$10,000!! Am I being overcharged?

Jan 16, 2017
My girlfriend recently went to the dentists office and came back saying she will need $10,000 worth of work done. This includes her getting five crowns at $750 a piece, and her four wisdom teeth pulled. The rest is just cleaning and other basic things. Insurance only covers $2,000, and she will go in 3 times over the next couple of years so insurance can help. My problem is with the first appointment. It is $5,000 and requires five crowns. I have read about crowns/ fillings and even asked a freind who is a dental hygienist. Is this dentist probably pushing crowns over fillings to overcharge her?

A little about my girlfriend. She is only 23 and brushes her teeth everyday, but hasnt been to the dentist in 5 years. The teeh are not cracked and do not give her pain (except sometimes when she is eating). She also can be gulible which is why the $10,000 bill didn't phase her and why I am looking into it.She does live in Chicago, which can be pricier, and probably chose a higher end dentist office.

I did have her ask the dentist about the crowns, and before she even finished the sentance over the phone the dentist replied back at her that she absolutely thinks she needs crowns and that if she gets fillings that she cannot promise they will not fall out. From what I have read, crowns are the absolute last resort before root canal and they are rarely used over fillings. My dental hygienist friend also thought that was ridiculous, but could not say forsure without seeing the X-Rays.

I am urging my girlfriend to get a second opinion, but my advice/freinds advice is not enough to convince her. So I am coming here to get others thought on if this is most likely the dentist being ridiculous. I can see a 40 year old who didn't brush having these problems, but a 23 year old who is extremely clean? One or two crowns wouldn't be as suprising, but needing all five for $3,500? Please help, does she abslutely need a second opinion or am I overreacting?
Jan 25, 2017
Her age doesn't necessarily mean that she can't have dental issues. Some people seem to get cavities easier (but I'm not a medical professional, just personal experience with friends).

However, I would really recommend a second opinion. That does seem like a lot of crowns. I have small cavities filled almost every time I go in for a check up but I have never had to have a crown.

Jun 27, 2016
Wisdom teeth removal is rarely medically necessary. Your dentist may still pressure you as the procedure gives a nice insurance payment of a couple hundred for each of them (or thereabouts). This practice is pretty pervasive in the industry and you can read online elsewhere about the reasons... I suggest your friend keeps the teeth, they'll be handy to replace other teeth lost decades later in life- the molars naturally drift forward to fill gaps. Any resultant eruption problems they may cite may be countered by wearing an inexpensive mouth-guard nightly. If they cite impact issues it's likely sheer impact which will cause temporary pain during the eruption- look at the xray yourself and make a judgement. If the wisdom tooth is literally horizontal, literally beneath the adjacent tooth such that eruption would erupt the other tooth, or severely deformed those would be good examples of medically necessary reasons for removal. I wish insurance companies would require proof that each extraction is medically necessary for many reasons: as a cost saving measure, to prevent unnecessary antibiotic usage, and unnecessary narcotic exposure (risk of physical/psychological addiction with narcotics).

About the other issues, I can't say without looking at an xray. Yes for that much money get second and third opinions/quotes on work. Should be about $25 for each consultation. Make sure she is going to dentists which her insurance prefers. Treat this just like getting quotes from professional auto-mechanics for work- beware of upselling.

If she isn't getting pain then remineralization, proper brushing, and occasional fluoride product usage could hopefully fix the issues. No one here can really say without visual information.

Also, crowns don't last for life. The average lifespan of a crown is 10 years. Longer if properly cared for and installed by a skilled honorable practitioner.
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