Author Topic: Insane quote from a dentist - need some advice (maybe from someone in the field)  (Read 14033 times)

NewStachian

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My wife has bad teeth. Her father is the same way, so I'm convinced at least a large portion of it is genetic (she brushes/flosses/rinses all the time). She had her annual checkup yesterday.

She walked out with a quote for $29,000, of which our insurance company would pay $1,000. Is this really how much dental work costs? I think it's like 1-2 root canals and 10-ish crowns.

I guess my question is does anybody have any advice for how to approach this problem? Does it seem like this dentist is charging too much? (I think 4.6k for a single root canal) Does anyone have dental insurance they recommend that covers more than $1k? I'm also considering getting a second opinion or picking up my military reserve insurance for a year just to pay for this.

If this is the going rate for this stuff and dental insurance never covers it, I guess I'll just bite the bullet and cut the check, but it just seems insanely high to me.

Thanks in advance for the help!

Gin1984

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My mom had amazing insurance and $1000/person/year is standard.  However, is that quote with or without insurance?  Our insurance would negotiate a better price with the dentist than the "cash standard".  But I think I'd be more worried in that in six months she got so much damage to need ten crowns.  But wait, you said annual check up, but you are suppose to go in every six months for cleaning, some people with damage go more.  How she compensating for the damage?   

NewStachian

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I should have clarified. She missed her visits last year, so she hasn't been in 2 years. She used to get 6-month cleanings up until the last 2 years for some reason (Probably the fact that she moved twice to different states)

So, you'd recommend calling the insurance company and asking them what they can do to negotiate?

OldDogNewTrick

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I've never had the same dentist do both root canal and crown...always gone to an endodontist for root canals. I've negotiated root canals down to $1200.00. Same with crowns, I've had to get 3 over the past 3 years, (aging teeth). Those were around $1200.00 as well. I can't explain it but I typically end up paying the same whether I have dental insurance or not. I'm not shy about shopping around and negotiating price.

Your wife's quote is definitely on the high side. Consider it a starting point. Get a 2nd opinion, maybe a 3rd. Break it down into easy to manage phases.

Now if 12 month ago your wife was given a clean bill of health by the dentist and now half her mouth is in need of major work.... well, that doesn't sound quite right.


Gin1984

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I should have clarified. She missed her visits last year, so she hasn't been in 2 years. She used to get 6-month cleanings up until the last 2 years for some reason (Probably the fact that she moved twice to different states)

So, you'd recommend calling the insurance company and asking them what they can do to negotiate?
No, I'd ask your dentist to check the already negotiated rate with your insurance.

NewStachian

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I've never had the same dentist do both root canal and crown...always gone to an endodontist for root canals.

I think this shows how little I know about the topic. I heard my wife mention she went to an endodontist, but I didn't really know that was different from a dentist. I also didn't know what a crown was until yesterday.

Now if 12 month ago your wife was given a clean bill of health by the dentist and now half her mouth is in need of major work.... well, that doesn't sound quite right.

She would always need at least some work done when she was going every 6 months. She was expecting a lot of stuff to have to be done. She doesn't think the amount of work is unreasonable for her situation.

Our insurance would negotiate a better price with the dentist than the "cash standard".   

I will definitely give negotiating a shot, both through the insurance company and myself.


Thank you both for the responses so far.

Gin1984

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I've never had the same dentist do both root canal and crown...always gone to an endodontist for root canals.

I think this shows how little I know about the topic. I heard my wife mention she went to an endodontist, but I didn't really know that was different from a dentist. I also didn't know what a crown was until yesterday.

Now if 12 month ago your wife was given a clean bill of health by the dentist and now half her mouth is in need of major work.... well, that doesn't sound quite right.

She would always need at least some work done when she was going every 6 months. She was expecting a lot of stuff to have to be done. She doesn't think the amount of work is unreasonable for her situation.

Our insurance would negotiate a better price with the dentist than the "cash standard".   

I will definitely give negotiating a shot, both through the insurance company and myself.


