Dentists may offer a low-charge evaluation for the following dental needs:
- Services your dental office doesn't offer
- Major dental procedures, including dental surgery
- Specialized treatments, such as cosmetic dentistry or orthodontics
- A second opinion or referral to a dental specialist
- Potential patients who are looking for a new dentist
It’s Your Choice
A low-charge evaluation is an excellent choice when considering "optional dentistry." We all want to look and feel good, but cosmetic dental procedures that are not considered vital to your dental health may not be covered by dental insurance. Your potential cosmetic dentist or orthodontist will most likely want to sell his or her services and may consider charging you less for your initial visit to discuss your dental treatment options.
Keep in mind that a low-charge evaluation is not "discount dentistry." You're looking for an excellent dentist who provides quality dental care, not a cheap dentist who will give you a quick fix. Be aware of dentists whose deals seem too good to be true -- they probably are! Many cosmetic dentists have examples of their work and can show you before and after pictures of happy customers. Although some dentists offer student or senior discounts or a discount with a cash payment, these are usually applied to the accepted treatment, not the evaluation.
During your low-charge evaluation, your dentist may need to reference your dental X-rays. Although dental X-rays are relatively safe, patients who have had them done recently may not want to be exposed to more radiation. If full X-rays are necessary, they can easily be transferred from your current dental office. While you may have to pay a small fee to transfer your dental records, it could be much cheaper than having to take them all over again.
The Final Verdict
So if you don't need a full exam, why pay anything at all? While you may not need a cleaning and X-rays, you are paying for your dentist's time. Your dentist may also discover dental problems you weren't aware of during your low-charge evaluation, making your visit well worth it.
A low-charge evaluation may not be offered if it's been over six months since your last dental visit. If you haven't been to a dentist in a long time, you should have a full dental checkup before discussing any treatment. While the evaluation may be low cost, you'll need to pay for your X-rays and dental cleaning, as they are a separate part of your routine checkup.
One last note: Hopefully, it shouldn't take you several different dental visits to find what you're looking for. If you're pursuing several low-charge evaluations just to price out your treatments, you're doing yourself a disservice. The more dentists you see, the more money you'll spend, which defeats the purpose of getting a low-cost evaluation in the first place.