1100 for a root canal?
Posted by Chris Peterson (+166) 11 years ago
I was at a local dentist the other day having a routine root canal. While removing tissue from the interior of the molar, SNAP, the file bound up and broke off. In an effort to remove it, he used another file. That one snapped off as well. Now I am sitting there realizing that what he is doing isnt routine any more, starting to get a bit nervous. Kudos to him, he did not break the tooth. Instead he informed me that the procedure will have to be completed in Billings. He took another xray and pointed out why. Burried deep inside one of the root canals were 2 steel micro files. At this point, I was told he was not going to charge me for anything except 59 for consult. I figured this was fair because he had spent considerable time with me. But now I find my trip to Billings tomorrow will cost a whopping $1,100 dollars upfront. WTF!!! This is my monthly budget. Since I can not eat at the moment, food is irrelavent, but what about meds, rent, utilities for the month? Is anybody else wondering what is wrong with this picture? Any advise (aside from get insurance)?
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Posted by Chuck Schott (+1289) 11 years ago
It's crazy, better just have it pulled for $300 bucks. Even with dental insurance they want a sizable amount up front. I feel for you when a tooth is hurting it's the only thing you can deal with.
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Posted by Leif Hope (+100) 11 years ago
I am sorry for your pain and inconvenience. I had to have a crown replaced last summer and just the dentist charge was 1,000, that didn't include the price of the actual crown which I was able to negotiate down to 250.00 from 500.00. I don't have dental insurance and the dental lab agreed that if I paid them cash they would go half-price.

Try to negotiate the cost, or get them to give you an interest free payment plan.
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Posted by Gunnar Emilsson (+16627) 11 years ago
I agree with Chuck, and this ties in nicely with the Rick K. health care philosophy currently being espoused in another thread. A root canal is Cadillac/Hummer rich elitest health care, while getting it pulled is more like middle class American Ford Taurus health care. And there's always Yugo health care, tie a string around the tooth, tie the other end to a door knob, and slam it hard.

Right now, your best friend is Wild Turkey.
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Posted by wilmajean (+44) 11 years ago
I had a file break off in my root as well, only one-- so there in lies the difference perhaps, but my dentist said it would be fine. We just left it in. It's been 4yrs or so, and no problems yet. (crossing fingers, knocking on wood) Not knowing where exactly the files broke in your tooth, just letting you know there may be that option. Getting a second opinion would be less expensive then the dentist in Billings.
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Posted by KFC (+17) 11 years ago
If it went down the way you say why should you have to pay anything. Unless you were blessed with superman's teeth it would seem to fall on his/her ability,s. So why should you have to pay a dime.
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Posted by Tracy P. (+91) 11 years ago
If the molar is back far enough in your mouth I would just have it pulled. First of all, you spend a lot of money on having a root canal and because no blood flows to the tooth anymore it makes it weak, which in the end it could just break in half and you would have to have it pulled anyway. Just a thought.
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Posted by montanajane (+282) 11 years ago
Do you happen to have accident insurance? If so, that would pay some on it because it surely would be considered an accident. I would think the dentist that did it should have to pay. I would think their liability insurance would have to cover.
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Posted by Bob L. (+5098) 11 years ago
Gunnar wrote:
I agree with Chuck, and this ties in nicely with the Rick K. health care philosophy currently being espoused in another thread. A root canal is Cadillac/Hummer rich elitest health care, while getting it pulled is more like middle class American Ford Taurus health care. And there's always Yugo health care, tie a string around the tooth, tie the other end to a door knob, and slam it hard.




Gunnar's right.

Since Mo, Larry, and Curly are all dead, maybe you can settle for Ricardo, Rickenhawk, and Kyle.
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Posted by Chris Peterson (+166) 11 years ago
Another kudos for MC.com! The people once again put a smile where it was needed...montanajane, exactly what I needed! Multiple ways to approach this for a win win situation. I think everybody should be fairly compensated when providing a skill. Wouldnt that be something to see in healthcare reform.
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Posted by polar bear (+514) 11 years ago
I agree that there are options here. Good luck.
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Posted by MollieP (+129) 11 years ago
I would say that him not charging for your part is a kudos for the dentist. Having had this same thing happen, I will tell you that I found out it does happen sometimes.

When it happened to me I paid the dentist I originally went to, as well as paying the endodontist, then had it capped, and paid for that too, since I no longer go to that dentist, I have since had to pay for another cap to replace that one, as it didn't work.

