I haven't had health insurance for the past 5 years and hadn't been to the dentist over this time. I received a coupon in the mail for x-rays and cleaning at Broadlands Complete for a good price and took advantage of it. (I believe the price was somewhere between $59-89.) I was expecting a few issues but after x-rays (panoramic, bitewing, full mouth-FMX and digital pictures), cleaning and a gum disease "test" (ie. jamming a "tool" into my gums around every tooth in my mouth & causing significant bleeding), I was told that I had 13 cavities, 1 wisdom tooth that needed to be pulled and fairly severe gum disease (which is manageable but not curable) requiring locally applied antibiotics for each tooth, as well as, extensive scaling & root planning. The total cost of the immediate treatment was over $5500, but if I purchased a "dental insurance" from a 3rd party they work with for $50 the total cost would be reduced to $4100 (including the $50 insurance). Oh, and before I left and without asking me first, they applied fluoride to my teeth at an additional cost of $30 on top of the coupon price. Kindly enough, the dental hygienist said she was "waiving" the picture fee (which, again, I wasn't asked if I wanted, it was just done. I assumed it was part of the coupon deal.) I left devastated and concerned, both for my dental health and the cost of the procedures.
I decided to get a 2nd opinion from my old dentist, who practiced in a different state 60 miles away. I had been with my old dentist (Dr. Daryl B. Witt in Laytonsville, MD) for more than 20 years and completely trusted him. When I used to visit him regularly, I remember seeing him consistently listed as one of the Top Dentists in the area by Washingtonian Magazine. This time, I saw a bunch of plaques going back several years with the distinction of Top Dentists in the USA! I took the x-rays and pictures that Broadlands Complete provided me (albeit, not without a hassle) and had an exam done by Dr. Witt. He said I had some discoloration on the occlusal surfaces of a few teeth, but not a single cavity and no gum disease. (He jokingly said he could make my mouth bleed and treat me for gum disease and drill a bunch of holes in my teeth, which would need to be replaced in 10-20 years because the plastics they use for fillings these days don't last.) His recommended "treatment" was to keep brushing regularly and the staining would go away, and to come back for a deep scale cleaning, since it had been 5 years since I had my teeth cleaned. He even said that my wisdom tooth didn't need to come out, but I had him remove it anyway, because it really wasn't functional and was hard to clean. It took less than 5 minutes to literally pop out with two hard pushes. Total cost of the exam and tooth extraction, $210, which included an uninsured, self-pay discount provided by the dentist's office (ie, I didn't have to pay an extra $50 for "insurance".) The cost of the same tooth extraction at Broadlands Complete would have been $419 (full price) and $336 (after I bought the $50 "insurance"). I returned to Dr. Witt a few weeks later and received a deep scale cleaning for $100, plus a free tooth brush*. Sure enough, after a few months of good brushing, the staining went away.
I saved a whopping $3780, minus the time & gas driving to my "old" dentist, which has naturally become my current dentist again. On top of all this, the dentist at Broadlands Complete (John S. Park, who obviously shouldn't be allowed to practice dentistry or work on Wall Street, for that matter) also told me that I would need to return 1 month after the cleaning for a Perio Evaluation Maintenance ($99) and then Perio Maintenance + Fluoride ($129) every 3 months for the rest of my life because of the significant uncurable gum disease. Oh, and oral cancer screening annually to the tune of $35. My preferred dentist (Dr. Witt) told me to come back in 6 months for a regular cleaning.
* I also received a free tooth brush from Broadlands Complete, as well as, a mini tube of toothpaste and a mini roll of floss. These extra "mini items" aren't worth a lifetime of extra expenses and the needless damage to my teeth and self-esteem that Broadlands Complete would have provided me. Stay away!!