OT. Dental charges for deep gum cleaning and scaling. Seem to be very high.

dailybuck777

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My old dentist retired and I went to a new dentist who suggested I get deep cleaning because my gums have some pockets in the six to eight range. Don't have any serious pain or periodontal issues that I am aware of. Realize the pockets can become something worse.

In any event, it took them about an hour and 10 minutes to do my right side and 50 minutes to do my left side. Mostly seem like a regular cleaning to me other than they gave me some painkiller gel. Dentist is trying to charge $640 each for each visit which is more than $600 an hour. Seems totally unreasonable to me. Claims that National dental advisory service recommends this price. I am going to double-check that organization.

Curious if other people have had this procedure and what the charges were.
 
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dailybuck777

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did he tell you the price in advance?
It is a she and I don't remember the price quotes from like 3 months ago when the appointment was set up. On my end though, I thought it was something like a surgical procedure. All it is is a little bit fancy teeth cleaning.
 
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dailybuck777

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Do you have dental insurance or is that the price without insurance?
Price without insurance and I don't have dental insurance. I have a real good health insurance agent who told me that most of the plans don't help that much. If I'm going to be doing this, I may need a plan. On a separate matter, I got a bill for $5,000 for a CAT scan that was ultimately paid for $300 because I had insurance. I am afraid the same process is going on here where I am being charged a ridiculous retail price with the idea that it will be reduced by insurance.
 

SLUPSU

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My old dentist retired and I went to a new dentist who suggested I get deep cleaning because my gums have some pockets in the six to eight range. Don't have any serious pain or periodontal issues that I am aware of. Realize the pockets can become something worse.

In any event, it took them about an hour and 10 minutes to do my right side and 50 minutes to do my left side. Mostly seem like a regular cleaning to me other than they gave me some painkiller gel. Dentist is trying to charge $640 each for each visit which is more than $600 an hour. Seems totally unreasonable to me. Claims that National dental advisory service recommends this price. I am going to double-check that organization.

Curious if other people have had this procedure and what the charges were.

My guess is that it should cost around $100 per quadrant.
 

lazydave841

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My old dentist retired and I went to a new dentist who suggested I get deep cleaning because my gums have some pockets in the six to eight range. Don't have any serious pain or periodontal issues that I am aware of. Realize the pockets can become something worse.

In any event, it took them about an hour and 10 minutes to do my right side and 50 minutes to do my left side. Mostly seem like a regular cleaning to me other than they gave me some painkiller gel. Dentist is trying to charge $640 each for each visit which is more than $600 an hour. Seems totally unreasonable to me. Claims that National dental advisory service recommends this price. I am going to double-check that organization.

Curious if other people have had this procedure and what the charges were.

First time I ran into this was in '17 or '18. My typical dentist at the time didn't work Fridays. I worked out of town leaving Sunday evenings and coming home Thursday nights. New place I went got me on this as well without telling me the price.

First visit, they did just one side of my mouth. Second visit, they did the other. A couple hours after getting home, I felt like I had been boxing with the heavyweight champion. They basically pull your gums away from your teeth and dig below the gum line. I was sore until the next morning and didn't notice any other positive from this than a typical cleaning. If anything, food stuck in my gums more often after this than it did prior for up to a year.

Price: $500 +/-, insurance didn't cover any of the cost. They basically treated it like a cosmetic procedure and not medical care. Regular cleanings I am covered twice a year, usually costs $50 copay for the first visit each year and no more unless other work has to be done.
 
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dailybuck777

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First time I ran into this was in '17 or '18. My typical dentist at the time didn't work Fridays. I worked out of town leaving Sunday evenings and coming home Thursday nights. New place I went got me on this as well without telling me the price.

First visit, they did just one side of my mouth. Second visit, they did the other. A couple hours after getting home, I felt like I had been boxing with the heavyweight champion. They basically pull your gums away from your teeth and dig below the gum line. I was sore until the next morning and didn't notice any other positive from this than a typical cleaning. If anything, food stuck in my gums more often after this than it did prior for up to a year.

Price: $500 +/-, insurance didn't cover any of the cost. They basically treated it like a cosmetic procedure and not medical care. Regular cleanings I am covered twice a year, usually costs $50 copay for the first visit each year and no more unless other work has to be done.
I have had zero problems following the two visits.
 
