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Old 03-24-2011, 08:54 PM   #1
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Teeth

Good as any place to post.

Have been having minor pain in a tooth, I know it is like a plumbing leak in that it will only get worse.

Called dentist yesterday, left message, office called back early today to come in this afternoon.

So have prescription for antibiotics and appointment for root canal (my first).

I think we're talking $2000 for root canal and crown.

I can afford it.

I can only imagine how horrible tooth problems can be for people who are poor.

I have paid for tooth care for some people.
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Old 03-24-2011, 09:26 PM   #2
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Khan,

I sure hope you get the root canal competed before the pain worsens. (Ask me how I know)

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I can only imagine how horrible tooth problems can be for people who are poor.
I've noticed that 'condition of teeth' seems to go hand-in-hand with socioeconomic level.

And, sadly, many of the less well-off are missing teeth (sometimes many), or have very unsightly teeth.

As you mentioned, it's very expensive to have dental work done.

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Old 03-24-2011, 09:52 PM   #3
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I too have been having a little tooth pain off and on the past few weeks.

I haven't been to a dentist in about 3 years though ...so I've had to find one in a hurry.

I'll be going to a local dental school on Tuesday to have things looked at. The students work on you and then a licensed dentist checks their work each step of the way. So it takes longer. But they only charge about 1/3 of typical fees. Which is important to me because I don't have a dental plan, plus I know I need a lot of work done. Some ignored cavities, a chipped tooth and my wisdom teeth are still there waiting to be yanked. The nice thing is they do everything from cosmetic dentistry to oral surgery at the school, so there's no going to and from different offices.

Plus, I'm hoping they will be a little more careful and meticulous in their work since they know it will be immediately reviewed by their instructor. Rather than a guy who's been doing it for 10 years and just churns out one after another and might be thinking more about his upcoming trip to the Caribbean than about my cavity
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Old 03-24-2011, 09:58 PM   #4
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Plus, I'm hoping they will be a little more careful and meticulous in their work since they know it will be immediately reviewed by their instructor. Rather than a guy who's been doing it for 10 years and just churns out one after another and might be thinking more about his upcoming trip to the Caribbean than about my cavity
But you gotta remember, the one who's been doing it for ten years has proof he was good enough to pass the course in the first place.

Luckily around here, there are several dentists who will work with you to make monthly payments, and/or accept credit cards. It's not exactly charity work, but it's better than strict payment now or nothing.

I'm going to have to start calling around for dental insurance myself, but it means homework. I hate homework.
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Old 03-24-2011, 10:04 PM   #5
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I too have been having a little tooth pain off and on the past few weeks.

I haven't been to a dentist in about 3 years though ...so I've had to find one in a hurry.

I'll be going to a local dental school on Tuesday to have things looked at. The students work on you and then a licensed dentist checks their work each step of the way. So it takes longer. But they only charge about 1/3 of typical fees. Which is important to me because I don't have a dental plan, plus I know I need a lot of work done. Some ignored cavities, a chipped tooth and my wisdom teeth are still there waiting to be yanked. The nice thing is they do everything from cosmetic dentistry to oral surgery at the school, so there's no going to and from different offices.

Plus, I'm hoping they will be a little more careful and meticulous in their work since they know it will be immediately reviewed by their instructor. Rather than a guy who's been doing it for 10 years and just churns out one after another and might be thinking more about his upcoming trip to the Caribbean than about my cavity
I had much work done by a dental school (OSU); it was all good.
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Old 03-24-2011, 10:07 PM   #6
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But you gotta remember, the one who's been doing it for ten years has proof he was good enough to pass the course in the first place.

Luckily around here, there are several dentists who will work with you to make monthly payments, and/or accept credit cards. It's not exactly charity work, but it's better than strict payment now or nothing.

I'm going to have to start calling around for dental insurance myself, but it means homework. I hate homework.
I do not have dental insurance. Can afford work. Dentist would be willing to agree to payments.

Several years ago I paid for a friends' dental work.
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Old 03-24-2011, 10:11 PM   #7
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Luckily around here, there are several dentists who will work with you to make monthly payments, and/or accept credit cards. It's not exactly charity work, but it's better than strict payment now or nothing.
I'm going to have to start calling around for dental insurance myself, but it means homework. I hate homework.
Our pediatric dentist's staff started giving us a 20% discount when they found out we no longer had insurance. His billing agent felt that they were still keeping the lion's share of the discount in terms of hassle & speed of payment.

I know that at least half of it is genetics, but going without dental insurance has sure made me more conscientious about flossing.
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Old 03-24-2011, 10:19 PM   #8
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Our pediatric dentist's staff started giving us a 20% discount when they found out we no longer had insurance. His billing agent felt that they were still keeping the lion's share of the discount in terms of hassle & speed of payment.

