Say no to high dental cost

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Jerilynn
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Re: Say no to high dental cost

Post by Jerilynn » Sat Sep 22, 2012 5:12 pm

DA wrote:I wonder how readily you can find a dentist here at home (USA) willing to fix shoddy work done by a foreign dentist.
I did it all the time.
If the fix doesn't work, who catches the malpractice suit? The local dentist who the process server can reach, that's who!
As long as the dentists makes it clear to the patient that the situation is compromised to begin with and the results aren't guaranteed there are no lawsuits.

In some places in Eastern Europe, they would fill a root canal with some type of 'resin-based putty'. When it set up, it was like concrete. Very difficult and time consuming to remove. Sometimes, it wasn't worth it to even try to re-treat some of those.
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Re: Say no to high dental cost

Post by Jerilynn » Sat Sep 22, 2012 5:20 pm

foxfirev5 wrote:My local dentist isn't cheap but does good work. I had a 4 year old crown break and he simply replaced it at no cost. Other than that I've had no reworks in 15 years. Some things are worth the expense. :D
It's really hard for a lay person to tell. Maybe if he did good work, the crown wouldn't have failed in 4 years. When I first started practice, there were a couple local dentists that would attempt a root canal, charge the insurance company, and if it 'didn't work', they would pull the tooth for free. What a deal!
Their patients loved them.
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Re: Say no to high dental cost

Post by btenny » Sat Sep 22, 2012 5:40 pm

I think you also should to shop around for low cost dentist in the USA as well. I have found there are big differences in prices across a big city or between big high cost towns and smaller low cost towns. My general dentists who practices in Sun City Arizona practices low cost dentistry on mostly retirees. He charges me about 60-70% of what my wife pays at her high cost dentist for the same cleanings and xrays and so forth... He is a great dentists and uses one of those fancy scopes and magnifying glasses all the time on every visit.

I have perio issues so I get to meet a lot of dentists. In general I think about 75 % or so of the working dentists get tired of the business after a few years and just start loading up patients to make money. Then they just crank and forget about the quality.

One bad experience was with a high priced dentist in Scottsdale near my home town. This woman dentist I tried did NO work. She was recommended too. She just said hello and looked at your mouth and then let the assistant do all the work including installing a crown. Boy was that a wake up call. It never fit right and I had to get another dentist to fix it. Similarly I had another high cost dentist try to get me to start replacing my old silver fillings for newer white ones "because the old stuff will wear out and it may cause metal allergies". I said no and still have all those fillings. I finally quit him when his hygenist rescheduled my appointment by 3 weeks because I was 10 minutes late one morning. It did not matter that I routinely sat in the waiting room many times for 20-45 minutes. They said I should reschedule if I was going to be late.

But the worst was when I had to have a "sinus lift". This is a complex mini-surgery where they move up your skin inside your sinus cavity and implant bone before putting in a new tooth post. Yes I expected it to cost a good deal. But the variation in prices and billing methods shocked me. One guy wanted $20K or so and about half up front. He would not deal with my insurance company.He was not busy. I wonder why. I got another review and that guy wanted $10K and he would see about insurance but no promises as he had never got a insurance company to pay. Well I did not get it done for a while. Then I talked to some friends in a small Nevada town about a dental surgeon there. He looked at me and said it would run about $4K and he would bill my insurance and thought he would get them to pay $2K or so. I got it done. My insurance paid half. It turns out he has patients from all over Nevada and northern California come for stuff. Because he is busy he still makes a ton. I have since found he is published in several dental magazines and board certified and so forth so this is the real deal...

So net net you need to shop around for dentists. I wish we could do the same for doctors...........................

Bill

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Re: Say no to high dental cost

Post by 29palms » Sun Sep 23, 2012 8:52 am

One thing I didn't consider was that in this forum, there are probably alot of well to do people, obviously with investment questions and money to play with, probably more than that of the average joe, so therefore, probably not a big issue to fork out a few K for dental work.
For those that had tooth work done in Mexico, kudos to you and great move! To others thinking about doing this, JUST SAY NO TO HIGH DENTAL COST!

