Why won’t dentists list their prices online?

I have four kids at home and am a stay-at-home mom. I am constantly trying to get the most bang for our buck. It drives me crazy that I can never find an affordable dentist who posts their prices online for the different procedures they perform. Why can’t they tell me how much they charge for a filling or a crown so I get the best deal? I shop around for other things, why not dentists? Amber, Bend, Oregon Dear Amber, There are some patients who may think that the best way to choose a dentist is by comparing pricing for procedures, but that shouldn’t be the deciding factor. Some dentists offer procedures for less. That may mean, though, they are using cheaper material or cutting corners to complete work cheaper or faster. As with other items you shop for, you may get what you pay for. Most dentists are more concerned with doing what is right for each patient than trying to “beat out their competitors.” For that purpose,  they don’t list their prices online. They want you to choose to have them fulfill your dental needs based on the quality of their work and the services they offer rather than choosing them based on their prices. If you do want pricing to be part of your decision, compare costs for common procedures from dentists you are interested in. While you may not find each dentist’s prices listed online, you can call each office. Asking about prices for routine check-ups, crowns, and fillings can help you determine what is reasonable for your area. Then you can see which dentists...

Where can I get a full mouth reconstruction for cheap?

Growing up, I never saw a dentist (it’s a long story and too complicated to elaborate on). Now, as a young adult, I’m missing several teeth and have a couple that are broken. A few weeks ago, I finally got up the courage to go to the dentist. He recommended a full mouth reconstruction and it sounds like it would be a good option for me. There’s only one problem: the price he quoted is completely out of my budget. I barely have enough money to pay my monthly bills. I don’t have insurance and without any credit, there’s no way to get financing.  Is there an affordable dentist who will do a full mouth reconstruction at a price I can afford, and if so, will I get the results I need? — Becca   Becca, A true full mouth reconstruction requires a great deal of technical knowledge — much beyond what is taught in dental school. It combines a variation of aesthetics with restorative dentistry to improve functionality and cosmetic appearance of the entire mouth. With that being said, cost should never be your primary consideration when having full mouth reconstruction. It is very timely, meticulously planned, and simply put: expensive. Not all dentists are in fact qualified to even do full mouth reconstructions, so careful research should be put in to who you choose. I would definitely seek the opinions of other dentists to see what other options may work for you. Perhaps dentures or partials and crowns (depending if you have existing teeth) may be a better way if you’re leaning purely towards what is financially...

Is there such a thing as affordable cosmetic dentistry?

I need to find an affordable dentist who specializes in cosmetic work. I have been really unhappy with my smile for years. One of my teeth has a huge chip and my teeth, overall, have odd gaps and spaces between them. I asked my regular office for a quote and it came in well over $20,000 for the work. When I asked the doctor about cheaper options, he acted like he was offended and made a remark about his fees not being negotiable and then left the room. I don’t understand the attitude or why he wasn’t willing to help. I don’t need anyone to move mountains. I just want straighter teeth and a chip fixed. But, after the incident with my regular office, I’m kind of afraid to ask around to see who will help. Any suggestions?  — Penny   Penny, Sorry your dentist behaved that way. It’s not par for the course. However, as a word of caution, be careful when looking for an affordable dentist when it comes to cosmetic work. This isn’t an official specialty that’s recognized by the ADA, so anyone can say they specialize in cosmetic dentistry (depending on the state, some don’t allow the term to be used at all). What’s more, because it’s not a protected term, there are no guidelines as to what kind of training one has to go through or how much skill they need to have. Doctors who have more skill tend to charge more for their services, but that isn’t a definitive way to tell either. It actually sounds like you addressed it right when you...

How can the affordable dentist expect me to pay for botched dental work?

I recently visited a doctor who called himself an “affordable dentist” because one of my premolars had totally blown up on me. I was in agony and my whole face was swollen. I knew I couldn’t wait until I had more money and see my regular office, so I looked up the name of an affordable dentist online and scheduled right away. I thought I was lucky because he was charging hundreds less for the root canal, but my experience was horrific. He went through the process of doing the root canal and it took nearly two hours. I was almost in tears because he kept jerking my head around and my mouth was open for practically the whole time. Then, he tells me that he wants to prepare the tooth for a crown then and there. He said that the decay was bad and he wanted to get at least that much squared away. I agreed to it, thinking the guy was looking out for me. When he was removing the cavity, I felt it give way and he muttered something and left the room. A few minutes later, another assistant came in and told me my tooth would need to be extracted. I agreed to the extraction and the doctor came back and did it. I wasn’t thinking and just left afterwards, only to get a bill about a week later for the root canal and the extraction. I called the office and the lady said the doctor deserved to be paid for his time. Clearly, he was no affordable dentist, but can they actually do this?...

I think I got scammed by an “affordable” dentist

I am so frustrated! I have no dental insurance and I recently had to have some dental work done (a crown and a couple of fillings to be exact). Money is tight, so I researched different dentists in my area and found one that quoted me an amount that totally fit with my budget. Problem solved, right? Wrong! For one, I had a terrible experience. From the moment I stepped into the office, I was greeted by rude staff people and when I finally got into the chair, the dentist seemed annoyed and spent about five minutes examining me. He said he would do the work right then, so I agreed, but it was obvious he just wanted to get me out of there. And on top of that, he was so rough through the entire procedure. Unfortunately, I have to go back in a few weeks for more. When I went to pay my bill, they charged me quite a bit more than what they quoted over the phone and basically said they had to do a lot more work than expected. I told them I was only paying the amount I was quoted, but she insisted I’d need to pay the rest when I come back in. So much for an affordable dentist. Am I responsible to pay this bill or can I file a complaint? — Jarrod   Jarrod, Sorry for your experience, but don’t write off all affordable dentists. There are some really good ones out there. Every situation is different, and because of that, giving a quote over the phone is difficult. Many offices...

Terrible toothache & no dental insurance — will an affordable dentist help?

I need to find an affordable dentist for my dad. He is 63 and has a terrible toothache, but he’s also unemployed and on state insurance, which doesn’t provide dental coverage. Obviously, with the unemployment, he can’t really afford to have the tooth fixed, which is terrible. He keeps trying to live with it, thinking he’ll just fix it when he gets back on his feet again, but I’m really worried that it’s infected and that it’s getting worse. How do I find an affordable dentist who will help him? — James   James, There are a lot of ways you can find an affordable dentist and it sounds like your dad needs to get in as soon as possible. Anytime there’s extreme pain, it is a dental emergency. If it’s an infection, it will get worse and spread, so it’s good that you’re looking into options. The fastest way to get him treatment is to call around and see who offers payment plans. Some offices will provide in-house financing, but a lot of them are offering things like Care Credit, which is financing through a company that only helps people with medical bills. They usually have a deal where, if you pay off the balance in six months or less, you don’t even have to pay interest on it. If you find an office that does either one of these things, any office can instantly become an affordable dentist and he can get treatment right away. Depending on the severity of the pain and how long it has been going on, you could look into dental insurance plans...