I know that at least half of it is genetics, but going without dental insurance has sure made me more conscientious about flossing.
Yes: flossing & brushing & not eating sugary crap.

But as you hit decrepitude, s*** happens.

I think it's a crime that folks can't get dental care.

Many years ago, I backed up a friend/lover against a wall and demanded he go to a dentist for an infected tooth (I paid for it) .
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Old 03-24-2011, 10:21 PM   #9
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Our pediatric dentist's staff started giving us a 20% discount when they found out we no longer had insurance. His billing agent felt that they were still keeping the lion's share of the discount in terms of hassle & speed of payment.
Oh, crap. I always ask about discounts when paying all upfront or in cash. Why did I forget at my appointment? A 10-20% discount would not have been all that bad at all.

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I know that at least half of it is genetics, but going without dental insurance has sure made me more conscientious about flossing.
I've been really cautious about taking care of my teeth to try and prevent any major dental problems, but I'd never want to be insured against regular checkups and cleanings.
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Old 03-24-2011, 10:45 PM   #10
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I had much work done by a dental school (OSU); it was all good.
My wife also had a lot of work done at the OSU dental school. It was good work, very cheap, and held up for over 30 years, when (just recently) a cap came loose. I let my teeth go unattended for several decades (shame on me) until a few months ago, when I finally screwed up my courage and, over the last 4 months, had 4 extractions and lots of cavities filled. I do have dental insurance, but my copayments were around $2000. Most importantly, it was pain free, though not pleasant and rather time consuming. I'm glad to have that over with.
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Old 03-24-2011, 11:09 PM   #11
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...I think it's a crime that folks can't get dental care....
But with all due respect, folks can get dental care, it's just not cheap or free. Neither is dental school. Most dentists will arrange payment plans--if one won't, go find another.

I hate going to the dentist--I can remember going only once as a kid--but it just makes a condition worse (and more expensive) to put it off.

You'll feel so much better after the root canal is done, Khan.
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Old 03-24-2011, 11:12 PM   #12
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I've been really cautious about taking care of my teeth to try and prevent any major dental problems, but I'd never want to be insured against regular checkups and cleanings.
I figure "civilian" dental insurance is more expensive than the military retiree version, although I could be wrong. Genetically I'm probably lucky. My diet is pretty spartan, though, and my brushing/flossing fairly rigorous.

I've only visited the dentist four times in the last nine years for exams/cleanings. He does a set of bite-wing X-rays or maybe a panoramic, clucks about me having four wisdom teeth, complains happily about my 30-year-old fillings, asks if I want to replace the 20-year old plastic prosthesis on my chipped incisor, says the rest looks fine, gives me a 20-minute cleaning, and sends me on my way with free floss and a free toothbrush.

Each visit has cost $135-$175. I've spent just under $600 in those four visits, and would have to compare that to the cost of 105 months of insurance coverage.

I don't suppose high-deductible dental insurance would cost just $6/month, even in Bangkok.
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Old 03-24-2011, 11:15 PM   #13
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But with all due respect, folks can get dental care, it's just not cheap or free. Neither is dental school. Most dentists will arrange payment plans--if one won't, go find another.
Exactly.

My (adult) daughter was between jobs a few years ago and needed a root canal, so of course I offered to help her out. Her response was, "maybe, but wait and I'll see if I can arrange something."

She found a dentist with good recommendations, and he did the root canal. He told her she could make payments, and ANY amount of payment that she could afford during any given month was fine. Even $5/month was fine if she couldn't afford more.

Of course she completely paid him back as soon as she found work, but when she couldn't afford dental care she didn't have to go without. The dentist benefited too, since he got a patient for life from his kindness.
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Old 03-25-2011, 06:40 AM   #14
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Good you are getting this attended to right away, Khan. In my experience, dental problems start out small but escalate very quickly into something much more painful and much more expensive. My dentist is nearing retirement, and he only works a 4 day week, no evenings or week-ends. His receptionist confided that he does see long-time patients after hours for emergencies involving extreme pain but only if they are regular patients, i.e. seen on a 6-month recall basis.
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Old 03-25-2011, 07:38 AM   #15
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Khan, good luck. I'm just glad it's not me. My last root canal and crown cost about $500 so you know how long that's been...... Post back and let us know how it went.

We don't have dental insurance so I depend on our semi-annual dental cleanings to mitigate most potential high cost situations. I'm surprised at the number of people who are unaware dental health has a direct impact on heart health.
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Old 03-25-2011, 07:53 AM   #16
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My dentist is going to give us a senior discount (even though we are only 55 and the age usually is 65) the next time we come in for a teeth cleaning when our insurance runs out. I think it's 20%. His receptionist, who does the billing, says most of the insurance plans are not any good. They make you wait 12 months before covering work, have a deductible and only cover 50%.

