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Dental work - get a discount plan or just pay in full?

Torn Mind

Diamond Member
Nov 25, 2012
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A gum abscess decided to make itself known yesterday. While an urgent care facility did pop it a bit, it's not fully gone. Are such plans worth it for an abscess? I also have some wisdom teeth I have not removed yet.
 

hardhat

Senior member
Dec 4, 2011
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If the urgent care didn't prescribe some antibiotics, I would expect that you will need some more care soon.

But realistically, it depends on your health, and most people should have some kind of dental plan so they can get routine cleanings relatively cheaply. Are you in the US or Canada? I am speaking from a US perspective.
Most people should get at least a yearly cleaning, and will probably need a cavity filled every 2-5 years. If you smoke or don't brush twice a day then you will probably have worse results.
 

BoomerD

No Lifer
Feb 26, 2006
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Will the discount plan pay enough to offset the costs of the plan?
How about actual dental insurance?

Will your dentist work with you since you don't have insurance? Some will accept MUCH less for uninsured patients.
 

Gardener

Senior member
Nov 22, 1999
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I'd get a few recommendations, and then call around asking for a fee schedule for basic stuff like cleaning, fillings, crowns, to get a general idea of their practices. If you aren't covered by insurance, then you likely won't get the same rates that insurance companies are charged for their covered patients...since insurers negotiate those lower rates. However in the Covid era some dentists are running short on work, so it may be a great time to call around. Before you get any work done you should have and estimate of costs. You may find a dentist that has a fee structure that is the same for cash-paying customers as it is for insurance companies.
 

esquared

Forum Director & Omnipotent Overlord
Forum Director
Oct 8, 2000
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Another piece of info if you are going the insurance route (i.e. Delta Dental etc).
Cleanings and x-rays are good as soon as you sign up.
More major work such as root canal or crowns are only paid for after you have been with them for a year.
 
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Gardener

Senior member
Nov 22, 1999
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I see that Delta dental has a discount plan, which is a minimal type of insurance that gets you the cheaper, negotiated rate structure. My limited experience with dental insurance is that it pays for cleanings, but more expensive procedures you end of paying for most of it.
 

esquared

Forum Director & Omnipotent Overlord
Forum Director
Oct 8, 2000
21,688
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I see that Delta dental has a discount plan, which is a minimal type of insurance that gets you the cheaper, negotiated rate structure. My limited experience with dental insurance is that it pays for cleanings, but more expensive procedures you end of paying for most of it.
Delta has a few plans. Cheap one of which forgot the name, PPO and then Premiere.
My dentist only accepts the premier plan.
 

Torn Mind

Diamond Member
Nov 25, 2012
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Will the discount plan pay enough to offset the costs of the plan?
How about actual dental insurance?

Will your dentist work with you since you don't have insurance? Some will accept MUCH less for uninsured patients.
Having looked at how dental insurance proper works, I think it's not worth it to pay into the insurance for the waiting periods, yearly service caps, and potential perverse incentives.
Coming across articles like the following really give me pause:

The discount plans work differently. As far as i know, it appears I pay some company an amount per year or month, and get a card. Dentists that accept this card will then charge less for the services...supposedly. So it's not insurance but some arrangement in which the charged amount will be lower.
 

Gardener

Senior member
Nov 22, 1999
490
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Right, those discounts are a marketing tactic to attract cost-conscious buyers, which is not a bad thing. Find a dentist you'd like to see, call them and ask if they have a discount for cash, or if they participate in one of those discount plans. A good receptionist can advise you.

Only about 1/2 of Americans are covered by dental insurance, as it is not part of medicare, nor the ACA. Rural community dentists, and dentists practicing in working class neighborhoods charge less, in my experience.
 

Torn Mind

Diamond Member
Nov 25, 2012
5,212
509
126
Right, those discounts are a marketing tactic to attract cost-conscious buyers, which is not a bad thing. Find a dentist you'd like to see, call them and ask if they have a discount for cash, or if they participate in one of those discount plans. A good receptionist can advise you.

Only about 1/2 of Americans are covered by dental insurance, as it is not part of medicare, nor the ACA. Rural community dentists, and dentists practicing in working class neighborhoods charge less, in my experience.
I'm looking into local dental schools as well. MD and DC has quite a few institutions.

