Author Topic: Dental woes: Any cost saving tricks, tips, or strategies?  (Read 4052 times)

Joshin

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Dental woes: Any cost saving tricks, tips, or strategies?
« on: April 06, 2015, 08:59:29 PM »
I'm one of those people that was born with good teeth. I've never had a cavity, didn't need braces, and my wisdom teeth pulled easily with minimal pain and no infection. So, as a result, I've been lax with preventative care. Sure I brush and floss a couple of time a day, but dental visits are only every five years or so.

Fast forward to this weekend -- extreme pain right beneath a bottom molar. Flashlight in mouth and a fair amount of googling (yuck, google images), and I'm pretty sure I'm dealing with an abscess and will likely need a root canal. I have an appointment with my dentist tomorrow, so I won't know for sure until then.

I have no dental insurance. It appears root canals and crowns are fucking expensive. Like $2 to $3 grand expensive. Extractions are cheaper, but I'll still need a bridge or an implant so my teeth don't shift in any crazy ways, which is similar in cost to root canal treatment. Skipping a filler probably isn't a good option -- my teeth already started to shift after the wisdom teeth were pulled. Any more shifting, and I'll be dealing with some major gaps.

Any mustachian strategies for getting the best deal? Bequeath upon me any wisdom, s'il vous plait!

MikeBear

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Re: Dental woes: Any cost saving tricks, tips, or strategies?
« Reply #1 on: April 06, 2015, 09:31:25 PM »
Maybe you'll only need a root canal and a simple filling. Tell them you have no insurance, and this'll be cash only.

No use speculating that you'll need a crown or anything else at this point. If you waited until the infection got much worse though, there's no telling the damage that can do.

Joshin

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Re: Dental woes: Any cost saving tricks, tips, or strategies?
« Reply #2 on: April 06, 2015, 09:49:26 PM »
Yeah, I'm hoping for the best, just trying to plan for the worst. Want to go in tomorrow with some strategies for wheeling and dealing. I know from past experience that it's all too easy to commit to a high price procedure when your judgement is clouded by pain, if you don't do your research ahead of time. I figure I won't have to make an immediate choice on full treatment and that I'll have a bit of time to come up with the best tactic.

Plus, I have a camping trip with my youngest son this weekend that I can't reschedule, would suck to miss it or be in pain for it!

Kris

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Re: Dental woes: Any cost saving tricks, tips, or strategies?
« Reply #3 on: April 06, 2015, 09:58:58 PM »
Ugh, dental expenses are tough, and very expensive.  Wish I had some advice. 

Taran Wanderer

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Re: Dental woes: Any cost saving tricks, tips, or strategies?
« Reply #4 on: April 06, 2015, 10:03:06 PM »
Implants are expensive, like $2,500 for the implant, and another $1,500+ for the crown. Bridges are a pain and require more preventive care than normal. Root canal or filling will be a better bet for cost!

All that said, my four implants have been great and much better than the four bridges I had before.  But I'm almost $20k poorer...

Edit:  I would add that I have had simar habits to yours, only ever one cavity, it's just that I never got all my teeth.
« Last Edit: April 06, 2015, 10:04:47 PM by Aldercrest »

TheCatWhisperer

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Re: Dental woes: Any cost saving tricks, tips, or strategies?
« Reply #5 on: April 06, 2015, 10:13:06 PM »
Sorry to hear about your tooth. If you need a root canal on a molar, you can almost assume you'll need a crown and a buildup. Otherwise the thing just breaks in a few months to years, you end up with an extraction anyway, and you lost all the money on the root canal. If the tooth is in really bad shape, it's possible that you might even need gum surgery to trim the gums and/or bone depending on how deep of a problem you have. This gets expensive really fast, and sometimes an implant is a better bet just based on predictability.

There's not many things you can do to reduce your cost besides going to a dental school to have the work done. I give a cash discount to my uninsured patients that pay in full at the time of service. That's fairly standard in most private practices.

Remember, you get what you pay for. Maybe I'm partial to say that because it's my profession, but I've seen a lot of people try to skimp by going to another country, doing it themselves, etc. Usually there's a big mess to clean up. Do it right the first time.

jj20051

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Re: Dental woes: Any cost saving tricks, tips, or strategies?
« Reply #6 on: April 06, 2015, 10:14:44 PM »
Assuming you need a root canal (and it's not just a gum infection) it should cost you about $1k cash for a root canal (or less) and about $1.5k cash for a crown. If the dentist isn't willing to come close to these prices you can shop around. You won't need a root canal and a crown (though there are special cases for everything) it's generally one or the other. A crown is generally only used when the tooth is cracked beyond repair... You might be able to go for an MOD if your tooth has some usable surface left.

I hope you're lucky and it's just a gum infection as that'll be the cheapest.

I love small and family owned dentists as they're willing to work closely with their patents and a lot of them understand that you don't have insurance. They can be quite negotiable... also if you live in a big city or near one consider going to a dental college as they'll charge you $200 - $500 for "bigger" procedures and the work is just as good (or better as they'll be even more cautious) as your average dentist.

I was born with horrible teeth. I brush and floss 3x daily and have at least 3 cavities a year even while my dentist claims my teeth are some of the cleanest he works on. Seriously it sucks.

Joshin

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Re: Dental woes: Any cost saving tricks, tips, or strategies?
« Reply #7 on: April 06, 2015, 10:23:24 PM »
Once again, thanks for the input! No worries about skipping the country for treatment. I'm in the Pac NW, and something tells me Canada isn't much cheaper. It would cost more to get to Mexico than I would likely save.

I'm not a dentist, so no clue how damaged the tooth is. Visual inspection doesn't show any visible damage or discolorations, so keeping my fingers crossed. We just recently started making some major headway toward our FIRE goal, which is why I think this is knocking the wind out of me and making me feel a bit anxious!

jj20051

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Re: Dental woes: Any cost saving tricks, tips, or strategies?
« Reply #8 on: April 06, 2015, 10:31:00 PM »
One more thing. If it's a big expense EG: $3k+ I'd suggest getting a 0% card which has good points/cash back and use that to reduce your costs and upfront hit potentially as well :P -- Just a thought.