Thank you both for the responses so far.
If the insurance has negotiated and they are paying the $1000, the dentist is not suppose to add any additional discounts for you, per their contract.  That being said, anything over that amount could be negotiated separately.

soccerluvof4

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In the future check out Colleges near by all State, Community etc.... You can pay pennies on the dollars for cleanings and Dental care of any kind.  Braces , crowns to cleanings. A local community college by us 20$ for a cleaning. Major Unniversity by us couple hundred bucks for braces vs thousands. One of the best kept secrets.

Same with Auto repair. Friend of mine smashed front of truck was quoted 1200$. Local trade school 180$. And looked like you would expect from any of the best body shops out there.

Alectejas

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How about a combination vacation / dental work?  Costa Rica and Mexico come to mind.  Many of the dentists and doctors have been trained in the US, speak English and do good work.  I have never done this myself, but I know people who have.  It may be worth a look.
http://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g309293-i1208-k2204994-San_Jose_Costa_Rica_Considering_Medical_Dental_Tourism-San_Jose_San_Jose_Metro_Province_of_.html

bogart

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I'm sorry you're needing to deal with this.  I've had several root canals and crowns and they're expensive (even as noted, with insurance) and no fun.  Typically the endodontist does the root canal and the dentist the crown, in my experience, in 2 steps -- a prep to fit the crown plus a temporary crown, and then a permanent crown, which can be either ceramic or gold.  The latter is more expensive and doesn't blend in, but more durable -- mine have been on rear molars and I've opted for gold.

I think the first question I would ask the dentist/endodontist in your wife's shoes would be whether this work can be spaced out over several years.  If her teeth are abscessed, the answer is clearly no, but if the damage is less invasive/obtrusive, that may be possible -- the advantage of course being that this allows more dental coverage to kick in (assuming her policy like mine allows $1K per year).  It also allows you to use flex money (tax sheltered medical expenses) if that is available through either of your employers.  Though an alternative strategy would be to get it all done in the SAME year and see if that qualifies you for reduced taxes (you can deduct a portion of high medical/dental expenses, I think it's the amount that exceeds 10% of your AGI).

At least in the state that I live in/system I'm part of, crowns can be billed either when they are fitted (prep appointment) or the time that they are "installed."  This can help with spacing the expenses out, if that turns out to be a goal.

Your wife may also want to talk to her dentist about whether she'd benefit from more frequent cleanings.  I too have baddish teeth and my dentist recommends every 3 months.  I've read up and this seems to be backed by the literature -- some people are actually OK with once-a-year cleanings and others benefit from more-frequent-than-every-6-month cleanings.  Seems to me the former like to wander around telling those of us in the latter group that if we only tried harder ... but this relates to things like mouth chemistry (Ph and such) and enamel consistency and is not 100% within our control, as you clearly know.  Personally I've settled on once every 4 months as this means my insurance covers 2/3 of my yearly cleanings and I only have to cover 1 ... and the gap between cleanings isn't much larger than what my dentist recommends -- or so I tell myself.

Thegoblinchief

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How about a combination vacation / dental work?  Costa Rica and Mexico come to mind.  Many of the dentists and doctors have been trained in the US, speak English and do good work.  I have never done this myself, but I know people who have.  It may be worth a look.
http://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g309293-i1208-k2204994-San_Jose_Costa_Rica_Considering_Medical_Dental_Tourism-San_Jose_San_Jose_Metro_Province_of_.html

Not sure about dental work, but I have also heard Thailand mentioned as a medical tourist destination.

Definitely shop around, but dental work IS expensive in the States. A dental school may be your best bet if she's not willing to travel.

Emilyngh

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My wife has bad teeth. Her father is the same way, so I'm convinced at least a large portion of it is genetic (she brushes/flosses/rinses all the time). She had her annual checkup yesterday.

She walked out with a quote for $29,000, of which our insurance company would pay $1,000. Is this really how much dental work costs? I think it's like 1-2 root canals and 10-ish crowns.

I guess my question is does anybody have any advice for how to approach this problem? Does it seem like this dentist is charging too much? (I think 4.6k for a single root canal) Does anyone have dental insurance they recommend that covers more than $1k? I'm also considering getting a second opinion or picking up my military reserve insurance for a year just to pay for this.