I had dental insurance through my megacorp and it was relatively cheap. It was a lot less than the cost of two cleanings and x-rays for two people. I looked into continuing it and it was a little over what that would normally cost without the discount she will give us. ANd it had a $1000 limit per year on "work" done.

I really like having teeth so we try to go every 6 months for a cleaning. I didn't go for a while when I was a child because my parents were switching careers and "forgot" to send me. When I went I had about 6 cavities and my father had a fit.
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Old 03-25-2011, 08:07 AM   #17
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But with all due respect, folks can get dental care, it's just not cheap or free. Neither is dental school. Most dentists will arrange payment plans--if one won't, go find another. Teeth cleaning is important but when you have very little money it doesn't get done. So you end up with higher bills later.

I've seen a big problem with this, especially in rural areas. You have to travel to see the dentist and try to negotiate payments. There may be no one who can take you. If you are on Medicaid dental care is an optional state service for adults. If your state program doesn't cover adult dental services it may be impossible to get dental care as you are too poor for payments. Or, the care you can get may be limited. I know many disabled people who have false teeth because they had no way to get care until their entire mouth was a medical emergency and all the teeth had to be pulled. I know many with poorly fitting false teeth that cause all sorts of issues but they can't get replacement teeth.

If you are indigent and have no Medicaid your options are limited to non-existent. In Wisconsin there was only dental care at a free clinic for people of no means whatsoever if there was a medical emergency, such as an infection or extreme pain. No preventive care at all. Just an aching tooth didn't do it.

So, with due respect, not all folks can get dental care.

My much younger brother has false teeth now because he did not get to the dentist. He didn't get on SSI until his early 20s, after a lot of fussing around. Care of his mouth feel through the cracks with all the other issues we were facing (he wasn't one to complain and I simply did not realize there was a big problem) and as a result by the time he was 30 he had no teeth.
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Old 03-25-2011, 09:38 AM   #18
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I've seen a big problem with this, especially in rural areas. You have to travel to see the dentist and try to negotiate payments. There may be no one who can take you. If you are on Medicaid dental care is an optional state service for adults. If your state program doesn't cover adult dental services it may be impossible to get dental care as you are too poor for payments. Or, the care you can get may be limited. I know many disabled people who have false teeth because they had no way to get care until their entire mouth was a medical emergency and all the teeth had to be pulled. I know many with poorly fitting false teeth that cause all sorts of issues but they can't get replacement teeth.

If you are indigent and have no Medicaid your options are limited to non-existent. In Wisconsin there was only dental care at a free clinic for people of no means whatsoever if there was a medical emergency, such as an infection or extreme pain. No preventive care at all. Just an aching tooth didn't do it.

So, with due respect, not all folks can get dental care.

My much younger brother has false teeth now because he did not get to the dentist. He didn't get on SSI until his early 20s, after a lot of fussing around. Care of his mouth feel through the cracks with all the other issues we were facing (he wasn't one to complain and I simply did not realize there was a big problem) and as a result by the time he was 30 he had no teeth.
Khan's comment was that it's a crime that people can't get dental care, not that people can't get free or subsidized dental care. You are bringing up another issue. My comment was that people can get dental care: as I said, "folks can get dental care, it's just not cheap or free." You are talking about cheap or free dental care that people do not have to travel to get.

I am familiar with poorer small Illinois rural areas and those dentists allow payment plans.

I am very sorry about your brother's problems.
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Old 03-25-2011, 10:35 AM   #19
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Dental care is pricey but necessary. A good family dentist is worth more than gold.

The difference between self-pay prices vs insurance rate prices surprises me. For dental work it seems to be around 30%, for medical it seems more around 4x - 5x, and for lab work around 10x. Dental insurance doesn’t seem to be worth it. We get 10% cash discount, the prices are reasonable, and our dentist top notch.

We have had difficulty finding a good dentist in South Florida (but not elsewhere). Unnecessary work and poor quality has been a real problem. My daughter had a very bad experience, costing her 4 months pay for medial bills and complete rework (root canal + crown) 2 years later. References are indispensable.

I read some time ago that en effective program of fluoride plus dental hygiene education in grade school had resulted in a generation of healthy teeth, to the financial misfortune of the dental profession. Has this changed?
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Old 03-25-2011, 11:01 AM   #20
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Khan, expect a major headache after the root canal if you're anything like me. All that drilling and your nerves do it to you I guess. I always bring lots of aspirin-type products or a Valium if I know I'm having a root canal for my after cocktail.
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