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SLUPSU

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Here is what one web site says. "

Dental deep cleaning cost​


The cost of dental cleaning will most likely be more if it is a deep cleaning at the dentist. Dental deep cleaning costs on average between $150 and $350 without insurance." https://www.dentaly.org/us/oral-hygiene/deep-cleaning/

I found this random discount dental plan which prices out a "Periodontal Scaling and Root Planing" which is what I think is the official name for the procedure, look for code D4341, it says patient cost is $135/quadrant with a full price of $296, which I still think is high. Also, you might ask on the test board, I believe there are two posters who are dentists.

https://www.coastdental.com/coastdental/media/pdf/smileplusfeeschedule.pdf
 

dailybuck777

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I found this random discount dental plan which prices out a "Periodontal Scaling and Root Planing" which is what I think is the official name for the procedure, look for code D4341, it says patient cost is $135/quadrant with a full price of $296, which I still think is high. Also, you might ask on the test board, I believe there are two posters who are dentists.

https://www.coastdental.com/coastdental/media/pdf/smileplusfeeschedule.pdf
Thanks. Very helpful. Unfortunately, my procedure is D4341 which your publication lists as costing $296 per QUADRANT. Roughly what my dentist is charging. Since the procedure took so little time, I suspect that only a small amount of work was done in some quadrants.
 

LemonEars

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Mar 13, 2010
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My old dentist retired and I went to a new dentist who suggested I get deep cleaning because my gums have some pockets in the six to eight range. Don't have any serious pain or periodontal issues that I am aware of. Realize the pockets can become something worse.

In any event, it took them about an hour and 10 minutes to do my right side and 50 minutes to do my left side. Mostly seem like a regular cleaning to me other than they gave me some painkiller gel. Dentist is trying to charge $640 each for each visit which is more than $600 an hour. Seems totally unreasonable to me. Claims that National dental advisory service recommends this price. I am going to double-check that organization.

Curious if other people have had this procedure and what the charges were.
I paid $1100 for the same treatment last January. it took about an hour. I just figured it was the price of business.

The same dental practice wants to drill and cap a single molar. Price quoted is $1800. Dentists are very expensive.
 

psulongago

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Aug 29, 2001
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My old dentist retired and I went to a new dentist who suggested I get deep cleaning because my gums have some pockets in the six to eight range. Don't have any serious pain or periodontal issues that I am aware of. Realize the pockets can become something worse.

In any event, it took them about an hour and 10 minutes to do my right side and 50 minutes to do my left side. Mostly seem like a regular cleaning to me other than they gave me some painkiller gel. Dentist is trying to charge $640 each for each visit which is more than $600 an hour. Seems totally unreasonable to me. Claims that National dental advisory service recommends this price. I am going to double-check that organization.

Curious if other people have had this procedure and what the charges were.
Have not had that procedure but seems normal routine procedures, xrays, cleaning by the hygienist and a five minute walk around by the dentist are outrageous. One hour cost just under $400,
 

dailybuck777

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I paid $1100 for the same treatment last January. it took about an hour. I just figured it was the price of business.

The same dental practice wants to drill and cap a single molar. Price quoted is $1800. Dentists are very expensive.
A long time ago, I was switching dentists after a move to a different city. One dentist said I had a cracked tooth and needed about $6,000 worth of work althogether. Another dentist said I had a chipped tooth and I got the work done for about $750 with no further problems. If you don't watch your medical dental providers you will get whacked.

About 2 months ago, I had a tooth surgically removed with local anesthesia. Took 2 minutes and charge was $200. This procedure to me was far more skillful than this fancy tooth cleaning.
 

dailybuck777

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Have not had that procedure but seems normal routine procedures, xrays, cleaning by the hygienist and a five minute walk around by the dentist are outrageous. One hour cost just under $400,
No input by dentist at all in my case for the actual procedures.
 

psulongago

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Have not had that procedure but seems normal routine procedures, xrays, cleaning by the hygienist and a five minute walk around by the dentist are outrageous. One hour cost just under $400,
Curious, son is getting full mouth implants, said we would pay, about what should that cost?
 

dailybuck777

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Rates were based on figures provided by National Dental Advisory Service, which is simply a private organization that collects nos. voluntarily submitted by dentists (who of course, have an interest in inflating their prices)
 

bdgan

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My old dentist retired and I went to a new dentist who suggested I get deep cleaning because my gums have some pockets in the six to eight range. Don't have any serious pain or periodontal issues that I am aware of. Realize the pockets can become something worse.

