes (not always) a local credit union or an online bank can make a personal loan for a lower annual percentage rate than your oh-so-convenient VISA or Mastercard. I have not shopped for a personal loan... I am just going on the principle that one can always shop for a more competitive interest rate.

  7. #7
    Senior Member CathyA's Avatar
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    Hmmm.....did the crown break? lose a piece of it's porcelain covering.......or is it metal? I've had a crown fall off, which the doc put back on, and I think the procelain can be repaired. I'm also thinking that the dentist could build up a little of your own tooth, if necessary, before putting the crown back on. Can you be more specific as to what happened for him to say what he did?

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    I have the savings to buy the crown but am a bit shocked by the price. I called my old dentist back in TX and they said it was done in 2006 so much older than I realized. It is a firmly attached metal and porcelain crown and my understanding is that he believes it wasn't done correctly. The space in back did not show until they cleaned my teeth so maybe covered with scale.

  9. #9
    Senior Member SteveinMN's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pinkytoe View Post
    I have the savings to buy the crown but am a bit shocked by the price.
    Don't be. I had a few crowns "installed" this year; $1600 apiece (while shockingly expensive for what it is) is not atypical.

    At that price, though, a second opinion is not at all a bad idea. The opinion, though, should be geared toward alternatives to a crown, since it strikes me as unlikely that another (stateside) dentist is going to come in much cheaper if (s)he's doing what your current dentist is doing. Then again, if it took you this long to find a dentist you like, do you want to risk going with a dentist you may not like as much?
    If Americans expended even a fraction of the energy on civic engagement that we spend on consumer ideology, our democracy would be much healthier. Can you imagine people camping out to vote? -- Charles Roberts, Amherst, Mass., Nov. 25, 2006

  10. #10
    Senior Member CathyA's Avatar
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    Yeah, the price is a little high. I live in a small town, but have the best dentist on earth. It used to cost 3-400 at his office. But when he realized how much they were charging elsewhere, it went up to at least $1,000. I have about 13 of them.
    The last one was for a smaller molar towards the front. I asked him if the small ones were the same price as the large ones and he said yes. So I told him to use a large one.

    How did you come to find this dentist? Does he seem competent? Yes, it wouldn't hurt to get a second opinion, if you can find another one with a good reputation. But you will also pay for that visit. And he will probably also want to do xrays.......unless you can get them from the first dentist.

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