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Re: Say no to high dental cost

Post by LadyGeek » Sun Sep 23, 2012 10:48 am

FYI - This thread is now in the Personal Consumer Issues forum.
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Re: Say no to high dental cost

Post by ataloss » Sun Sep 23, 2012 2:02 pm

Both these dentists are expensive by local standards which to me is a good sign.
Kramer, it makes sense to me to get the most expensive dentist in an inexpensive country versus a cheap dentist in an expensive county :o

This working thing is keeping me from traveling so I have to pay the big us costs for now.

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Re: Say no to high dental cost

Post by 29palms » Sun Sep 23, 2012 2:12 pm

I did pretty much the same. I was referred to this dentist, but the guy that referred me said he had trouble parking there and he got a ticket, so he went to a cheaper dentist closer to where he lives, but still thinks the dentist he referred me to is the better one, a bit more pricey in comparison to other dentist but nonetheless, better equipped. My root canal ran me 160. His other dentist charged him 120. I aint switching over for 40 bucks. Not at those prices.

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Re: Say no to high dental cost

Post by MKH » Mon Sep 24, 2012 12:12 pm

I'm sorry that so many people have had bad experiences at the dentist. I still believe that, overall, the quality of dental care in the US is better than Mexico/Costa Rica/Latin America. That being said, I'm sure there are plenty of good dentists in every country and if you find one that works for you, go for it. One last hint for those who complain about the dental/doctor/optometrist always running behind, 95% of the time that the appts are running behind is due to the patients and not poor scheduling or a bad dentist. At least 50% of patients are late to their appts and all it takes is one early patient arriving 5-10 minutes late to throw off the schedule for the entire morning. In fact, you would be surprised at how many people show up for an 8AM appt at 8:30 and act like it is no big deal. Many patients also like to have the procedure explained multiple times and be reassured before the work is started, some patients like to share how their recent vacation to Alaska went, or how well their child is doing in high school, all of which is part of what makes a good doctor/patient relationship rewarding. But if the 8:00 patient shows up at 8:10, the 9:00 patient needs 20 extra minutes to have the procedure explained again, and the 9:30 wants to show you pics of his/her new motorcycle, time gets away quickly. On the other hand, if you schedule for right when the office opens, or right after lunch, you have a much better chance to be seen on time.

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Re: Say no to high dental cost

Post by btenny » Mon Sep 24, 2012 1:05 pm

Sorry MKH that has not been my experience at all with high priced dentists. I used to go to the dentist first thing in the AM to get stuff done on the way to my office. I would get there at around 7:00 to 7:30 AM but find the waiting room stuffed full. Some of the hygentists or the dentists were late to start or things were already running late. Many dentist in Arizona start appointments at 6ish and so do the hygentists so this was routine. The gotcha from what I have seen is everyone schedules 50 or 60 minutes to do teeth cleaning, dentist exam, xrays and a potty break. Well life is not that orderly and efficient. Most cleanings for my teeth take at least 40+ minutes. Then add the xrays and dentist exam and the other stuff and you are at 65-70 minutes. So things just stack up over the day and then everyone is late.

But my perio dentist was the worst until I fired him. He used short appointment so 1-2 people would be waiting at 5PM when I arrived. But as you know most perio appointments take more time due to all the extra work and testing so 70+ minutes is needed. So why 60 minute schedules? Because some perio guys see regular people and if they set 60 mintues for everyone they make more money and just run late some days. I had to move those appoinments to late in the day and allow 2-3 hours to account for the wait time.

On the other had my low priced Sun CIty dentist recognized patients vary and schedules appointments for 80-90 minutes. He does this even though he charges 15% or so less than the high cost guys/gals on the other side of town who try to schedule things at 50-60 minutes.

So my view is many dentists just try to cram in too many patients so they make good money and with easy patients it sort of works but with harder stuff things get bogged down.

