Why is dental work so expensive?

I know this has nothing to do with computer graphics or computers in general but for my post today i thought i would complain about the costs of dental work!

Well it had been about 18 months since my last dentist visit where i got 1 new crown and a bunch of fillings. Ok, but then again my previous visit was like 4 years before so that’s my fault 🙂 But this time, after moving from CA to WA, i decided to be better about it and start going on a regular basis. Don’t know if it was a good idea 🙂

If i were to get everything done, i would need 4 crowns now and  a mother load of fillings. Jeez, as if i didn’t have enough mercury in my mouth already! 🙂 Well not that i mind the dental work to some extent but there is two things that really bug me.

1) The fact that one of the crowns i need done is the one i had done 18 months ago. Apparently, it wasn’t done right. And in addition it seems like i need more fillings in an 18 month period than i needed for a four year period earlier. Makes me wonder if most of them are some my previous dentist missed!

2) The cost of dental work is ridiculous!! I mean, if i were to get everything done right away i would be looking at a 8,000-10,000$ bill! Just a crown with the work is around 1500$. Now, i know there is some precious metals in there but for the most part it is just porcelain!

Now, yes i do have insurance… But as with most dental insurance, they have a yearly coverage cap. Which means that if i were to do it be insurance only, it would probably take 5 years to get the work done. The other thing that gets me really grumpy is the difference between what the insurance will pay and what the dentist charges me. For example, for a filling, the dentist might charge me 170$. But when i look at me insurance statement, they only paid the doctor 120$ (because that’s what the insurance consideres the norm price for the procedure).

Okay, but why can’t i pay the same price than the insurance is willing to pay? I mean if its okay for the dentist to accept 120$ for a filling if it comes from the insurance, why can’t I be charged the same amount !?!?!

Sorry for the rant. But I’m looking at a 5000$ bill and 4 hours of dental surgery on Friday. So I’m not too happy and had to get it off my chest 🙂

Comments (12)

  1. You may want to get a second opinion. I once had a dentist tell me I needed 12 (TWELVE!!!) fillings that I decided to not go back for (right around the time I was leaving for college, I accidentally missed the appointment and intentionally didn’t reschedule). I went to a new dentist a month later and he said that the first was just padding his bills because I had no cavities that needed filled.

    The first dentist was shortly thereafter busted for things including charging for clients that he never even saw.

  2. Sam says:

    get a second opinion. please. Obviously your dentist is charging far too much. Although I went to the dentist last week and my insurance was charged 150 for a clean and 2 xrays…

  3. I know some people from the Western Europe who come to Romania (my country) only for dental works! I cannot explain the prices from other countries in this area; in Romania, they are notmal prices. You can get everything in your mouth done and it won’t cost you more than 100 USD! Usually the price will be smaller than 30 USD!…

    This may be because the medium salary in Romania is not more than 300 USD, but anyway, other prices are more comparative with Western Europe countries prices of the same products (i.e. cars, furniture, food). Oh well… I’m not that good at economics sciences, so I cannot explain…

  4. ShadowChaser says:

    Always make sure you get the new, white fillings.

    There is a *huge* conspiracy with the silver ones – When a dentist removes them, they need to use special gear to protect them from the mercury. They also dispose of them as toxic waste. Yet they install them in your mouth like there is no tomorrow – I imagine they don’t want to announce they are bad because they’d get about 2 billion lawsuits!

    Second, mercury is the same stuff they use in thermometers… expands and contracts. What is that going to do to your tooth when you eat hot & cold foods? I’m not sure if thats real or not (or a myth), but seems to make sense – years later the tooth breaks and the dentist hands you a huge bill for even more tooth work…. hmmmmm 🙂

  5. Desi says:

    You can get it all done in India in less than $2000 (including airfare)

    Ask your Indian friends for advice and save yourself $3000.

  6. Mexico is an option, too. I know of some folks who go south of the border for dental work, and they’ve been very happy with the price and results. (Of course, living about 20 miles north of the border makes it much easier to get there… assuming you are in Redmond, perhaps Canada is a bit cheaper than the States?)

  7. matthew says:

    I agree with the people saying to fly out to get it done cheaper. Fly to the third-world country of your choice, and have a nice holiday and get the work done for less than price the US doctor would charge.

    The quality will be just as good.

    Or you could look at a country that’s not quite third world (hence more expensive), but likely to have higher standards, such as Malaysia. Even Canada must be cheaper.