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Old 02-03-2015, 08:52 AM   #21
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I am faced with the same issue. For those of you self insure, do you find that your dentists are willing to charge you similar prices as "negotiated prices" set by dental insurance?

I am also thinking about discount plans like Careington. I am able to find "real" dentists (not chain clinics) that accept this plan in my area. Does anyone have experience using this plan?

Thanks!
My dental insurance didn't seem to have the notion of allowable rates as in medical insurance. If that happened it was masked from me by insurance and dentist.
They paid everything that was a covered service, till you met your low yearly max.

My dentist I've been with for 23 years doesn't accept discount plans, my BIL(DDS) in another state been in practice 28 years doesn't either. Both have built very good pratices and have established clients, sometimes more than they can handle.

My guess and only a guess is that newer dentist may, or dentists in areas that are highly competitive. Probably in order to build their client base.

I know BIL had a heck of a time early on in establishing his practice. First financing, then getting bums in the seats of those expensive chairs. Before he got financing to open his own pratice he would do overflow work for an older dentist 100 miles away. BIL said this crusty older DDS would laugh and tell him he paid the dental assitants more. Things may have changed since he established his pratice.
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Old 02-03-2015, 09:32 AM   #22
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One thing I haven't done is get a bite guard for sleep. I really don't want one. But I keep cracking teeth (hence the crowns), so they suspect I grind my teeth. So maybe I need to "bite the bullet" lol and get one. I just really don't want to do anything else to interrupt my sleep...not a great sleeper to begin with!

I got a custom bite guard from a periodontist in 2009. DH was still working and we had good dental insurance and money left in the FSA that I needed to use up. I have seen non-custom ones at drug stores and Target. You use hot water to customize them for your bite.

Mine is for lower teeth only and I love it. I have myself trained that my bite guard means SLEEP. I never felt like it was an interference. It really helped prevent damage from clenching and grinding.


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Old 02-03-2015, 10:42 AM   #23
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I got a custom bite guard from a periodontist in 2009. DH was still working and we had good dental insurance and money left in the FSA that I needed to use up. I have seen non-custom ones at drug stores and Target. You use hot water to customize them for your bite.

Mine is for lower teeth only and I love it. I have myself trained that my bite guard means SLEEP. I never felt like it was an interference. It really helped prevent damage from clenching and grinding.


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That's good to hear. Hubby is still working (but hoping this will be his last year full-time), so I will investigate my options while we still have good dental insurance. Thanks!
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Old 02-03-2015, 10:42 AM   #24
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Yikes, $10K and that was WITH insurance. Holy crap! I suspect my teeth are like yours, and I have this in my future at some point. <snip>

One thing I haven't done is get a bite guard for sleep. I really don't want one. But I keep cracking teeth (hence the crowns), so they suspect I grind my teeth. So maybe I need to "bite the bullet" lol and get one. I just really don't want to do anything else to interrupt my sleep...not a great sleeper to begin with!
Remember that was for 2 implants (one to replace the tooth holding up the bridge that went bad, another in the gap the bridge covered). It also covered a new crown for the tooth at the other end of the old bridge. And, although I didn't mention it, I was employed at the time so insurance paid about $1,200. Coverage maxed out at $1,500 per year and they'd already paid a few claims.

+1 on the bite guard recommendation. It's cheap prevention. I've had one for years and have had far fewer cracked teeth and damaged crowns. I actually sleep better with mine; now I can't stand to feel my teeth set against each other when I sleep!
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Old 02-03-2015, 11:50 AM   #25
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...snip...

+1 on the bite guard recommendation. It's cheap prevention. I've had one for years and have had far fewer cracked teeth and damaged crowns. I actually sleep better with mine; now I can't stand to feel my teeth set against each other when I sleep!
+all my real teeth

I never knew how bad my jaw and teeth hurt until I started wearing one. Now if I fall asleep for an hour I wish I'd worn mine.

Yes, I sleep better with mine. The condition is called Bruxism. There are many different types of appliances. Some, like a simple horseshoe are easier(IMHO)to get used to. I think I adjusted to mine from the first night. I've worn many different types, my current one is unusual in that it just covers the front 4 teeth. That one was suggested due to my c-spine issues. Edit to add: It also has the advantage in that if I need a molar re-crowned I can still wear it.