Bill

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Re: Say no to high dental cost

Post by 29palms » Mon Sep 24, 2012 4:33 pm

I agree with that. I left one dentist, which I thought was real louzy, expensive, and rude and crude office workers. I finally shifted to another location, and what do I see there? Another rude and crude admin worker that came over from the same place I just left from. Ok, I can deal with that. I then get called over to the dentist room to get worked on, and I find myself sitting there for at least an hour. I evern let the dentist know about it when he came in all smiling asking me how I'm doing. If ever a first impression ever ticked me off, that was it. I even changed over to that dentist, and recently got a card from my insurance company. Now I'm thinking about not even going back over to that dentist, and finding another local one. In the mean time, I went to El Salvador, got my root canal done, wife had six fillings done, and I plan to do some return trips over there to completely do all my teeth, get new fillings and a crown. So here I am, paying dental insurance, very disappointed with all of my dentist I have ever had around my radius in Houston. Thinking seriously of not upping my dental plan this October, just get rid of them all together. I don't need them.

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Re: Say no to high dental cost

Post by Fallible » Mon Sep 24, 2012 5:39 pm

At an appointment for two fillings, the hygienist (or assistant) making preparations for the dentist told me I was scheduled for resin-based fillings but that I could save money by getting amalgam (silver) fillings, which would not be visible because they were on back teeth and which also would last longer. Interestingly, I'd already checked into this before the appointment and was going to ask the dentist for amalgam for the same reasons she mentioned. I immediately told her to change it to amalgam and she did. When the dentist came in, she told him I should get amalgam, not resin-based and there followed a long silence. Then the dentist asked me if this was what I wanted and I said yes unless he could say why I shouldn't. He said it was okay, but I got the feeling that he was not happy with the change - or his assistant, who saved me more than $100. I hope she still has a job.
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Re: Say no to high dental cost

Post by 29palms » Tue Sep 25, 2012 3:38 am

Who knows. It probably didn't mean anything, just he probably was expecting to do the resin, but suddenly the plan changed. That may be a good idea. Maybe I'll ask for those in the back too. But for those prices in El Salvador, what would I really be saving? A few bucks?

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Re: Say no to high dental cost

Post by MKH » Tue Sep 25, 2012 7:57 am

Fallible wrote: I immediately told her to change it to amalgam and she did. When the dentist came in, she told him I should get amalgam, not resin-based and there followed a long silence. I hope she still has a job.
Maybe there was a long silence because the assistant overstepped her bounds and undermined the knowledge and authority of the dentist with the patient in the room. The dentist is the one with years of training and experience and should be the one to discuss treatments with the patient, not the assistant. Any changes in treatment should come following a discussion between the dentist and the patient, not the assistant. There are many different reasons why composite might be better then amalgam and vice versa, but what if you actually did need composite for oral health reasons and because the assistant convinced you to get amalgam, the dentist knew that the filling would not work and you would need to have it redone in 6 months instead of 15 years. Maybe the dentist had just discussed with the assistant that he would be coming in the room to discuss treatment and she should set up and wait for him. Maybe this was the 3rd time that week that the assistant was "treating" patients by dispensing medical advice without a license instead of serving as a dental assistant. Maybe the dentist was a complete jerk who had just yelled at her for making bad coffee and she knew he wouldn't like it so she did it to get back at him. I'm not saying any of these are correct, all I'm saying is there are two sides to each exchange to automatically assume that all dentists only care about money because you had one (or several) encounters with one (or a handful) of dentists in the past is short-sighted and unfair.

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Re: Say no to high dental cost

Post by 29palms » Tue Sep 25, 2012 8:03 am

And maybe the dentist was trying to rip this guy off, and maybe the dentist assistant was tired of seeing him day after day ripping off people. Maybe she was thinking of pulling a few good ones over on him since she was in the process of finding employment with an more ethical dentist. True. Two sides to every story.

