General Question

saservp's avatar

Can I get competing quotes for a specific dental operation?

Asked by saservp (286 points ) June 27th, 2011

I unfortunately don’t have dental insurance. I can get it in three months but I don’t really want to wait for it. I went to the dentist for a checkup/xrays/cleaning and I have a sheet saying I need 6 fillings, which teeth, and some more details. They want about $600 to do it, which, while expensive I still think is fair. (Dental insurance alone for a year would have cost ~360).

I was just curious if there is a way to solicit quotes from other dentists or if there’s any type of tool in place I could use to check out if someone can do it for less?

Thanks!

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6 Answers

zenvelo's avatar

You can always go to another dentist for an evaluation and competing bid.

Is there a dental school near you? They always need patients, and will actually give you the latest and greatest in technology to do a good job and avoid pain.

lillycoyote's avatar

You could call other dentists and talk to friends or family but I’m not sure any dentist will give a definitive price without doing his her own evaluation and x-rays and you could spend hundreds of dollars in the process, more than you’d save probably. It seems like a fair price, as you said. Dental work is horribly expensive. Also, if there’s a dental school near you they would fill the cavities for less than your dentist, I think.

chyna's avatar

I’m pretty thrifty and would wait the three months, but since you said you don’t want to, my advice is to NOT take the dental credit card they will attempt to get you to take out. It is about 28 percent interest. If you don’t already have a credit card, maybe you can get a loan from your bank or credit union. As @lillycoyote said, I doubt you will get a second opinion without x-rays and an exam which will cost a minimum of 90.00. The price quoted seems very reasonable to me.

rooeytoo's avatar

I don’t know how it works in USA these days, but here when you go into a dentist for a checkup, before you leave they give you a printed estimate of what the repair cost is going to be. Each procedure has a code. So theoretically you can call any dentist and ask what their charges would be for procedure A, B and C. You can also call your insurance carrier and ask them how much they will pay on any given procedure and check how much you will be out of pocket. I suppose it is a good system, because dental expenses here are outrageous. But I grew up going to a dentist who was a friend of my older brother and a visit to him had such a personal feel. This method in Australia makes me feel as if I am getting an estimate to have body work done on my car!

chewhorse's avatar

Thing is, you can get as many estimates as you’d like.. But it will cost you the initial fee that each charges.

Seelix's avatar

I just wanted to add to the suggestion of going to a dental school: Yes, they will do the work for less, but if you decide to go this route, make sure you give yourself plenty of time for the appointment. Because dental students are doing the work, they take their time (in order to make sure they’re doing things properly) and often a visit can take a lot longer than it would at the office of a dentist who’s been practicing for a long time.

I recently spoke to a woman who went to the local dental school for a checkup and cleaning, which ordinarily would take about 30–45 minutes all told, and spent 3 hours in the chair! I’m not suggesting you don’t go to a school – the students need practice and the quality of the work would be just as good – just make sure you book off the afternoon :)

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