Even though I destroy one every two years, cheapest premium for me.
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Old 02-03-2015, 11:52 AM   #26
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Yikes, $10K and that was WITH insurance. Holy crap! I suspect my teeth are like yours, and I have this in my future at some point. And yes, I take good care of my teeth, too. But I suspect because grew up on well water (no fluoride) I developed many cavities in my youth. No new cavities as an adult, but the old fillings are big and there isn't much tooth left, so the tooth tends to crack easily especially now as I am getting older.



One thing I haven't done is get a bite guard for sleep. I really don't want one. But I keep cracking teeth (hence the crowns), so they suspect I grind my teeth. So maybe I need to "bite the bullet" lol and get one. I just really don't want to do anything else to interrupt my sleep...not a great sleeper to begin with!

Get a good mouth guard. My teeth are cracking too. I'm waiting for the completion of my first implant next week. I couldn't wear my mouth guard for the last several months due to my teeth shifting and my missing tooth. I can see that my lower front teeth are getting ground down during that time without my mouth guard. Even broke off a very small chip on one of my lower teeth.


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Old 02-03-2015, 12:09 PM   #27
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Yikes, $10K and that was WITH insurance. Holy crap! I suspect my teeth are like yours, and I have this in my future at some point. And yes, I take good care of my teeth, too. But I suspect because grew up on well water (no fluoride) I developed many cavities in my youth. No new cavities as an adult, but the old fillings are big and there isn't much tooth left, so the tooth tends to crack easily especially now as I am getting older.
My teeth are awful and almost all have root canals or crowns and so on. My relatives' teeth are the same, so I blame our Scottish/English ancestry.

Cost of dental work and oral surgery varies a lot from place to place. My dental implant totalled less than $3450 including the crown, prescriptions, bone graft prior to implant surgery, and everything. He told me that a bridge would be about half that much if I went that route instead.

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I am faced with the same issue. For those of you self insure, do you find that your dentists are willing to charge you similar prices as "negotiated prices" set by dental insurance?
No, I pay 15% lower than those negotiated prices if I pay on the spot in cash. This is because of the savings on paperwork and billing. I used to "poor mouth" my dentist before I retired, at least a little bit anyway ("gosh, do you believe the inflation lately? It's hard for an older woman who is alone in the world to make ends meet these days" and that kind of thing). I no longer do and he still charges me the lower price.
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Old 02-03-2015, 12:38 PM   #28
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Just enrolled at dentalinsurance.com for the Nationwide PPO plan, 19.48 a month.

I asked my dentist and another one offering $1400 implants what they charged for exams, cleanings and X-rays.

Both of them had higher prices if you paid out of pocket vs. if you had insurance.

It appears two cleanings and exams per year work out to be about the annual cost of insurance, or maybe even more.
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Old 02-03-2015, 12:39 PM   #29
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My goal was / is to ER when my WR got to 3%. The 3% needed to cover full non-subsidized costs plus the OOP maximum for an ACA plan as well as "accruals" for major appliance / roof / car replacements. The investable assets excluded high cost bucket list travel (70k), the hurricane deductable on my home owners insurance (6k), unforeseen dog medical expenses (5k), major home repairs for things not yet known (30k), 18 months of nursing home care (115k), and (after reading too many threads about expensive dental work) 30k for potential dental work.
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Old 02-03-2015, 12:43 PM   #30
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I initially made the mistake of getting the 'add-on' dental coverage on our individual medical insurance. It turned out to have a few problems.

1) Apparently, having teeth was considered to be a 'pre-existing condition'
2) The great numbers quoted in the brochure was for 'in-plan' dentists only. We couldn't find any in-plan dentists within 75 miles of our location, and we aren't exactly rural here.
3) They would happily accept our premium payments, but when a dentist's office called to ask, they mysteriously had no record of our being covered. Multiple calls and certified mail pieces didn't resolve this.

We dropped that coverage, when we realized it would be cheaper to just pay and dicker a bit over costs.

We track the expenses, and now pay for everything using our HSA, getting a virtual tax break on the cost. So far it has not been horrible. We know there could be a higher expense some years, particularly if major dental work surfaces, but that's why we max out the HSA.
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Old 02-03-2015, 12:44 PM   #31
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A few questions:

1) Did you self-insure for dental issues after retirement? If so, how did you decide on a number to set? Our costs really have been minimal but the past few years I've needed more crowns. Do dental costs go up as you age?.....
We decided to self-insure. Prior to retiring our typical costs were checkups and two cleanings a year each. Insurance was going to be ~$900/year and our typical cost of cleanings and checkups is ~$500/year so it was an easy decision.