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Re: Say no to high dental cost

Post by Fallible » Tue Sep 25, 2012 11:52 am

MKH wrote:
Fallible wrote: I immediately told her to change it to amalgam and she did. When the dentist came in, she told him I should get amalgam, not resin-based and there followed a long silence. I hope she still has a job.
Maybe there was a long silence because the assistant overstepped her bounds and undermined the knowledge and authority of the dentist with the patient in the room. The dentist is the one with years of training and experience and should be the one to discuss treatments with the patient, not the assistant. Any changes in treatment should come following a discussion between the dentist and the patient, not the assistant. There are many different reasons why composite might be better then amalgam and vice versa, but what if you actually did need composite for oral health reasons and because the assistant convinced you to get amalgam, the dentist knew that the filling would not work and you would need to have it redone in 6 months instead of 15 years. Maybe the dentist had just discussed with the assistant that he would be coming in the room to discuss treatment and she should set up and wait for him. Maybe this was the 3rd time that week that the assistant was "treating" patients by dispensing medical advice without a license instead of serving as a dental assistant. Maybe the dentist was a complete jerk who had just yelled at her for making bad coffee and she knew he wouldn't like it so she did it to get back at him. I'm not saying any of these are correct, all I'm saying is there are two sides to each exchange to automatically assume that all dentists only care about money because you had one (or several) encounters with one (or a handful) of dentists in the past is short-sighted and unfair.
I agree the scenarios you describe are possible though there's not way to know for sure. I also should have said that when the dentist came in, she told him I wanted amalgam, not that I should have it. Probably the most important thing here is that the dentist - without explaining the choices I had and asking me which I preferred - put me down for resin-based fillings and the cost estimate I was given before the appointment was based on that. At home, I checked several good online sources and discovered the differences between the types of fillings and planned to then ask the dentist if I could have amalgam. If he had objected, I would ask why and then decide. So it was a pleasant surprise when the assistant told me about the amalgam and the cost savings. At that point, the dentist could have advised against it, but he didn't, although he didn't come out and agree with the amalgam either. For sure, the dentist should've talked with me about the alternatives before he scheduled me for the much more expensive resin-based fillings.
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Re: Say no to high dental cost

Post by Jerilynn » Tue Sep 25, 2012 3:39 pm

MKH wrote:I'm sorry that so many people have had bad experiences at the dentist. I still believe that, overall, the quality of dental care in the US is better than Mexico/Costa Rica/Latin America. That being said, I'm sure there are plenty of good dentists in every country and if you find one that works for you, go for it. One last hint for those who complain about the dental/doctor/optometrist always running behind, 95% of the time that the appts are running behind is due to the patients and not poor scheduling or a bad dentist. At least 50% of patients are late to their appts and all it takes is one early patient arriving 5-10 minutes late to throw off the schedule for the entire morning. In fact, you would be surprised at how many people show up for an 8AM appt at 8:30 and act like it is no big deal. Many patients also like to have the procedure explained multiple times and be reassured before the work is started, some patients like to share how their recent vacation to Alaska went, or how well their child is doing in high school, all of which is part of what makes a good doctor/patient relationship rewarding. But if the 8:00 patient shows up at 8:10, the 9:00 patient needs 20 extra minutes to have the procedure explained again, and the 9:30 wants to show you pics of his/her new motorcycle, time gets away quickly. On the other hand, if you schedule for right when the office opens, or right after lunch, you have a much better chance to be seen on time.
This is why I always scheduled patients with some buffer time. Sure, it cost me some money, but people didn't have to wait, I wasn't stressed by 'being behind' and if I needed more time for a case, I had it.
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Re: Say no to high dental cost

Post by Jerilynn » Tue Sep 25, 2012 3:44 pm

Fallible wrote:At an appointment for two fillings, the hygienist (or assistant) making preparations for the dentist told me I was scheduled for resin-based fillings but that I could save money by getting amalgam (silver) fillings, which would not be visible because they were on back teeth and which also would last longer. Interestingly, I'd already checked into this before the appointment and was going to ask the dentist for amalgam for the same reasons she mentioned. I immediately told her to change it to amalgam and she did. When the dentist came in, she told him I should get amalgam, not resin-based and there followed a long silence. Then the dentist asked me if this was what I wanted and I said yes unless he could say why I shouldn't. He said it was okay, but I got the feeling that he was not happy with the change - or his assistant, who saved me more than $100. I hope she still has a job.
For the average dentist, composite resin fillings are more profitable than amalgams.
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Re: Say no to high dental cost

