Is this affordable dentist trying to trick me?


I’m left feeling a bit disenchanted after a visit to a so-called “affordable dentist.” I had a small cavity developing. I’ve known it was there for some time, but my finances didn’t allow me to take care of it right away. The tooth started to bother me a little and I knew I needed to get the cavity taken care of. Anyway, I already knew the size and scope of the job to be done, so I called around and got pricing on it. One guy bragged about his low rates and he did indeed undercut the others by about $100. That’s no small thing for me. I’m on a fixed income. In any case, I went to the guy to have the filling done. He told me I don’t qualify for the price they quoted me on the phone. He says I need a crown, which now puts me hundreds of dollars over my budget.

I feel like I’ve been misled. I’m considering going for a second opinion, but I also don’t want to pay for another exam and x-rays if what he’s saying is legit. Is there a way to know if he’s being upfront about costs without paying someone else to confirm it?




Dear Jake,

It’s very hard to find a quality dentist. Oftentimes, when you find someone bragging about how their rates are ultra-low and they undercut others by a significant amount, there’s a reason behind it… and not usually a good one. Because you went into it with the mindset of choosing the cheapest dentist, it’s not surprising that you also don’t trust him to be honest and upfront. We all like a bargain, but when it comes to healthcare, the two rarely mix. He may be being honest and giving you a fair assessment. The fact that your tooth hurts now and it didn’t before suggests that the cavity has progressed, so it’s entirely possible the treatment you were initially prescribed is no longer enough to repair your tooth. That said, there are criteria you can use to find an affordable dentist.

How to Find an Affordable Dentist

Custom Plans: Search for someone who listens to you and offers options. There are often several solutions at varying price points.

Payment Plans: Some offer payment plans. It’s rare to find a place that does in-house financing, but you may find a dentist who accepts CareCredit, which typically has no finance charges for a period of time.

Discounts: It sounds like you’re working without insurance and paying for services on your own. Some offices will extend discounts to those who pay in cash.

If You Don’t Trust Your Dentist, Get a Second Opinion

If you’re like most people, you’ll probably have doubts and want to confirm the diagnosis. To make it more affordable, ask for a copy of your x-ray and take it with you to your consultation, so you can save money.

If you truly trust your dentist, you’ll know you’re getting the best care possible, and that the dentist is doing everything he or she can to help keep your smile healthy and stay within your budget.

This blog is sponsored by Plano affordable dentist Dr. Miranda Lacy.


Can I get sedation dentistry when I get my teeth whitened?

I’ve been putting off getting my teeth whitened because of the pain. I have two friends that got their teeth whitened and both of them said that it hurt. I am wondering if I can find a dentist who does sleep dentistry with teeth whitening. Thanks. Ethan

Ethan– Sedation dentistry, often referred to as sleep dentistry, is used during restorative dentistry. When you receive procedures such as a root canal treatment or a dental crown, sedation may be administered.

Generally, the process of whitening your teeth is not painful. The sensitivity in your teeth is felt after the whitening process, so sedation dentistry won’t help. Most of the sensitivity in your teeth is felt 24 to 48 hours after the whitening treatment. But if you need help relaxing, your dentist will provide some form of sedation to help.

Did your friends receive teeth whitening from a dentist, or did they use a do-it-yourself kit? There are several factors about teeth whitening that, when completed at home, can create sensitivity in your teeth.

You can have a consultation with a dentist for teeth whitening. Let him or her know your concerns about sensitivity in your teeth after whitening. A dentist can prescribe heavily fluoridated mouthwash or toothpaste that you can use for a period in advance of your appointment. It will help reduce the sensitivity after whitening.

This post is sponsored by Plano, TX female dentist Dr. Miranda Lacy.

How Long Should Free Teeth Whitening Last?

I got free teeth whitening when I started at a new dentist in February of this year. It was take-home whitening, but I thought it was probably a higher grade because I received custom whitening trays. I followed the instructions precisely for about two weeks. I was really happy with it at first because it looked like my teeth really were getting brighter. However, now when I look at them, they don’t look quite as bright. I’m really disappointed because I thought it should last much longer. It seems all too coincidental that the color seems changed back right before my next dental visit. Is there any chance they actually did something to it that would make it wear off so I need another dental appointment? Or could it be just a lower quality gel and that’s why the free whitening deal was offered? Curious indeed.



Dear Ali,

Before and after photos for information on free teeth whitening, from Plano TX dentist Miranday Lacy DDS.
Free teeth whitening should be dentist supervised to last

More than likely, the free whitening you receive was a professional-strength gel. While it’s true that most dentists only provide whitening if you return for your regular visits, it’s almost impossible to predict how bright your teeth will get and how long they’ll stay that way.

Your Teeth Will Stain Faster if You…

  • Drink coffee
  • Drink tea
  • Drink red wine
  • Smoke
  • Eat dark sauces (soy, tomato, curry, etc.)

Consuming these items in moderation probably won’t cause an issue, especially if you’re diligent with brushing. But if you consume them a lot, your teeth will stain faster.

You Can Minimize Staining By…

Avoiding acidic foods. Acid wears down your enamel, making it easier for your teeth to stain.

Brushing well. Brush after each meal or at least two to three times per day.

Not sipping beverages. Prolonged sipping on anything other than water isn’t good for your teeth. Coffee and tea drinkers will experience more teeth stains that those who don’t drink these beverages. Cola and even sports drinks are acidic and contain sugar. They feed bacteria, which leads to decay. If you drink anything other than water, finish it all at once to minimize contact and follow it by rinsing your mouth with water or brushing your teeth.

Drinking through straws. When you drink through a straw, the beverage won’t come into contact with the fronts of your teeth. It’s not a cure-all, but it can minimize the potential for staining.

Not smoking. Enough said.

You Can Make Your Teeth Look Whiter By…

Getting a tan or using a sunless tanner. No joke. The darker your skin is, the whiter your teeth will look.

Wearing red lipstick. Most red shades work well, but you’ll want to avoid dark hues because they tend to make teeth look yellow or brown. Nude shades can also be problematic, though pinks, berry colors, and those with purple undertones can make your teeth look whiter.

Keeping water with you. While water won’t magically whiten your teeth, you’ll be more likely to drink it, thus replacing other drinks and getting them off your teeth quicker when you do indulge.

Visiting your dentist regularly. A professional cleaning will remove buildup that can make teeth look dull, yellow, or brown.

Touch up with your free teeth whitening kit. Your teeth will eventually go back to their original darker shade, but how quickly it will happen depends on your habits and genetics. You don’t need to wait until they darken to their original color and do the full treatment again. Instead, just use your kit for a couple days at a time to revive your preferred shade.


This blog is sponsored by Dr. Miranda Lacy who has an inviting Plano free teeth whitening offer for patients.