If this is the going rate for this stuff and dental insurance never covers it, I guess I'll just bite the bullet and cut the check, but it just seems insanely high to me.

Thanks in advance for the help!

For this much money, I'd definitely recommend a second opinion and maybe a third.   I'd try to find a dentist who seemed to be pragmatic (one who suggests what's critical and what could be spread out, who doesn't seem to use fear or push procedures, etc) maybe by asking friends and colleagues if they seem to have such a dentist.   I'd look for a dentist who DOES NOT seem to have the latest super fancy equipment and office, b/c IMO this is a sign that there is often greater pressure to bring in more money to pay for their office/equipment.

IME, one can go to 3 different dentists and get 3 totally different suggestions for work.  I'm sure she needs some, but I wouldn't be surprised if one dentist said $29k, one said $15k, and one said $9k now and then wait and see if she needed another couple of $k down the road.    I'm sure there are honest dentists out there, but IMO the conflict of interest strongly encourages them to see a need for work that also happens to be very profitable for them.   

If all estimates do come out in the $15k+ range, I'd seriously look into legit overseas work as others suggested (or even travel in the US to a dentist college).   Spending $700 on a plane ticket and hotel could same $$$$ at these prices.

mm1970

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My crown was $1400.  Add in root canals...yeah, that's not too far off.

But certainly get a second opinion.

Cpa Cat

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Prices are highly regional for dentistry. For example, where I live (Kansas), I would anticipate a bill for all of that work to be less than half of that (about $1200 per crown - $12,000 and $1000 for each root canal). So I'm not sure you even have to leave the country to do some medical tourism.

frugaliknowit

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I have had a lot of expensive dental work done due to an accident I had as a child.  Here's what I know which should apply to your situation:

1.  Dental insurance is almost never cost effective, unless your employer subsidizes it (i.e. they actually throw money into the plan).  My employer does not.  Even when I have collected, it's predominantly smoke and mirrors (not really insurance, but a budgeting tool).

2.  Any dentist with "half of a brain" (common sense) would propose breaking up such a large dollar amount of work into milestones.  $29K, my God are you kidding me!!

As others have suggested, get other consults.  Consider overseas if you can actually verify the dentist's work with an actual patient that you meet in person (difficult).  Good luck.

Primm

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Not sure about dental work, but I have also heard Thailand mentioned as a medical tourist destination.

Definitely shop around, but dental work IS expensive in the States. A dental school may be your best bet if she's not willing to travel.

I was going to suggest Thailand as well. A lot of the dentists over there trained in Australia and are quite competent, apparently.

CommonCents

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Be careful on going with the lowest price though - look at reviews carefully.  I too have bad teeth (genetics, no floride growing up, who knows) and I am in the process of redoing work a prior dentist did poorly.  For example, she put in a crown, and the current dentist showed me how I have a line of infection under it.  (And I have a crown for a front tooth in the first place because she couldn't repair a filling that fell out, and the crown is much bulkier than the original tooth.)  Unfortunately, insurance won't cover a redo until 5 years pass from when she gave me it.  I think I have another year to go, but there's other work to replace in the meantime, joy!

Argyle

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So two years ago she didn't need any of this and all of a sudden she needs several root canals and ten crowns?  Wait a minute!

A second opinion is definitely called for, and a third opinion.  I'd wager the next people you consult recommend far less.  I've had a couple of new dentists try this kind of thing on me.  Then I'd go to other dentists and they'd be incredulous.  There are sharks and frauds in every profession.  For her to have developed this many problems in two years, I'd be very suspicious that that's what's going on here too.  Don't even tell the new dentist what's been recommended.  Just get an assessment.

It seems very possible that this could be spread out over several years, as well.  That's if any of it even needs doing.

DoubleDown

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SECOND OPINION, PLEASE!!

I'm shouting because it is critically important she ask another dentist to evaluate. This dentist might be completely off base. I once had a new dentist that "diagnosed" all kinds of alleged problems with my teeth during a routine checkup. Since I was feeling fine and skeptical of this diagnosis, I saw another dentist who said everything was fine. I said, "Completely fine? What about advanced gum disease, or the need for a crown on this tooth, and...?" They said, "No of course not, why would you think you have problems?"