Post by 29palms » Tue Sep 25, 2012 5:02 pm

I don't really have a beef with a dentist trying to drum up a little profit, as long as he's honest about it like anything else. I just fail to see the disparity in dental cost and don't tell me its all about Chinese made materials and lack of expertise in third world countries, or sub-dental treatment. The fact is, our dental cost in the USA is overpriced for WHATEVER that reason may be.
What does a dentist in El Salvador make in comparison to a dentist in the USA? I can tell you that the dentist spent with me about 2.5 hours for the root canal, maybe another 2 hours for the reconstruction say a total of round it off to 5 hours and my total cost was 210 bucks. I doubt he gets all of that, he must only get a percentage of that, the office gets their share, and all in all, how much money does he actually make himself? Each filling is 25 bucks. Each tooth takes depending on how deep the fillings are some 1.5-2 hours. That wouldn't be bad pay if the person performing that gets all the money right? I hate to say this but I think I make more in the USA as an aircraft mechanic than he makes as a dentist in El Salvador. And this guy specializes in root canals. What does a dentist in the USA make? Someone said 250,000k per year?

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Re: Say no to high dental cost

Post by Ed 2 » Sat Oct 06, 2012 10:19 pm

29palms wrote:I don't really have a beef with a dentist trying to drum up a little profit, as long as he's honest about it like anything else. I just fail to see the disparity in dental cost and don't tell me its all about Chinese made materials and lack of expertise in third world countries, or sub-dental treatment.
indeed that was [apparently not already] the big secret for patients that most of crowns now made in China and who knows what kind of materials been used. I am working in this industry and amused how long the word been spreading to the consumer.
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Re: Say no to high dental cost

Post by cbeck » Sun Oct 07, 2012 4:50 am

Because dental patients cannot evaluate the quality of dental work, the only real solution is to have two dentists. I did this myself for about eight years during which time I would go to my regular, expensive, Park Avenue dentist in Manhattan for cleanings and x-rays and have actual restoration work done on our annual visit to Bangkok. The dentists evaluated each other's work on several occasions. The New York dentist reported that the work I had done in Bangkok was competently done. The Bangkok dentist on one occasion found a hairline space underneath the crown done by the NYC dentist that showed up on an x-ray. I don't know if the space had only appeared since the last x-rays in NYC or not, but the Park Avenue dentist promptly replaced her crown without charge, much to her credit. Just in terms of quality I think the Bangkok dentist was better.

Since we have now retired full-time to Bangkok I no longer have two dentists, but I have complete confidence in our dentist here after 9 years of successful treatment from her. Her charges are high by local standards, but probably only 15% to 20% of charges in Manhattan.

Those people who instinctively believe that only US dentists are competent should get out more.

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Re: Say no to high dental cost

Post by mostlycloudy » Tue Oct 09, 2012 10:25 am

GREAT DISSCUSSION!...........I have my dental work done in the U.S. and in Istanbul, Turkey. The cleaning and examines are done in the U.S. so that I have a local dentist for emergencies only. The major work is ALWAYS done in Istanbul. Taking into consideration all the thoughts described above, this has worked out best for my family & me over the years. I do actively plan on spending a higher percentage on my dental care in Istanbul as a preventive strategy to avoid unexpected U.S dental office visits. :idea:

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Re: Say no to high dental cost

Post by partner » Tue Oct 09, 2012 11:22 am

btenny wrote:I think you also should to shop around for low cost dentist in the USA as well. I have found there are big differences in prices across a big city or between big high cost towns and smaller low cost towns

So net net you need to shop around for dentists. I wish we could do the same for doctors...........................

Bill
So how do you find a Low(er) cost dentist. My crowns are now up to over $1300. And I am needing about 2 a year. If anyone in the Washington/Baltimore area (or northern VA.) know of a dentist that charges less, Please let me know .
Can we PM on this board, haven't tried.

