Dear Dr. Hall,
I have had a terrible experience with my “smile-makeover.” It turned out horrible, so the dentist just refunded my money, and I am looking for a new dentist. I found your website while I was still his patient and was able to figure out that he had little to no knowledge of what you describe as a true cosmetic dentist.
So I made appointments with the first 3 cosmetic dentists on your list. I must say I was so disappointed with the 1st. While he rightly said my bite was off, I was there for a 2nd opinion of the 6 upper anterior crowns I had. He said I would first need to spend $300-400 with his hygienist, and then, to deal with my bite issues and everything the cost would range between $50,000 and $100,000. “About the price of a new car,” he said. I only wish I could replace my 6-yr-old car bought used, for 1/3 his idea of a new car. He never got to what type of smile I would end up with, as his idea was to build up my back teeth and have “an appliance” covering several teeth and add porcelain “where needed.”
My teeth and gums are pristine according to a general dentist I went to for opinion and a periodontist I also went to for opinion earlier. I don’t understand why I need all of this, and I can’t begin to afford this and want your opinion.
– Sally from Texas
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There’s a great variation in what some expert cosmetic dentists charge, and the fees you’ve been quoted are definitely on the high side, even if you actually need all the work that has been quoted. I would keep going down the list and get another opinion. Meanwhile, let me give you a little insight into what I think is going on in your case.
You said that you know your bite is off, and it appears that you’re being quoted a fee for a full-mouth reconstruction to rebuild your bite. Do you actually need that? I don’t know that, but I can tell you that some dentists are very fussy perfectionists and they insist that every patient accept what they call “ideal treatment.” Other dentists are more pragmatic and will consider other options for patients who can’t afford the ideal. Fortunately, you’re in the Dallas-Fort Worth area where we have several recommended cosmetic dentists. Go ahead and shop around for second opinions.
I want to tell you a story about this cost issue and dentists’ fee levels. There is a city where we have two recommended cosmetic dentists—let’s call them Dr. Expensive and Dr. Budget. Dr. Expensive is famous and has patients flying in from far and wide to see him. He does absolutely exquisite work. Dr. Budget also does very beautiful work and has won awards for the beauty of his work. Dr. Expensive’s fees are about triple of what Dr. Budget charges. Is Dr. Budget an inferior dentist? I don’t think so. I’ve seen his work and it is world class. And guess what, Dr. Expensive goes to Dr. Budget for his dental work.
So get another opinion or two.
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About David A. Hall
Dr. David A. Hall was one of the first 40 accredited cosmetic dentists in the world. He practiced cosmetic dentistry in Iowa, and in 1990 earned his accreditation with the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry. He is now president of Infinity Dental Web, a company in Mesa, Arizona that does advanced internet marketing for dentists.
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