So I would say that the $1100 is not out of line, and most of them will take payments or set you up on something called Care Credit, which will give you 0% interest for a year.

Good luck with your tooth,'
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Posted by Kacey (+3152) 11 years ago
My niece had a piece of metal break off in her mouth. They left it in. Said it shouldn't cause any problems. BUT she has to have x-rays every six months for the rest of her life to make sure it isn't moving. You have my best wishes. Most dentists in Billings do offer a payment plan so if they one they're sending you to doesn't, find another one that does. And if it is a back tooth, you're better off getting it pulled. Messing with the nerves in the back of your mouth can leave you with trigeminal nerve problems. And trust me, you don't want to have to pay for the antiseizure medication they have to give you to sotp the horrible pain it causes.
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Posted by Vicki Nunn (+89) 11 years ago
Having had a back molar pulled years ago I would caution you about doing that. My molar was on the bottom and now the top one will have to be pulled one of these days as it is dropping down now that there isn't a tooth to keep it up there. If I had it to do over I would have had the root canal done and then the crown. I have two other crowns and have not had and problems with them.
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Posted by tjz (+175) 11 years ago
I knocked out my front tooth about five years ago and spent several thousand dollars to get it fixed with a crown and all of that good stuff. Well about 2 years later it fell out and i was informed that the root canal had failed. The dentist who messed up told me there was nothing he could do except do it again. Well i had is cemented back in here in Miles City but it just fell out again on Christmas. I am working on getting it fixed but i was told the root canal alone is going to cost around 600 dollars and that doesn't include the post/core/crown that i have to get once that is all done. So for now, I resort to polygrip. Dentists are ridiculous. 1100 sounds insane for a root canal. But my 600 dollars wasn't a price given by the dentist who has to do it, just an estimate from dr. matthews. Going to college full time doesn't leave much room to spend 1700 on a tooth
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Posted by Matt - Schmitz (+172) 11 years ago
I see several problems here Chris. If the dentist broke off metal in your mouth, he is either using the wrong tool for the job, or he is using inferior tools. Neither is your problem. I would chat with your dentist, informing him of your wish to discuss this issue in front of a jury of your peers. I suspect that you will get any further treatment covered quickly. At no cost to you. In a small town like Miles City, bad publicity like this could put a dentist out of business, and your dentist knows that very well.
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Posted by TK (+1628) 11 years ago
I had to have surgery to rebuild my bottom front gumline about 6 years ago and I had to have it done in Billings; at that time, it was a whopping $875 PER tooth. I had 4 teeth done, no insurance and had to pay it all upfront. I wasn't even 25 yet. Then last year, I had to have all 4 of my wisdom teeth out (fortunately it was done here in MC and it wasn't as expensive as a lot of extractions are), but it was still close to $1,000. And yes, no insurance and had to be paid up front before I was even able to go back and get them done. So yeah, I can believe $1,100 for your precedure. Most places, though, offer a program for people (I'm assuming with good credit) who can't pay it all up front--it's a health-credit plan (with interest) that allows you to make monthly payments (Care Credit is what it's called I think). Rather than do that, though, I just made sure to schedule my surgeries right around the time when I knew I'd have my tax refund so I didn't have to worry about another monthly payment OR trying to figure out where I was going to come up with the money all up front.

[This message has been edited by TK (3/25/2010)]
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Posted by Chris Peterson (+166) 11 years ago
well i am completely pain free. wow this wonderful...i ended up having 2 root canals and one molar pulled. i have one side only healthy enough to eat and chew and the other side is now out of order, but pain free. and my front teeth are healthy. so i can eat corn on the cob and i can eat and chew steak....i am happy!!! AND worked a fair and equal agreement between all parties. all is well...and nobody got burned on the deal...how cool is that. and the one in billings i was referred to was soo good that i didnt even know i had the novacaine administered until the numbness overtook any pain. and the guy was so good that even when the numbness went, which was even before i hit the road to come home, i felt aboslutely no pain in that root canal or surrounding area. thank you MC.com and to its community.....
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Posted by TK (+1628) 11 years ago
Glad it all went well for you! I know getting my gum line rebuilt and my wisdom teeth removed helped IMMENSELY!!!
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Posted by Amorette Allison (+11432) 11 years ago
My teeth are a funny color and crooked but after reading this thread, I am grateful for them because they are also healthy! All the fluoride growing up must have helped!
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