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Re: Say no to high dental cost

Post by starnet » Tue Dec 01, 2015 9:05 pm

kramer wrote:Any dentist should have a "materials discussion" with you for something like Crowns. You should be given options or else know what you are paying for and why. If you are abroad in a developing country, you will often have more options. If you are like me, you will almost always want the best materials.

I don't get dental work done in the USA anymore as I can get excellent work done overseas for a lot less and I have also helped others do this. However, I always do a lot of research first, more than I would do finding a USA dentist. My dentist in Colombia was a part-time professor at the Dental School, had some training from the USA, came highly recommended, and did not accept government insurance because he was too busy with rich cash paying clients. Based on my interactions with him, I would say he is the most competent dentist I ever had in my life in any country. My dentist in the Philippines is a leader in the dental community and was recommended to me by a group of USA doctors in Guam, among others. Both these dentists are expensive by local standards which to me is a good sign. In a country like the Philippines, I would never go to a random dentist like I might do in the USA even though language is not really an issue since they all speak English.

Both my Aunt and Uncle followed their Arizona relatives' advice and got significant work done in Algodones, Mexico and their local dentist here in California said the work they got done was excellent. If I recall, it was about 25% to 30% of the California price. They were scared to go and came back just raving about the great experience they had.
Kramer, can you tell me which dentists you recommend? And do you know who exactly your relatives saw in Algodones? Thank you!

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Re: Say no to high dental cost

Post by starnet » Tue Dec 01, 2015 9:08 pm

Firewood42 wrote:My wife and I are retired, and spend two months in South Texas. We have been getting our dental work done over the border in Progresso, Mexico. My wife has had two crowns done for about $170 each. No problems. We talk to people that have been going to this dentist for 20 years or more.

They work 7 days a week, no appointment is necessary. My wife went in the morning and they said come back after lunch and she had it done.

My new American dentist wanted to put a crown on one of my teeth, my old dentist had retired. I told him to fill it as I would do it in Mexico. So he did and it has been two years and I haven't had a problem with the tooth. That ended my association with him. I think he was a new young dentist and had a lot of bills to pay so was working to get the most income rather then doing just what was needed. I don't blame him but I am not paying for it. I have spent a ton of money on my teeth during my life but now in retirement I need to save and Mexican dentists are the answer.
could you please tell me the name of the dentist in Progresso that you recommend? Thank you!

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Re: Say no to high dental cost

Post by LadyGeek » Tue Dec 01, 2015 9:25 pm

starnet, Welcome! Do you realize this thread is over 3 years old?

Suggestion - Use PM to send recommendations containing personal info (dentist recommendations).
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Re: Say no to high dental cost

Post by toofache32 » Wed Dec 02, 2015 1:27 am

I find it fascinating how everyone assumes quality for some reason. While you don't always get what you pay for, you will never get what you don't pay for. Mexican dentistry is a great thing and I encourage it. It's sending my kids to college.

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Re: Say not to high dental cost

Post by White Coat Investor » Wed Dec 02, 2015 2:23 am

kidsgone wrote:That $4000 quote is crazy. Last month my wife needed a crown and root canal. Our dentist accepts our insurance company rates of $560 for crowns and $710 for root canals. We had to pay 50% as a co-pay on these two figures, or about $635. In checking around, some dentists in the area charge over $1000 and one guy wanted $1200 for just one crown. All contacted dentists will gladly accept our insurance, but what they pile on to the reasonable and customary rates set by my insurance carrier can be rather significant. We found that 2 of the 7 dentists called in our area stick with insurance company rates with no additional charges.
I just had a crown done. I paid about a little under $500 out of pocket. I pay about $100 a month for the six of us for premiums.
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Re: Say no to high dental cost

Post by William Million » Wed Dec 02, 2015 3:17 am

I've good and bad experience with US dentists, and good and bad experience with foreign dentists. I would not make the assumption the US dental care is superior than the high-end care in a developing country.

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Re: Say no to high dental cost

Post by joelly » Wed Dec 02, 2015 1:19 pm

I'd say get a 2nd opinion on the procedure and the cost.