I told them the other dentist said I had all of them, and this dentist pronounced them crazy or incompetent. 10+ years later, all is still fine with my teeth and gums.

mikaty

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We have a relative that lives in the US and every time she vists South Africa she has a bunch of dental work done - now I know why!

Eric

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Not sure about dental work, but I have also heard Thailand mentioned as a medical tourist destination.

Definitely shop around, but dental work IS expensive in the States. A dental school may be your best bet if she's not willing to travel.

I was going to suggest Thailand as well. A lot of the dentists over there trained in Australia and are quite competent, apparently.

Now is not a good time to travel to Thailand.  They just had a military coup and there's a lot of instability with at least the threat of civil war.
« Last Edit: May 23, 2014, 09:20:54 PM by Eric »

Primm

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Well obviously you wouldn't do it right now, but during peacetime (every second year or so!) Thailand is an amazing place.

Nords

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Not sure about dental work, but I have also heard Thailand mentioned as a medical tourist destination.

Definitely shop around, but dental work IS expensive in the States. A dental school may be your best bet if she's not willing to travel.

I was going to suggest Thailand as well. A lot of the dentists over there trained in Australia and are quite competent, apparently.

Now is not a good time to travel to Thailand.  They just had a military coup and there's a lot of instability with at least the threat of civil war.
I just spent three weeks in Bangkok last December, and I'd suggest that now is just as good a time to travel to Thailand as it's been for the last decade.  The military coup is largely "business as usual", and for a city of its size Bangkok is still much more peaceful than the average American metropolis.  One political comparison might be to 1974 America right after Nixon resigned the presidency.  "Civil war" is, at best, hyperbole. 

The civil/political issues do not affect street life, unless you plan to spend your days hanging out in front of government buildings or at large public gathering sites like the National Monument.  It's been bad for business, with the result that the currency and the living expenses will be getting cheaper. 

I was very impressed by my Bumrungrad checkup.  I'd highly recommend their dental services (http://www.bumrungrad.com/en/dental-exam-surgery-implants) and I can also recommend local hotels/apartments within walking distance.
http://the-military-guide.com/2014/02/06/medical-tourism-at-bangkoks-bumrungrad-hospital/
http://the-military-guide.com/2014/01/30/lifestyles-in-retirement-bangkok/

shadowmoss

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I'm going to Dr. Rubio in Algodones, Mexico accross the border from Yuma, Az.  I got my teeth cleaned for $30, and I'm going to have them evaluate me for an implant.  Another blogger who just got an implant from them paid (from memory) $1500 USD.

http://mobilecodgers.blogspot.com/2014/05/the-joy-of-getting-tooth-back.html

He gives a good review of Dr. Rubio's clinic, and when I went I found it to be basically as he said it would be.  If you want more info, PM me.  I drove down from Phoenix, about 2 hours(?) and played at the casino on the US side of the border until closer to my appointment time, paid to park on the US side of the border and walked to his clinic.  Walked around Algodones for awhile after my appointment, walked back to my Jeep and went back to the casino.  You could fly into Phoenix and rent a car and drive down and stay at the casino to get the work done, have a vacation, and still come out ahead on the money.

Daleth

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A dental school may be your best bet if she's not willing to travel.

Seconding the dental school suggestion. Obviously you need to get a second opinion, preferably from a dentist who is not an endodontist (because then the person telling you you need root canals is not the person who's going to be getting paid to do your root canals), but if the need for the work is established then the first place I would call is the nearest dental school. It could be a 5-hour drive away and it's still well worth it. I've saved thousands by going to the dental school, and my experience has been that you get excellent care, because while the person doing the work is a student, they are supervised by a professor of dentistry who is also there staring into your mouth and advising them.

Joggernot

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If you are anywhere near Mexico, go there to get the work done.  Sources of finding a good dentist are the local Senior Center and all the old folks who visit there.  They often go south where a filling is $20 and a crown is closer to $200.  At that quote, you can probably fly down, get the work done, and fly back and still be under that quote.

happyfeet

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I had two root canals fail on the same tooth.  One was done by my general dentist. He really messed it up. I would recommend an endodontist  for sure.  I ended up with an implant. So three crowns later and about $10,000 on one tooth.