As far as the wisdom teeth, I think NIH will remedy at least two for free since they want them for potential research; the two lower ones I have are impacted but my upper ones seem normal.

I also will be doing some personal consumption changes from here on out as I don't like spending money on such things. No more sugary drinks or foods or starches of any kind. I see a future of milk and cranberry juice indefinitely. Baking soda rinses after acidic foods and as an addition to my brushing routine. .
 

Noid

Platinum Member
Sep 20, 2000
2,257
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91
I went with CIGNA plan a few days ago.
( 149.95 + 20 = 170 for the year. )

60% off billing.
No missing tooth clause
No limits on costs ( insurance 1,500 a year )

The health care system has ALOT of excuses to prevent dental care.
I have no advice on how to finance.

My root canal and crown cost me 1,875 in total. ( Illinois )
3 more crowns coming at 1,036 per.

Don't let them talk you into ' deep cleaning '.
( my advice )
 

Torn Mind

Diamond Member
Nov 25, 2012
5,212
509
126
I went with CIGNA plan a few days ago.
( 149.95 + 20 = 170 for the year. )

60% off billing.
No missing tooth clause
No limits on costs ( insurance 1,500 a year )

The health care system has ALOT of excuses to prevent dental care.
I have no advice on how to finance.

My root canal and crown cost me 1,875 in total. ( Illinois )
3 more crowns coming at 1,036 per.

Don't let them talk you into ' deep cleaning '.
( my advice )
Deep cleaning should only be done if they measure gum gaps show you the X-rays proving you have tartar build up under the gum line and some severe gingivitis and or perio. Deep cleaning+root planing is exactly something I might need to get if there is proof of below-gum tartar being the cause of my persistent abscess. Almost 13 years of not seeing the dentist for cleaning has left me with perio and loose teeth for sure. But I might have avoided cavities since I did brush but not floss.

Dentists are basically like car mechanics. They know their shit and they know how to make money off your misery; the upsell will happen.


Funny enough, but even Canada cuts dental out of their "universal health care" system.

So the best solution is to eat a diet most conducive to teeth preservation. Interesting enough, such an aim has led me to realize the value both meat and "scraping" vegetables(but NOT FRUITS) as the pinnacles of diet, and that starches should be cut out. I have now started shopping for food like a diabetic or or someone on Atkins .

And if anyone loves Pepsi...a baking soda mouth bath is in order after consumption.

Practices I have adopted so far:
Bought a Waterpik, interdental brushes for in between teeth, started flossing.

I have found baking soda brushes leaves the teeth feeling smoother than toothpaste..but toothpaste has fluoride.

Starch only is periodically eaten, and only if I have a Waterpik nearby to blow the it out of my teeth gaps within minutes of consumption. Creamy, gooey, sticky starches or sugary foods are absolutely forbidden. Nearly 99% of the stuff sold in stores basically not worthy to be eaten because they have rice, noodles, fooking bread(I never liked bread except on fried chicken, thank God)

The common breakfast items I have never liked, but it seems that the standard American breakfast is hot garbage mainly for the sheer magnitude of starch in it.

Most drinks with sugar are basically unfit for consumption, not just sodas; anything with above 10g of sugar, I'm avoiding. So Gatorade will only be consumed from the low sugar version or the zero sugar one, but the zero-sugar I drink sparingly because who knows if that asulfame potassium might do something...
Orange juice is also hot garbage because there is so much acid and they just pour in that sugar. Never liked it but mom always bought regularly. Better than soda, I guess...

Favorites food I'm wary of now and will consume very sparingly:
As a Chinese dude, I have drank sweetened soy milk(the plain, simpler Asian process that doesn't load up on fillers and whatever else the American soy milk has). That too will have to go.
Pasta with tomato sauce. Always loved it but the combo of acidic sauce and starch noodles is no bueno.

With a combination of constant headaches in the past, most likely caused by the gingivitis, I have probably lost an enormous amount of productivity in the past due to constant headaches from the combo of not flossing along, eating poor foods, and not getting cleanings, and I don't feel like losing any more time or money.

My search for dental problems led me to the Youtube channel "Teeth Talk Girl". Useful advice, especially flossing technique. It should not be "sawing motion" but up-and-down
 

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