My dentist told me that I need teeth bonding for 12 teeth. Out of pocket cost is $360 (total) which is not a lot. However I'm not comfortable about the teeth bonding procedure. So I went to another dentist and had him done some analyzing. He said I don't need teeth bonding for my teeth. He took pictures of my teeth and compared to someone else's teeth that require teeth bonding and he said my teeth is not that bad that it needs to be bonded. So I contemplating of changing dentist now.

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Re: Say no to high dental cost

Post by JDot » Wed Dec 02, 2015 11:14 pm

MKH wrote:Since my wife is a dentist I feel an obligation to chime in with a few thoughts (that are admittedly biased). General charge for a crown is ~1K, a little more or a little less depending on where you live. Just the materials/lab fees to take the impression and make the crown probably cost ~$400. Now factor in that on top of the materials, the dentist/practice owner is paying rent/heat/electricity/laundry/phone/internet/insurance/401K match/business loan/equipment upkeep etc. as well as office/assistant/hygienist salaries. All of this overhead is ~30% of any procedure done. So now, on a $1K procedure, the dentist is making ~$300 for 1.5 hrs of their time. I don't think $200/hr for a highly trained professional is a rip-off, but maybe that's just me. Now consider that a crown is probably the best profit margin procedure for a dentist and you can see that, on average, a dentist probably earns ~$150/hr and ~$200-250K/yr, which is probably pretty reasonable for someone with rigorous training who is performing a highly specialized task while also taking on business and liability risk.
I agree w/ this post. I'm not sure who "the man" is that the OP thinks he's "sticking it to". Whatever that means.

I don't fault him for being as economical as possible, but I find it a little offensive to suggest that dentists in our country are "the man" and it's something to be pound of to "stick it to them". There are plenty of reasons why professionals in other countries may be able to charge less, including the exchange rate and the fact that their education costs less, etc.

And it's probably the lawyer in me but I feel like people never think of the "what if this goes bad" scenario. (that is, when a client is starting a business the first thing I advise them to do is to plan for the dissolution) What is the OP's recourse if something does go wrong and there is gross malpractice?

I also found from a quick google search that the average salary for a dentist is only around $165k. http://money.usnews.com/careers/best-jo ... ist/salary

Anyways- maybe I'm just grumpy in general. Goodnight! :)

toofache32
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Re: Say no to high dental cost

Post by toofache32 » Thu Dec 03, 2015 12:04 am

JDot wrote:There are plenty of reasons why professionals in other countries may be able to charge less, including the exchange rate and the fact that their education costs less, etc.

And it's probably the lawyer in me but I feel like people never think of the "what if this goes bad" scenario. (that is, when a client is starting a business the first thing I advise them to do is to plan for the dissolution) What is the OP's recourse if something does go wrong and there is gross malpractice?
It's much cheaper in places like Mexico for many reasons. They pay their staff $3 per hour. They don't have OSHA and the myriad other government agencies whose requirements costs the office money to remain compliant. They are not subjected to government radiology inspections. They are not building long-term relationships with patients so the fees don't account for the possible re-do's at no charge to the patient. They are allowed to buy dirt-cheap products from overseas which do not meet requirements imposed on US dentists by the FDA. They don't have to hire extra full-time staff to do the patient's insurance paperwork for them. Tuition to dental school is as low as 1/4th of US dental schools. Office rent, real estate, and the overall cost of living is lower. Less insurance (malpractice, workers comp, unemployment). They use local labs which also have less overhead expenses.

I have seen the "what if things go bad" scenario. Patients come to me looking for a fix. It ends up costing them way more to unravel things. I know some colleagues who won't even touch these patients because of the medicolegal risks. But I generally don't advise patients against foreign dentistry because they are grown adults and make their own decisions.

2comma
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Re: Say no to high dental cost

Post by 2comma » Thu Dec 03, 2015 3:08 am

I've been a dream for every "tist" most of my life - poor dental hygiene when young and good dental insurance - so I've had way more work done than the average person. All I can say is, as laymen, we really don't have a good and objective way to know who is a good dentist.