Get estimates.  See a specialist.

rocklebock

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I'm going to Dr. Rubio in Algodones, Mexico accross the border from Yuma, Az. 

I have friends who make a day trip to Mexico for dental work while they're visiting family in Arizona.

Bärtle

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I am working in the dental field,not as a dentist though.I would recommend a second or third opinion!!!I have whole mouth restoration(28 crowns)but didn't pay that much!
Crowns and root canals are expensive but don't cost 29k.Dentists charge between 800-1200$ per tooth prepped,the crown itself costs between 100-400$.In which area are you living?

magga

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Don't do it. At least not yet.  Get a second opinion.
I have had dental work done in San Jose Costa Rica. I had 6 implants, 1 root canal, sinus lifts and will have a total of 14 crowns put in.  Total cost will be around $15k.  I was quoted 3800 for 1 implant supported crown, before I decided to investigate the tourism route. 
There is a very active forum for Costa Rica dentistry over at topix (over 5000 posts). It should help answer some questions and help in the decision process. Good Luck.
http://www.topix.com/forum/world/costa-rica/THGCO47LHH1FS7DR7

Latwell

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Does it seem like this dentist is charging too much? (I think 4.6k for a single root canal) Does anyone have dental insurance they recommend that covers more than $1k?


My SO didn't have dental insurance at the time. He just had a root canal. Close to $3,000 for the root canal + crown. He's now learning the consequences of not taking care of his teeth and putting things off. I learned my lesson years ago.

$29k seems high to me. But I also know that prices vary greatly from dentist to dentist and from area to area.

IDK, in my opinion, it wouldn't hurt to have her see another reputable dentist and see what they can offer since 29K is a price big price tag.


The other problem with dental insurance: Most carriers require a waiting period (1yr) before they will pay for major services (however, iDental on the obamacare website didn't have a wait period, which is why I made my SO take it until he gets all his problems cleared up).

NewStachian

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Sooooo... we got a second opinion... the second dentist quotes us for $300 for what she needed done. He said the other dentist was fishing for work and she only needs a few cavities filled.

Thanks everyone for the help!

DeepEllumStache

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Wow...  minor difference there.

rubor

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Sooooo... we got a second opinion... the second dentist quotes us for $300 for what she needed done. He said the other dentist was fishing for work and she only needs a few cavities filled.

Thanks everyone for the help!

Sadly, that's not an atypical story. Dentists have an inherent conflict of interest because the more they do the more they get paid. Always worth it to get a second opinion especially if you can remove the profit motive. My wife was told that she needed to have six cavities filled by a local dentist, but went to the military hospital nearby and was told everything was fine.

boarder42

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I'd do second opinion too.. my father is about to retire from his Practice, and he ran into people all the time that came for a second opinion and didnt need half the work the previous dentist said. 

ALSO AS A MUSTACHIAN YOU ALL SHOULD BE FLOSSING ONCE A DAY.  THIS FALLS INTO THE PREVENTABLE CATEGORY AS FAR AS HEALTHCARE GOES.  A GOOD MUSTACHIAN WILL SPEND 2 MINS A DAY FLOSSING VS 29K TO GET THEIR TEETH FIXED. 

Trust me its more important than brushing.  100% more important. meaning if you never brushed again and only flossed your teeth would last much longer than what most people do ... brush and not floss. 

Philbert

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I vote for getting a second opinion. Other posters in this thread have mentioned attempted shakedowns by dentists. This happened to me. I went into a fancy dentist's office for a check up, and I was told that I had 2 cavities and would need a crown. I brush and floss every day. A few weeks later, I got a second opinion. The dentist took x-rays and showed me that my teeth were fine. No cavities. I went on Yelp, and lots of people complained about fancy dentist making them get all this work they didn't need done...and the dentist would do a terrible job so they had to keep going back. Unfortunately, dentists are businessmen, too. You have to be careful.

okashira

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I'd do second opinion too.. my father is about to retire from his Practice, and he ran into people all the time that came for a second opinion and didnt need half the work the previous dentist said. 

