You know you're doing everything you can to take care of your dental health. You're already seeing your dentist twice a year and taking care of any restorative work that might come up. And you're doing your part at home, too, practicing excellent oral hygiene with daily brushing and flossing. Now you're thinking of treating yourself to a well-deserved cosmetic dental procedure. There's only one problem -- your dentist doesn't offer the service you want.
So what happens when you're looking to explore your dentistry options but you don't want to start from square one with a new dentist? Some dentists now offer low-charge evaluations to help you get the information you need about a procedure without extra dental care you don't.
Try It on for Size
Taking on a life-changing dental procedure can create a large expense for the patient. As an informed consumer, you'll want to explore all of your options before making a decision. Unfortunately, the standard practice for many dental offices is to establish a new patient with a thorough exam -- which includes a dental cleaning and X-rays. It's understandable that you may not have the time -- or the money -- to receive a full checkup at every dental office you visit.
This is a common dilemma that many dental patients are faced with -- checking out more than one dentist may not be feasible because you don't need multiple exams. But as a consumer, you should be able to research all of your options. The solution to this problem is often a low-charge evaluation.
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
- 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.