Shortly after we retired DW needed a crown and that cost us ~$1,000. I cracked a tooth after retiring but the dentist just smoothed the rough edge and it has been holding up fine. So after 3 years, I think we are a little ahead and would be way ahead had it not been for DW's crown.
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Old 02-03-2015, 01:16 PM   #32
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I have a careington dental discount plan - it runs about $150 per yr for the 2 of us. Had a crown done today and the charges were as follows: pre discount rack rate 1339.50 and I pd $952
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Old 02-03-2015, 01:42 PM   #33
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My goal was / is to ER when my WR got to 3%. The 3% needed to cover full non-subsidized costs plus the OOP maximum for an ACA plan as well as "accruals" for major appliance / roof / car replacements. The investable assets excluded high cost bucket list travel (70k), the hurricane deductable on my home owners insurance (6k), unforeseen dog medical expenses (5k), major home repairs for things not yet known (30k), 18 months of nursing home care (115k), and (after reading too many threads about expensive dental work) 30k for potential dental work.
Your travel budget is 70k?

Per year?
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Old 02-03-2015, 02:11 PM   #34
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Your travel budget is 70k?

Per year?
Oh my - no ! That is the amount that I have excluded from my investable assets in calculating my 3% WR. The 70k will cover 4 "bucket list" vacations. My 3% WR includes 5k in annual travel expense.
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Old 02-03-2015, 02:15 PM   #35
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That's still 4 pretty nice vacations.

I was looking at the National Geographic expeditions. They seem to run a lot of them, all over the world.

And they often charge $10k or more per person, double occupancy, for land costs only, for 8-12 day trips.
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Old 02-03-2015, 11:34 PM   #36
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I had teeth abfraction, apparently due to bruxism. I was told about this years ago and had a custom night guard costing $400. After years it is worn out and my current dentist would charge $600. I just ordered one on Amazon, made by the same dental lab that dentists use, for around 150. They send you a tray and impression material, you make your own impression and send it back, exactly the same way that a dentist would do it. I just got mine and wore it last night for the 1st time, it is VERY GOOD.

Has anyone gone across the border to get dental work done in Mexico? Some of our friends go to Yuma AZ for winter regularly and we are thinking visiting there someday. If one day my hubby and I end up needing thousands and thousands of dental work, this maybe a viable option.
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Old 02-04-2015, 04:53 AM   #37
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Has anyone gone across the border to get dental work done in Mexico? Some of our friends go to Yuma AZ for winter regularly and we are thinking visiting there someday. If one day my hubby and I end up needing thousands and thousands of dental work, this maybe a viable option.
Here are a couple of discussions on that topic
Dental work in Mexico
Costa Rica for dental tourism?
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Old 02-04-2015, 06:51 AM   #38
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I self insure. I used to visit the dentist yearly for the past 30 years while working. Only once did I require a filling and the rest of the time it was a thumbs up and carry on. As such, I will visit the dentist every 3-5 years in retirement for a checkup and clean or on condition if a notable dental issue arises. In the interim I will continue brushing twice daily and flossing weekly. I don't each much sugary food and rarely drink soda, which I believe benefits both dental and general health.
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Old 02-04-2015, 06:59 AM   #39
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Has anyone gone across the border to get dental work done in Mexico? Some of our friends go to Yuma AZ for winter regularly and we are thinking visiting there someday. If one day my hubby and I end up needing thousands and thousands of dental work, this maybe a viable option.
Around here a lot of seniors cross to Progresso, Mexico, for dental work. It's the only Mexican city considered safe for tourists to visit in our area.
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Old 02-04-2015, 09:22 AM   #40
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I had teeth abfraction, apparently due to bruxism. I was told about this years ago and had a custom night guard costing $400. After years it is worn out and my current dentist would charge $600. I just ordered one on Amazon, made by the same dental lab that dentists use, for around 150. They send you a tray and impression material, you make your own impression and send it back, exactly the same way that a dentist would do it. I just got mine and wore it last night for the 1st time, it is VERY GOOD.
Thanks for sharing this information. I pay $600 every two years to replace mine, I chew through them. They had me try an industructible one (according to the manufacturer) once. Little uncomfortable as it was harder, I couldn't chew through it, I split it down the middle in exacty two years.

For 1/4 the price I'll give them a try. According to the lab they gaurentee your satisfaction. What's to lose? It's not the type I've been wearing, but I've worn horseshoe ones in the past.
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