In any event, it took them about an hour and 10 minutes to do my right side and 50 minutes to do my left side. Mostly seem like a regular cleaning to me other than they gave me some painkiller gel. Dentist is trying to charge $640 each for each visit which is more than $600 an hour. Seems totally unreasonable to me. Claims that National dental advisory service recommends this price. I am going to double-check that organization.

Curious if other people have had this procedure and what the charges were.
My son had the scaling and the price was similar. His gum scores weren't nearly as bad as yours. The worst part is they told him he had to have more expensive and more frequent deep cleanings going forward. He said he wanted to go back to regular cleanings and they refused. I told him to find a new dentist.
 

NC2017

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Apr 21, 2015
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My old dentist retired and I went to a new dentist who suggested I get deep cleaning because my gums have some pockets in the six to eight range. Don't have any serious pain or periodontal issues that I am aware of. Realize the pockets can become something worse.

In any event, it took them about an hour and 10 minutes to do my right side and 50 minutes to do my left side. Mostly seem like a regular cleaning to me other than they gave me some painkiller gel. Dentist is trying to charge $640 each for each visit which is more than $600 an hour. Seems totally unreasonable to me. Claims that National dental advisory service recommends this price. I am going to double-check that organization.

Curious if other people have had this procedure and what the charges were.

That deep pocket nonsense is designed as an upsell. No one has ever left the chair after that examination and not "need" everything you were sold. Find a new dentist and tell him what you want.
 

Parkland Fan

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Jul 25, 2001
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My old dentist retired and I went to a new dentist who suggested I get deep cleaning because my gums have some pockets in the six to eight range. Don't have any serious pain or periodontal issues that I am aware of. Realize the pockets can become something worse.

In any event, it took them about an hour and 10 minutes to do my right side and 50 minutes to do my left side. Mostly seem like a regular cleaning to me other than they gave me some painkiller gel. Dentist is trying to charge $640 each for each visit which is more than $600 an hour. Seems totally unreasonable to me. Claims that National dental advisory service recommends this price. I am going to double-check that organization.

Curious if other people have had this procedure and what the charges were.
I had the deep cleaning about 10 years ago. Included novacain shot and took about 90 minutes. Cost $250 for each Quadrant. I now get a cleaning 3X per year for about $150 and it includes a quick check by the dentist.
 
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84Lion

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Oh, Buck, I feel for ya. I went through this about 20 years ago. My employer had a “fully covered” dental plan but you had to use “in-network” dentists. What I called a “Dentist In A Box.” It was fine for a few years but then some of us started comparing notes; we were all being told we needed “deep cleanings.” Eventually the insurance company got wise and refused to pay for the deep cleanings. Then the dentists got wise and started saying they wouldn’t even do a standard cleaning unless you agreed to the deep cleaning first – at your expense. I went to the last dentist office in the plan available in the network and was given a choice between a “Good, Better, or Best” deep cleaning plan but they would not do a standard cleaning if I didn’t agree to at least the minimal deep cleaning – at my expense of course. Did I mention that the hygienist taking the readings of my gums pushed so hard my gums bled and hurt for a couple days afterward? No wonder they said I had “deep pockets.” I walked out, went home and asked the insurance company if they’d pay for a 2nd opinion. They said they would.

I went to a dentist in the “nicer” area near where we live and explicitly asked if they did NOT take insurance. They didn’t. The dentist said my teeth needed a good standard cleaning (I hadn’t had a cleaning for awhile because of the fiasco mentioned above) but were otherwise just fine. I, and my family, have been going to this dentist for years and we couldn’t be happier. We still get our cleaning visits paid (except maybe a few dollars) by the insurance, the only thing is that we have to pay up front and then get our check from the insurance company. The hygienists are very gentle and the dentist is of my mind – “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”

The moral of the story is that dentists can be shysters just like used car salesman or ambulance chasing lawyers. Choose wisely.
 

dailybuck777

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I have a very good health insurance agent, and I will ask him whether it makes sense to get dental insurance to get the negotiated rate. Seems like this may be similar to drug plans, which even though you take few drugs, are necessary so you don't get charged triple. Don't trust this dentist now and will probably move on.

A fair amount of people here know that I am a lawyer. Personally don't care if I am sued -- Would like to see her argue how a $600 an hour charge for a dental hygienist's work is reasonable in front of a [small claims] judge. Don't care is she turns it over to collections either.
 

LMTLION

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My old dentist retired and I went to a new dentist who suggested I get deep cleaning because my gums have some pockets in the six to eight range. Don't have any serious pain or periodontal issues that I am aware of. Realize the pockets can become something worse.

