Post # 1
Weird situation…I have dental insurance through my work. I should also have dental insurance through my husband (Tricare, military), but I haven’t been able to sign up yet. I have a dentist appt. tomorrow morning, and I really just want them to look at the tooth that is bugging me and let me know if I need a root canal or not. I’d like to wait until I get my dual coverage straightened out before I have them start in on the pricey work. Am I dumb for going in just to have them do xrays and tell me what needs to be done? Should I just wait until my other insurance kicks in and I can actually DO something about it?
My molar has a big hole in it…like, one that I can feel with my tongue. Part of the tooth cracked off last week, and it is very painful when I eat cold food (and sometimes randomly gives me shooting pains and headaches). I just want to make sure I can afford what work needs to be done before I dive into this. I’m also going to be out of town for about a week, so I’d like to get something set up with an endontist if I need to for when I get back (by then, my Tricare should be all set). I don’t want the dentist to give me the “why the F#$% did you come in for an exam if you don’t want work yet” look. I’m already afraid of the dentist as it is!!!
Post # 3
Can you call them and ask if they will do a consultation at no cost?
Post # 4
A good dentist should understand the situation! Mine always worked with me on payment plans, since I have craptastic dental insurance and had an extraordinarily bad year. Sometimes the waiting list at the endodontist can be a while, too, so I would go in as scheduled.
Post # 5
Are you due for a cleaning? Usually if you go in for a routine cleaning appointment they will do xrays as well and address any other work that may need to be done.
At my dentist, I was given a full treatment plan showing all the work they recommended and how much they estimated insurance would pay and what my portion would be. I had numerous old fillings that had cracked and needed a crown on one tooth. I spread the work out over about 4 appointments in the course of a year.
They usually understand that people need to plan for that kind of expense. Unless the pain is so bad that you need an emergency root canal, you can probably get an estimate and come back in a few weeks to have it done.
Post # 6
Sweet! Thanks for all the responses, guys! I was having panic attacks on the drive home worrying about this. Now that I know I’m not the only one who just can’t walk into a dentist and afford major work any day of the week, I feel a lot better!! I think I’m due for a routine exam anywho. Bleh. I hate going to the dentist!!! 🙁
Post # 7
Check your plans website. Every plan has listed either the cost of the procedure or the percentage of what is covered by insurance. For example, I have BlueCross BlueShield Traditional coverage: routine examines, fillings, xrays, and extractions are covered 100%. Roots Canal 80%. Braces up to $3,500 etc….
Post # 8
I chose my dentist because he does free estimates.
Post # 9
I work for a dental insurance company. A dentist can ALWAYS do what is called a predetermination. Basically it’s like submitting a claim without an actual date of service and it will show what your cost would be if you chose to have the work done, so basically an estimate.
They may have to do an exam, to determine exactly what it is you need done: root canal, crown, etc….but the exam shouldn’t cost much, most insurance cover those between 50-100%. Then once they determine what the proper treatment is, they can submit the predetermination to your insurance. I don’t know how other insurance companies work but my company has an online service where the dentist can even submit the Pred online and get an answer back immediatly, as long as it’s not something that required xrays before a determination can be made, which a crown or root canal should not require.
Hope that helps!
Post # 10
I too, Have a fabulous dentist…My insurance is so-so when it comes to dental work, and he “absorbs the cost” if it’s not fully covered….he gets me in when I need to…
I would get your tooth seen to ASAP because if it is decaying there is a chance of infection if it’s not filled…..my wisdom tooth and the tooth in front of it started to decay and pieces came off….i had no pain, but since the risk of infection is high since it’s hard to brush back there….so I got put in asap and he did what he could…now I need to see an oral surgeon for removal….
Definitely shop around for a good dentist….I am VERY lucky with the one I have…..I had a couple really bad ones that now make me have anxiety about going to the dentist….
Post # 11
Yes – they will charge you for the exam. At my dentist this is $36. They can then put through an estimate, of the work you need to have done, with insurance to see what they will cover.
I just did all of this for a root canal retreatment. I had to wait a month for all of my insurance to be ready but it all worked out!
Post # 12
Happy news! I went in this morning and my dentist was super-cool about everything. They looked at my tooth and went ahead and did a temporary filling and cleaned all the decay out (bleh). They said if I had waited a week more, I probably would have needed a root canal , but they are just going to wait and see if the temp filling calms the nerve down for now, and then proceed with a permanent filling in a couple months (once all my insurance is squared away). I’m so glad I went in when I did and hopefully saved the tooth before more major, expensive work was needed!
My dentist said that I should know in a couple hours if I’m still feeling pain, and the pain might last a week or so before the nerve settles. The anesthesia is wearing off now and my tooth is throbbing quite a bit. He said I could call in and have them write a prescription for pain meds if it hurt this afternoon, but I am worried about calling back (ugh, I am a chicken) and don’t want to sound like a whiner. I leave for vacation tomorrow though, and I don’t want to still be in pain the whole week. Why do I feel guilty about calling back?!?! I just wish I didn’t have dental-phobia…
Post # 13
I’ve had dentists do estimates for me. in fact, they always tell me how much a procedure is going to cost out of pocket w/o me even asking for it. they are almost always accurate too.
Post # 14
@mrs_pugetsound: Yay! I’m so happy it worked out! I really think you should call for the prescription though, there’s no sense for you to be in pain. Don’t feel guilty about calling and asking…that’s why they’re there!