I've had dentist I thought were good but then had other dentists later that complained about the poor quality of work they were seeing. I've had a dentist put in a crown which broke less than a year later and he wouldn't fix it, his only comment was "you probably broke it chewing ice or something" (I don't chew ice and I hate hard candy). The next dentist took it off and said it was a casting flaw. Then that dentist put a temporary on - when I left I was so out of it the receptionist said why don't you just call to reschedule your next appointment. Two weeks later he pulled the cap off and what was left was horrible, not suitable for a new crown. He said I waited too long, two weeks. I said when I left I had no idea it was that time critical. He said he gave up giving people advice a long time ago. I said I hadn't gone through the worst part (and paid all that money) just to screw up and not get the crown put on. Next!

So I went to my wife's dentist, sharp guy with many add on certifications. I asked him what were my options, I wanted to hear all options from A-Z. He went into a 20 minute explanation of how "if it was his family" he would only consider an implant (one of his specialties) and oh I need more bone mass so we'll have to graph more bone into the jaw and four operations over 18 months. What bothered me was he didn't mention any other options or what was less optimal that "the fix".

So, having had good (better) luck with foreign doctors that were trained at good US schools I decided I'm going to look for non-American sounding dentist and give that a try. I found someone that I think is pretty good, no waiting in his office, willing to discuss my needs (or competently correct me if I'm wrong) and he sends me to specialists and readily admits they would be better suited than he to perform certain procedures. Oh, by picking by name I thought I was getting someone from India. Turns out this guy is from Iran. I have a lot of fun kidding him about his family's connections to the Shaw and how they used their influence and money to get him to the US and how he was probably one of the students that entered the Embassy and held the hostages. He just laughs and says his student debt was $375,000 when he left dental school. In the long run my only fear is that he has three young daughters. I'm afraid the amount of work he wants to do may increase as they reach collage or marriage age.

Note: My first dentist visit, I'm 60 now, was with an old guy that still had the drills with the round rubber bands on pullys on the outside, no receptionist or hygienist (it was just him) and a porceline thing beside the chair you had to spit into. Dentistry has come so far with high speed drills, better local anesthesia that don't numb half your face and better techniques and materials.
If I am stupid I will pay.

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Bustoff
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Re: Say no to high dental cost

Post by Bustoff » Thu Dec 03, 2015 8:20 am

LadyGeek wrote:starnet, Welcome! Do you realize this thread is over 3 years old?
I saw sscritic's reply and thought he was back!

Cheyenne
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Re: Say no to high dental cost

Post by Cheyenne » Thu Dec 03, 2015 8:26 am

My first dentist visit, I'm 60 now, was with an old guy that still had the drills with the round rubber bands on pulleys on the outside, no receptionist or hygienist (it was just him) and a porcelain thing beside the chair you had to spit into.
I'm also 60 (something) and my first dentist operated the same way. My Mom paid him $5.00 cash for a filling and I got a dime from him as a tip. I guess he could afford to do that because later it was discovered that he never ever filed an income tax return and lost everything. My next dentist was a very personable guy. He had a nice airplane and used to talk about flying. Every time I went for my 6-month check he'd find about two restorations that needed to be redone. This went on for quite a few years until I moved to a distant town and found another dentist. The first time he saw me I didn't need any fillings redone. I thought something must be wrong. The the next time, the same thing. Then again, fillings were all still OK. Either the air was different in the new town or my fillings suddenly stabilized. But, airplanes are expensive.

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N1CKV
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Re: Say no to high dental cost

Post by N1CKV » Thu Dec 03, 2015 9:30 am

A BIG mistake I've seen when dealing with dentists is assuming that just because your dentist accepts your insurance does not mean that they are "in network".
If the dentist isn't in network then your insurance pays what they pay up to the max of your annual policy limitations (usually not much) and the rest is balanced billed to you. If your dentist is in network then he charges the contracted rate (like all medical procedures it will be much lower) and you pay your share.

I learned about this when suddenly I was easily hitting the maximum on my annual allowance. When questioned, my cleanings were being applied to the limit, but if I had gone to an in network dentist they would not have been applied.
I have met a lot of people that claim to love money, but they also seem to be the same people that are in the biggest hurry to get rid of it.

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