In any event, it took them about an hour and 10 minutes to do my right side and 50 minutes to do my left side. Mostly seem like a regular cleaning to me other than they gave me some painkiller gel. Dentist is trying to charge $640 each for each visit which is more than $600 an hour. Seems totally unreasonable to me. Claims that National dental advisory service recommends this price. I am going to double-check that organization.

Curious if other people have had this procedure and what the charges were.
I hope you at least got a happy ending for that price!
 

SLUPSU

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I have a very good health insurance agent, and I will ask him whether it makes sense to get dental insurance to get the negotiated rate. Seems like this may be similar to drug plans, which even though you take few drugs, are necessary so you don't get charged triple. Don't trust this dentist now and will probably move on.

A fair amount of people here know that I am a lawyer. Personally don't care if I am sued -- Would like to see her argue how a $600 an hour charge for a dental hygienist's work is reasonable in front of a [small claims] judge. Don't care is she turns it over to collections either.

Here's some ammo, this is a fee schedule I found, I think it's for Medicaid from Washington State. They pay dentists $74.96 per quadrant.... they certainly aren't going to do it at a loss.

 
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LafayetteBear

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Buck: I just talked with one of my Cal fraternity brothers (Paul) who is a retired dentist (he retired a year ago). He told me that a deep cleaning is something entirely different than your average teeth cleaning, and that $250 a quadrant is very reasonable. He said that a lot more is involved with a deep cleaning, including aftercare.

I told Paul that you indicated your pockets were in the "six to eight range" I believe he said that is measured in millimeters. Anyway, Paul said that 8 mm pockets are pretty damn deep, and require some serious attention.

So I stand corrected on my initial post, in which I opined that $640 per side is way too high. First time I have ever been mistaken ...................... Not.
 

dailybuck777

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He said that a lot more is involved with a deep cleaning, including aftercare.
Thanks for your input. However, there is no aftercare involved in this deep cleaning other than an appt with dentist to look at, hopefully, progress in 4 months. Of course, I will be charged for an exam. Also, my guess is some additional skill is involved in this, but while I was in the chair, other than a jelly pain killer that was easily applied, there was nothing special going on. Felt exactly like a regular cleaning. (realize that something more was going on, but so far no that much more)

This site says that deep cleaning should cost between $150 & $350. Video on page by dentist says there is nothing particularly special about it. https://www.dentaly.org/us/oral-hygiene/deep-cleaning/ Dentist here said that 5s & above were concerning.

Looking at my perio readings I was wrong. Most are 2s, 3s & 4s. A limited no. of 5-7s. Had one 9 but tooth was surgically removed. In the past dental hygienist who did work emphasized the bad ones and I never looked. Today hygienist told me my problems were mostly on the sides which is harder to floss for me.
 
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LafayetteBear

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This site says that deep cleaning should cost between $150 & $350.
Are you sure that is not a per quadrant price? And I gotta say that I didn't know squat about "quadrants" (at least in the teeth cleaning context) until talking to my retired dentist friend Paul. If you want me to ask him any more questions about this, let me know. I am headed to Portland (actually, Vancouver, Washington) tomorrow for a reunion of fraternity brothers and their significant others, and Paul will be there.
 
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dailybuck777

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Are you sure that is not a per quadrant price? And I gotta say that I didn't know squat about "quadrants" (at least in the teeth cleaning context) until talking to my retired dentist friend Paul. If you want me to ask him any more questions about this, let me know. I am headed to Portland (actually, Vancouver, Washington) tomorrow for a reunion of fraternity brothers and their significant others, and Paul will be there.
If you are nice enough to ask him question, I would appreciate it. [Will be nicer to you on the test board for a while :)] I had the same question you had, and it is not clear whether that site is talking about quadrants or the whole procedure. However, that site said that the deep cleaning could take hours and mine was short, so I apparently have a comparatively minor problem.
 
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dailybuck777

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Cletus11

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ON a sort of similar note. I have Delta Dental insurance through work. My dentist just sent out a letter to all clients that at end of year 2022 that they will no longer accept Delta Dental as the payments that Delta is giving is not enough for their practice. So now I am going to have to find another dentist.
 

