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Chuker
LSU Fan
St George, Louisiana
Member since Nov 2015
7544 posts

Dental costs without insurance
I've been self employed for about 3 years now and on my own as far as dental care. For that time I've had a dentist who I liked as far as care and what I felt was fair pricing. She is getting near retirement and decided to leave her own practice and become a dentist for another outfit that has many locations. I followed her to the new place a was met with bit of a sticker shock. My regular denist was out so I saw someone else.

For my checkup and 4 rear x-rays it was $209 which wasn't horrible. However they said one of my old fillings was showing some signs of needing replacing. That is going to be $265 for a "composite 3-surface molar". For some reference the bill from her old practice was $115 for checkup and $300 for 2 fillings.

I realize these costs aren't too terribly much higher but it feels like the straw that broke the camel's back. Nearly $500 for a checkup+xrays+1 filling is hard to digest.

So I'm considering cancelling appointment for the filling and finding a new dentist.

My questions are, have I been just lucky with the past prices and am in for a shocker wherever I go?
If I go to a new dentist does my old x-rays transfer over to them or will I need new x-rays to get them up to speed?

Thanks


This post was edited on 1/12 at 10:48 am


Shepherd88
Member since Dec 2013
2854 posts

re: Dental costs without insurance
Did you ask them what the cash price would be if they didn’t have to deal with an insurance company?

But I would imagine a newer bigger outfit would have higher prices. They likely have equipment that hasn’t been fully paid for and more staff (unlike the previous dentist who’s retiring).


ItzMe1972
Member since Dec 2013
3041 posts

re: Dental costs without insurance
"For some reference the bill from her old practice was $115 for checkup"
--

That's about what I pay now for a cleaning/exam.

X-rays are extra.


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WPBTiger
USA Fan
Parts Unknown
Member since Nov 2011
17699 posts

re: Dental costs without insurance
It cost me nothing because of insurance, but I just had a cleaning and dentist billed insurance company $144, cleaning and x-rays.


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Chuker
LSU Fan
St George, Louisiana
Member since Nov 2015
7544 posts

re: Dental costs without insurance
quote:

ask them what the cash price would be if they didn’t have to deal with an insurance company?


I confirmed with the billing lady that I did not have insurance and that this would be a cash payment. I just had lunch with some people and they thought the prices were a bit high and recommend going elsewhere.


I just don't want to be the sucker who is too lazy to switch and ignores being charged too much. Also would rather have the extra money in my account instead of the dentist.


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TigrrrDad
Member since Oct 2016
4631 posts

re: Dental costs without insurance
That is a tad high for the filling, but a 3-surface composite filling is about the most expensive filling there is, before jumping up to a much more expensive crown. If the “$300 for two fillings” was for 1-surface fillings, there’s the big difference.

That being said, I worked for one of those multi-location places for a short time after Katrina shut down my practice. While I appreciated the opportunity for employment, I was not impressed with the quality of work there. Lots of dentists straight out of school at some of those places. At one of the offices, the assistant literally told the dentists what they were allowed to do on the patients during the scheduled times. I had to butt heads with them a couple times to avoid what I thought was unethical practice. Not saying they are all like that, but be wary.

And despite being a walk-in clinic type of operation that specialized in pulling teeth and making crappy partials/dentures, their fees were higher than those in my private practice (granted, I had low fees).
This post was edited on 1/12 at 11:28 pm


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baldona
Auburn Fan
Florida
Member since Feb 2016
11389 posts

re: Dental costs without insurance
Yes any larger franchise type place is going to be more expensive OP. I pay around $290/ year for my 2 cleanings plus regular xrays. Something like $120 per cleaning and $50 for xrays. My dentist offers a ‘self insurance’ plan through him that is 2 Cleaning’s, xrays, some other minor stuff I never use, plus 10% off major work for $349. I joke with the receptionist every time it doesn’t make sense for me to pay an additional $60/ year to be in their insurance plan.

Eta: I’m self employed, I’ve looked into dental plans for years they are all about $40-60/ month. Makes no sense to get the insurance when I can pay cash for considerably cheaper then $500/ year.
This post was edited on 1/13 at 6:25 am


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auisssa
Alabama Fan
Member since Feb 2010
2597 posts

re: Dental costs without insurance
quote:

does my old x-rays transfer over to them or will I need new x-rays to get them up to speed


I've never had a problem getting one dentist to send x-rays to another dentist (assuming the x-rays are valid time-wise for the new dentist)


broadhead
Member since Oct 2014
934 posts

re: Dental costs without insurance
If you have healthy teeth then paying out of pocket is cheaper than having insurance.


mrgreenpants
Ohio State Fan
paisaland
Member since Mar 2018
355 posts

re: Dental costs without insurance
paying out of pocket is practically always cheaper than buying dental coverage yourself ..


people do not buy dental insurance for life's catastrophes..they buy it because they want to use it.
which for-profit business(that plans to stick around) has ever giving you something for nothing?


just run the numbers..
if you pay for dental coverage yourself...how much do you actually expect to come out ahead?

if your mouth is healthy... just look for discount plans offered by the more 'organized' dental practices..
they usually write off exams&radiographs...and offer a discount on needed treatment.

some practices.. treat "cleaning/examss" as loss leaders.
happy pts with the great dental hygiene are highly desired..bc those pts refer (a lot). is beneficial for doctor to have lots of those pts in the practice.

if you need extensive work.. simply avoid the chains and and go to a practice owned by the doctor working on you.
they can (and will) work with you..
ask if there is a discount for prepaying cash. (prepaying saves the doctor from having to collect(~5%) later..and cash saves finance charges(3-10%))


btw, there is no such thing as dental "insurance"....it is a benefit of your job.
those maximums have not changed much since the 60s.. (we've had a bit of inflation since then)


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lsujro
LSU Fan
BR
Member since Jul 2007
3186 posts
 Online 

re: Dental costs without insurance
That is higher than I pay to a dentist-owned practice, with 2 dentists. Composite filling was like $175 IIRC. Cleaning + xrays is $140 I believe.


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TigrrrDad
Member since Oct 2016
4631 posts

re: Dental costs without insurance
The most recent fee survey I see online is from 2017, and not all procedures are listed, but for the South (fees vary significantly by region) it shows the following fees...

Posterior 2-surface composite filling (3-surface wasn’t listed):

50th percentile: $260

70th precentile: $286

90th percentile: $313

Exam and Cleaning (no x-rays):

50th percentile $191

70th percentile: $213

90th percentile: $238

The southern region surveyed includes LA, TX, OK, KY, NC, SC, MS, AL, AR, TN, GA, FL. If this region were broken down further, LA would be a bit cheaper than a state like Texas, but this should give a general idea of local fees. I’ve been out of the game for 10 years, and my fees were a lot lower than this back then, though I kept mine in the bottom 25-50%.
This post was edited on 1/16 at 7:55 pm


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