ALSO AS A MUSTACHIAN YOU ALL SHOULD BE FLOSSING ONCE A DAY.  THIS FALLS INTO THE PREVENTABLE CATEGORY AS FAR AS HEALTHCARE GOES.  A GOOD MUSTACHIAN WILL SPEND 2 MINS A DAY FLOSSING VS 29K TO GET THEIR TEETH FIXED. 

Trust me its more important than brushing.  100% more important. meaning if you never brushed again and only flossed your teeth would last much longer than what most people do ... brush and not floss.

Genetics. I've flossed maybe 2 times my entire life. Never a cavity or any dental work EVER at 32.
I regularly forget to brush in the morning as well ... :-/ and reach for a mint

bye-bye Ms. FancyPants

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I would get a second opinion. I have had vastly different quotes from dentists given to me with basically the same plan of care. Shop around!

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yyc-phil

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Not sure about dental work, but I have also heard Thailand mentioned as a medical tourist destination.

Definitely shop around, but dental work IS expensive in the States. A dental school may be your best bet if she's not willing to travel.

I was going to suggest Thailand as well. A lot of the dentists over there trained in Australia and are quite competent, apparently.

Now is not a good time to travel to Thailand.  They just had a military coup and there's a lot of instability with at least the threat of civil war.
I just spent three weeks in Bangkok last December, and I'd suggest that now is just as good a time to travel to Thailand as it's been for the last decade.  The military coup is largely "business as usual", and for a city of its size Bangkok is still much more peaceful than the average American metropolis.  One political comparison might be to 1974 America right after Nixon resigned the presidency.  "Civil war" is, at best, hyperbole. 

The civil/political issues do not affect street life, unless you plan to spend your days hanging out in front of government buildings or at large public gathering sites like the National Monument.  It's been bad for business, with the result that the currency and the living expenses will be getting cheaper. 

I was very impressed by my Bumrungrad checkup.  I'd highly recommend their dental services (http://www.bumrungrad.com/en/dental-exam-surgery-implants) and I can also recommend local hotels/apartments within walking distance.
http://the-military-guide.com/2014/02/06/medical-tourism-at-bangkoks-bumrungrad-hospital/
http://the-military-guide.com/2014/01/30/lifestyles-in-retirement-bangkok/

+1 Thailand and many other Asian countries like China, Japan, etc. have top-notch medical and dental care for a fraction of what it costs us in Canada or the USA, even if you factor airfare and expenses. I would suggest to get your dental/medical work done immediately, then spend a few weeks to recover before heading home to explore this magnificent country or just chill out. In Thailand, just stay away from any area where protests are held, it is business (or pleasure) as usual everywhere else. Most countries in Asia, including China even in train stations, are very safe.

The Hamster

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Not sure about dental work, but I have also heard Thailand mentioned as a medical tourist destination.

Definitely shop around, but dental work IS expensive in the States. A dental school may be your best bet if she's not willing to travel.

I was going to suggest Thailand as well. A lot of the dentists over there trained in Australia and are quite competent, apparently.

Now is not a good time to travel to Thailand.  They just had a military coup and there's a lot of instability with at least the threat of civil war.

Meh, military coups happen in Thailand every second year.  I've just had US relatives and Aussie friends holiday there last month without any problems whatsoever.  They said you wouldn't even know there was a coup (they were in Phuket). Plus, you can fly direct to Phuket and bypass Bangers completely.  Bangkok private hospital in Phuket does amazing dental and cosmetic surgery.  Plus you get a tropical holiday to boot.
Thailand is extremely popular for cosmetic holidays here in Australia.  And I can vouch the hospitals and surgeons are top notch, better than hospitals in Australia if you want the truth.

Edit - I see your wife doesn't need all that work after all.  WTF with the first dentist!!!!  Did he think he was not going to get found out?
« Last Edit: June 13, 2014, 04:38:50 PM by The Hamster »

greaper007

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A little off topic, but my new rule for dentists is if they ask me "what don't you like about your smile," I head for the hills.    I had a dentist like this and it seemed like every other visit he would find a cavity or some other problem.    Now I go to a dentist frequented by working class people and they always give me a clean bill of health.

