Hello there Dr. Hall,
I have a bunch of my teeth that are crooked and broken. I really hate the 2 upper left/right teeth next to the 2 front ones. They stick out almost straight. I have never been able to smile since I was a kid. I don’t beleive there is a picture with me smiling because of my teeth. I have always dreamed of having straight teeth since I was a kid. I am now almost 40 years old and still cannot smile when taking a picture or when talking to people. I try to use my mouth to cover it or try not to open it as much while holding my upper lip down. I really think I need to replace like 85% of my teeth. No matter what, I just want to know if there is a program where I can sign up and qualify to make payments or even to be used as an example for others like me. Please Dr. help me smile at least the rest of my life time so that my kids can see me smile.
– Edward from Arizona
We see requests like this from time to time, from people who need a lot of dental work to look respectable and who ask about being a sample case or a display patient for a cosmetic dentist – to get work done at a discount in exchange for being willing to have their photographs shown as examples of the dentist’s work.
The problem with that is that almost everyone who has a smile makeover done by an excellent cosmetic dentist is so grateful for the beautiful work that is done that they are willing to let their photographs be shown as examples of the dentist’s work. So, to cut to the chase, you really don’t have anything of value to offer here. So you’re in the same boat as everyone else and needing to pay for your services.
Having said that, dentistry is a profession with a relatively high level of integrity and compassion. Now cosmetic dentists feel that they should be well compensated for all they invest into their work, and that is fair. But a significant number of them will work with you if you are willing to be reasonable with them and are not coming to them with a sense of entitlement or a chip on your shoulder, with resentment. Quite frankly, a large number of patients who come looking for discounts come with an attitude, and dentists will often “tune out” when they get requests like this. But a number of dentists volunteer their time to help victims of domestic violence, for example, and a few will actually travel to third world countries on occasion for humanitarian missions. Where there is a genuine need, and no sense of entitlement, they will come through. Now, not every excellent cosmetic dentist will do this, but a number of them do, and I would suggest calling around and asking whether they would be willing to work with you. They would probably ask that you pay a fair fee, but they would adjust the treatment plan and the pace of the work to fit your budget and give you any consideration that they could.
About payment plans, I learned early in my practice that it was not charity to extend a payment plan to someone who couldn’t afford my services or who didn’t have good credit. The patient might start out with good intentions, but almost always they would fall behind, end up delinquent, and it soured our relationship. After I discovered this, when I would have a patient in genuine need, I never set up a payment plan, but I would do the dental treatment they absolutely needed for a discounted fee, and it had to be paid at the time of service. Then, when they left the office, they were square with me and we didn’t have that payment agreement hanging over their head that always soured our relationship. So if you can genuinely qualify for a payment plan, then you can look for that. But if you have bad credit, don’t expect to be able to set up payments.
Check our list of recommended cosmetic dentists in Arizona, call them and see what you can find out.
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