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Old 01-07-2016, 04:33 PM
 
10,587 posts, read 12,055,734 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tarheelhombre View Post
But that is not what I am asking. Dentists charge differently for the same procedures. Insurance only covers a half or less of major procedures, so my desire is to find the cheapest, most competent dentist.
I think one thing you're going to find around here is that there's a dental "mafia."

My daughter recently worked in a local orthodontics practice and I surprised to find how close-knit the whole dental community is. They all talk, they all price themselves similarly and they actually meet about it.

Unless you can find a rogue dentist out there that does not participate in their local area network of dentist buddies, I don't think you're going to see much difference.

In real life, I have found very little variation. I know this because my coworkers and I talk extensively about dental work and we all see different dentists around the NoVA and MD area. Most people I know are at the age where they are getting a lot of crowns done. That is a procedure that typically only gets covered at 50%. We all seem to be paying the say out of pocket expense so I think most dentists are in the same range.

But, it certainly never hurts to ask around.
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Old 01-07-2016, 05:25 PM
 
944 posts, read 657,866 times
Reputation: 949
Quote:
Originally Posted by ChristineVA View Post
I think one thing you're going to find around here is that there's a dental "mafia."

My daughter recently worked in a local orthodontics practice and I surprised to find how close-knit the whole dental community is. They all talk, they all price themselves similarly and they actually meet about it.

Unless you can find a rogue dentist out there that does not participate in their local area network of dentist buddies, I don't think you're going to see much difference.

In real life, I have found very little variation. I know this because my coworkers and I talk extensively about dental work and we all see different dentists around the NoVA and MD area. Most people I know are at the age where they are getting a lot of crowns done. That is a procedure that typically only gets covered at 50%. We all seem to be paying the say out of pocket expense so I think most dentists are in the same range.

But, it certainly never hurts to ask around.
I've never seen a huge difference in rates but I do see a big difference in how much work they say you need. I've been to a dentist who said I had six cavities that needed filling while another dentist 6 months later didn't see any.

There are also dentists who focus on cosmetic work or bite guards or TMJ and try to convince anyone who walks in that they grind their teeth or need teeth whitening, etc.

This practice isn't specific to NoVa though.
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Old 01-08-2016, 04:56 AM
 
10,587 posts, read 12,055,734 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ffxdata View Post
I've never seen a huge difference in rates but I do see a big difference in how much work they say you need. I've been to a dentist who said I had six cavities that needed filling while another dentist 6 months later didn't see any.

There are also dentists who focus on cosmetic work or bite guards or TMJ and try to convince anyone who walks in that they grind their teeth or need teeth whitening, etc.

This practice isn't specific to NoVa though.
I agree and that's exactly where, at a minimum, a good reference comes in. I just don't think the original poster is going to find info on a cut-rate dentist. If there is one, I think they are a rarity.

I definitely know what you mean about some dentists overprescribing.

I don't have any cavities. For years, my one dentist just never said a word. When I got to my 2nd dentist (now I've been with her for 20 years), she immediately wanted to do stuff to my teeth. Not because I actually had a cavity but because my back molars have grooves and pits. She wanted to seal and fill some of the pits. I didn't let her for years. Finally about five years ago, I did allow her to put sealants on my back molars because I think it made sense. But, yeah, sometimes you just have to get assertive with them and say "No, I'm not doing all this stuff."
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Old 01-08-2016, 06:10 AM
 
Location: Chester County, PA
1,077 posts, read 1,423,048 times
Reputation: 1032
When I first moved here, the first dentist I visited was awful. Neither the dentist nor the hygienist seemed to speak English very well. About the only words they said were "Hi. Sit here." and "Crown need replace." And I'm not exaggerating very much. Needless to say, I did not go back. I had been with my prior dentist in Philadelphia for about 5 years and he had never once suggested my crown needed to be replaced. Found another dental group - the Springfield Lorton Dental Group, and I have been very happy with them. I've been going to them ever since as has my wife and we've been very happy with all of the dentists there. I don't believe, however, they are in network with GEHA (which I seem to recall the OP said is his insurance). My dental insurance is with Blue Cross Blue Shield and they are in network with them.
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Old 01-08-2016, 06:17 AM
 
2,669 posts, read 4,510,798 times
Reputation: 2117
Quote:
Originally Posted by ChristineVA View Post
I think one thing you're going to find around here is that there's a dental "mafia."

My daughter recently worked in a local orthodontics practice and I surprised to find how close-knit the whole dental community is. They all talk, they all price themselves similarly and they actually meet about it.

Unless you can find a rogue dentist out there that does not participate in their local area network of dentist buddies, I don't think you're going to see much difference.

In real life, I have found very little variation. I know this because my coworkers and I talk extensively about dental work and we all see different dentists around the NoVA and MD area. Most people I know are at the age where they are getting a lot of crowns done. That is a procedure that typically only gets covered at 50%. We all seem to be paying the say out of pocket expense so I think most dentists are in the same range.

But, it certainly never hurts to ask around.
Maybe an attorney will chime in--I'm not one, but if they are doing this, I believe it's illegal price fixing.
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Old 01-08-2016, 06:24 AM
 
Location: Chester County, PA
1,077 posts, read 1,423,048 times
Reputation: 1032
Of course, it would make sense that people are paying similar amounts if they're using in network dentists. While dental insurance will often pay only a percentage of the bill, the dentist is still obligated to abide by the in network price for the procedure. Really, that is the primary benefit of dental insurance, in my opinion - you get the in network rate at an in network dentist. When you look at the premiums you pay vs. the amount the dental insurance company actually pays in benefits, most dental insurance amounts to little more than pre-paid dental care.
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Old 01-09-2016, 04:34 PM
 
Location: MID ATLANTIC
7,720 posts, read 18,468,511 times
Reputation: 8372
There is zero doubt in my mind these dentists talk, and frequently. I have a friend requiring complex procedures at a proposed cost close to 20K. She said she was going to get a second opinion. Well she did get a 2nd and a 3rd and then a 4th. #2 and #3 had already had a complete rundown on the work she needed before they saw her. We never found out how they found out, but suspect insurance was at the center of it. One dentist already had some x-rays.

She went with dentist #4, who was not live with her carrier and willing to do the work in more stages, allowing her more flexibility.

(Apparently "live" online with the carriers is the latest thing, instant records. The other gimmick doctors are using, such as Patient First, is they operate under different tax code numbers. Same service, but tax ID for urgent care, another tax ID for PCP, they can bill you as PCP or urgent care. This is even though your insurance says you do not have to have PCP. Trust me, if in Lake Ridge, go across the street to Sentara on Minnieville. BTW, it was my insurance company that shared this little trick they are doing and said they get calls and complaints every day. Very deceptive and enough to make me not trust anything else they do).
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Old 01-09-2016, 05:20 PM
 
Location: Alexandria, VA
11,341 posts, read 20,098,655 times
Reputation: 16308
Quote:
Originally Posted by airjay75 View Post
Of course, it would make sense that people are paying similar amounts if they're using in network dentists. While dental insurance will often pay only a percentage of the bill, the dentist is still obligated to abide by the in network price for the procedure. Really, that is the primary benefit of dental insurance, in my opinion - you get the in network rate at an in network dentist. When you look at the premiums you pay vs. the amount the dental insurance company actually pays in benefits, most dental insurance amounts to little more than pre-paid dental care.
I agree, if you you get your 2x/yr. cleanings - you've paid for them - dental ins. has never been worth much
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