NewStachian

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Edit - I see your wife doesn't need all that work after all.  WTF with the first dentist!!!!  Did he think he was not going to get found out?

I have no idea. She was told she needed something like 8-10 crowns. The second dentist said "I don't see anything to even put a crown on."

It blows my mind that 2 "professionals" can have recommendations that differ in price by ~8,500%. Considering the second came very highly recommended from a coworker who has gone there for 20+ years... I value the second opinion way more despite also having a drastically reduced price.

rubor

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Edit - I see your wife doesn't need all that work after all.  WTF with the first dentist!!!!  Did he think he was not going to get found out?

I have no idea. She was told she needed something like 8-10 crowns. The second dentist said "I don't see anything to even put a crown on."

It blows my mind that 2 "professionals" can have recommendations that differ in price by ~8,500%. Considering the second came very highly recommended from a coworker who has gone there for 20+ years... I value the second opinion way more despite also having a drastically reduced price.

Though there are honest dentists out there, this is a major problem. The profit motive is really strong, and the dentist has way more information than the patient does, so they have a temptation to tell you that you need a lot of work done.

A physician on the other hand is usually paid through an insurance company with strong fraud protections, and there is a strong separate fear of being sued by a malpractice attorney for overtreatment that results in a complication. So while there are  dishonest physicians, those two forces and inherent ethics keep most physicians in line.

The only way to slowly reduce crap like this from happening is social media/reviews. Write the story of what happened on Yelp or another dentist review site. If enough people do the same, that will eventually correct the problem.

SnackDog

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What do you call a doctor who flunks out of medical school?  A dentist.  (Seinfeld)

rubor

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What do you call a doctor who flunks out of medical school?  A dentist.  (Seinfeld)

You're a rabid anti-dentite, Snackdog!

TheCatWhisperer

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Just out of curiosity to the OP: Was this a "corporate" style dental office? I've had several people show up at my office for second opinions that had ridiculous treatment recommendations from these types of places.

Also, just a word of caution for dental tourism. I'm sure there is some really nice work being done across borders, but I've seen some really shitty stuff, too. And with poorly done dental work, it's rarely obvious at the time of service. The test comes with how well it stands the test of time.

nvmama

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I as currently told I need to have a root canal with a post and a cap.  At least 3 apts to do all the work, for a total of approximately $3500.  I have done some random price checking and that appears to be the going rate where I am.  I do not have dental insurance as it has never been cost effect for my family.  Thankfully I have my emergency fund.  However, I will be utilizing some new credit cards and paying these bills to meet my spending requirements for the bonuses, then pay it all off when the bill comes.

I'm glad your wife only needs fillings.

Rural

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Just out of curiosity to the OP: Was this a "corporate" style dental office? I've had several people show up at my office for second opinions that had ridiculous treatment recommendations from these types of places.

Also, just a word of caution for dental tourism. I'm sure there is some really nice work being done across borders, but I've seen some really shitty stuff, too. And with poorly done dental work, it's rarely obvious at the time of service. The test comes with how well it stands the test of time.


To be fair, I've had to have some pretty shitty dental work redone that was done right here in the USA, too. Come to think of it, it was done by one of those corporate offices...

Rocketman

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My current dentist now has a way Cool machine that they took a picture of my tooth, then ground it down for the cap. Took another picture, then designed the tooth right on the computer as I watched. Go it just right hit the manufacture and 20 min later my crown popped out. Put the crown on - no Temp crown. and I was done. One visit. Same price as the old procedure. Definitely shop around.

Good Luck

wearfannypacks

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DDS here. Get a second opinion. Pankey or Spear institute trained dentists recommended.

2 root canals and 10 crowns for 29k? That's exorbitant. Even without insurance. See someone else.

Was it due to cavities or teeth breaking due to poor occlusion?

Also it isn't genetic. It more than likely due to the specific bacterial populations in her mouth. 700 known oral species of bacteria. An individual has between 75-150 species. Some people have higher levels of caries and periodontal disease causing bacteria.

Focus on keeping those bacteria in check. Google cariogenic vs cariostatic food. 5-6 g of xylitol everyday. Use a mouth rinse. Brushing and flossing won't be enough to keep her bacteria levels in check.