Jerry

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Oh, Buck, I feel for ya. I went through this about 20 years ago. My employer had a “fully covered” dental plan but you had to use “in-network” dentists. What I called a “Dentist In A Box.” It was fine for a few years but then some of us started comparing notes; we were all being told we needed “deep cleanings.” Eventually the insurance company got wise and refused to pay for the deep cleanings. Then the dentists got wise and started saying they wouldn’t even do a standard cleaning unless you agreed to the deep cleaning first – at your expense. I went to the last dentist office in the plan available in the network and was given a choice between a “Good, Better, or Best” deep cleaning plan but they would not do a standard cleaning if I didn’t agree to at least the minimal deep cleaning – at my expense of course. Did I mention that the hygienist taking the readings of my gums pushed so hard my gums bled and hurt for a couple days afterward? No wonder they said I had “deep pockets.” I walked out, went home and asked the insurance company if they’d pay for a 2nd opinion. They said they would.

I went to a dentist in the “nicer” area near where we live and explicitly asked if they did NOT take insurance. They didn’t. The dentist said my teeth needed a good standard cleaning (I hadn’t had a cleaning for awhile because of the fiasco mentioned above) but were otherwise just fine. I, and my family, have been going to this dentist for years and we couldn’t be happier. We still get our cleaning visits paid (except maybe a few dollars) by the insurance, the only thing is that we have to pay up front and then get our check from the insurance company. The hygienists are very gentle and the dentist is of my mind – “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”

The moral of the story is that dentists can be shysters just like used car salesman or ambulance chasing lawyers. Choose wisely.

I think your used-car salesmen comparison is apt. There've been a number of studies done on this, and they all point in the same direction: roughly half or more of dentists order up expensive procedures that are not necessary. I mean, they can pretty much tell you anything after all, and most people are inclined to believe it.

OK, I'll cop to being one of those guys who doesn't go to the dentist very often. Unlike my wife who goes religiously at least twice a year for cleanings if nothing else. But last year I had some moderate discomfort in the area of a molar where part of a filling had fallen out a long time ago so I went to my wife's dentist for an opinion. The technician took an x-ray and told me -- I'm sure she was not authorized to say this -- that the tooth looked fine. No indication of a cavity or infection.

Then the doc comes in, examines the tooth, and declares there is a crack near the gum line, which is causing the discomfort. He says the tooth needs a crown...and "possibly a root canal." So I proceeded to get a second opinion from an entirely different dentist. He sees no crack whatsoever. However, he too insists I need a crown...and "possibly a root canal." But doc, why can't you just re-fill the tooth? Oh no, no, can't be done.

Meanwhile, the discomfort from the imaginary crack had gone away entirely. That was over a year ago. I haven't been back...and the tooth feels fine. I'll probably wake up one morning in agony and get no sympathy from my wife who thinks my attitude toward dentists is crazy. On the other hand, for the last 20 years I've been brushing and using listerine after every meal...and flossing every evening. In my experience, this is enough to maintain healthy enough gums and prevent the formation of cavities or significantly retard their development.
 

ForesterGump

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I've never had deep gum cleaning even suggested to me. I don't have dental insurance, but the dentists in my area have started to offer their own version of insurance. Mine charges $250/yr. It includes 2 office visits, 1 x-ray, 2 cleanings with an inspection by a dentist, and 10% off of any additional procedure. Last yr, the charge was $200, so they've raised their prices.

Last yr I had a chipped tooth that needed to be refilled. Cost was $121. I like to believe that a dentist or doctor will negotiate prices with me.
 
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WPTLION

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ON a sort of similar note. I have Delta Dental insurance through work. My dentist just sent out a letter to all clients that at end of year 2022 that they will no longer accept Delta Dental as the payments that Delta is giving is not enough for their practice. So now I am going to have to find another dentist.
Or you could just pay for the service, kind of like I do now.
 

Cletus11

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Or you could just pay for the service, kind of like I do now.
pay for what service. are you suggesting that I pay whatever the dentist charges without insurance versus finding a dentist that takes my insurance? why would I do that.
 

rutgersdave

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Jan 23, 2004
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I paid $1100 for the same treatment last January. it took about an hour. I just figured it was the price of business.

The same dental practice wants to drill and cap a single molar. Price quoted is $1800. Dentists are very expensive.
Dental work is not covered by Medicare and insurance pay very little for dental work. So many people skip the annual checkup and cleaning so when they go to the dentist, it usually a major problem. I had deep cleaning done once but you need to brush your teeth and floss probably more important. I didn’t go to a dentist for about 12-15 years, afterward got a bill for 2-3 thousands mainly crowns replacing fillings. The insurance went over the estimate before approving most of the work.

Most dentists will not take Medicaid since their reimbursement is too low.
 
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