Category Archives: Affordable Dentistry

Looking for an Affordable Way to Improve the Look of a Partial Denture?

Are you bothered by the look and feel of a metal clasp around your tooth that keeps your partial denture in place? Is there an affordable way to conceal the clasp and enhance your smile? We’ll give you a realistic view of what can—and what can’t—be done to improve your smile.

What Can Be Done About the Metal Clasp?

A traditional partial denture is secured with a metal clasp around the tooth on either side of it. Some patients complain that when they smile, the clasp shines in the light and makes it evident that they are wearing a partial denture.

For a minimal charge, your dentist can sandblast the clasp and give it a matte finish to prevent it from reflecting in the light. A dental lab can also do it for you.

What Your Dentist Can’t Do

The metal clasp needs to remain flexible around your teeth. Your dentist is unable to bond anything to it that might conceal its color. The clasp can weaken or break in the process of trying to conceal it. And it the loss of flexibility will increase the discomfort around your tooth.

An Affordable Alternative for Your Partial Denture

Photo of a valplast partial denture - an affordable alternative to a metal-clasped partial.
An affordable alternative to a metal clasp on your partial denture

Modern removable partial dentures have plastic clear or gum-colored claps that blend with your gums. Although the clasps are less sturdy than metal ones, they are also less noticeable and won’t be obvious when you smile. It is an affordable alternative for people who are unable to invest in dental implants to replace missing teeth.

Which Appliance Should You Request?

Before you request a specific dental appliance, consult with a cosmetic dentist who will examine your current partial denture and discuss your options.

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

Think You Can’t Afford to See a Dentist for TMJ? 3 Surprising Facts that Might Change Your Mind

Click. Pop. Ouch! If left untreated, TMJ (temporomandibular joint) disorder can be painful and uncomfortable. But what if you can’t afford treatment from a dentist?

Annoying TMJ Symptoms

You’re probably already experiencing the signs and symptoms of TMJ:

  • Jaw stiffness, clicking, locking, or popping
  • Ringing in your ears
  • Chronic head or neck pain

Treatment from a dentist can relieve the symptoms, but how will TMJ affect your life if you can’t afford a dentist?

How Will It Impact Your Life?

Photo of woman holding the right side of her face, who might need Plano affordable dentistry from female dentist Dr. Miranda Lacy.

Jaw pain can limit your ability to chew well—and that affects your digestion. If speaking or laughing become uncomfortable, it can affect your mood. Ringing in the ears and head or neck pain throughout the night will disturb your sleep. And lack of sleep can contribute to a variety of health issues, including high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, and diabetes.

What If You Can’t Afford a Dentist?

Dental treatment might not be as expensive, invasive, or time-consuming as you think. A June 2019 study published in the journal Oral Surgery, Oral Medicine, Oral Pathology and Oral Radiology reveals some good news. The study included 162 patients who suffered from chronic TMJ disorder. Treatment of the symptoms included self-awareness therapy, jaw exercises, and the use of custom oral appliances. After 20 months of treatment, what were the results?

  • Pain – After treatment, the average pain score fell from 6.9 to 2.0.
  • Chewing – Most patients benefited from a large reduction in pain while chewing.
  • Quality of life – The overall quality of life for the patients improved.

Three Keys to Relief

The patients in the study received meaningful improvement and significant relief of their symptoms. What were the three keys to relief?

  1. Self-awareness of your oral habits
  2. Exercises
  3. A custom oral appliance

That might be all that’s needed to decrease your pain and discomfort and improve your quality of life.

So What’s the Cost?

If you have dental insurance, you’ll save money on the cost of care. The cost of relieving your symptoms is more affordable than you might think. Even out-of-pocket costs are more manageable if you find a dentist who offers payment plans.

Occlusal guard (mouth guard/oral appliance) – Depending on where you live in the country, the out-of-pocket cost for an oral appliance to relax your jaw is $600-$800. Some insurance plans pay half of the cost or more.

Exercises – Your dentist will show you exercises that you can do at home to loosen your jaw muscles and increase your comfort.

Self- Awareness – Oral health habits, including grinding your teeth, the position of your tongue and jaw when at rest, or holding your head or face with your hands, can affect your jaw health. As you learn what habits trigger pain, it will increase your awareness of your habits and help you control them and your discomfort.

Treatment Delays Are Costly

If you think you can’t afford dental care, the delays in getting treatment will make the condition worse. When the pain and discomfort become unbearable, that means the problems have progressed. And dental care will cost you even more money in the long term. We recommend that you schedule an appointment with a dentist who has training and experience in TMJ diagnosis and treatment.

Plano, TX dentist Miranda Lacy, DDS sponsors this blog. Dr. Lacy offers payment plans and financing to help make dental care affordable for you.

3 Ways to Make Dental Care More Affordable

I’m trying to find ways to make my dental visits more affordable. I have a new dentist whose recommendations are so different from my previous dentist. She asked me to schedule an appointment for a fluoride treatment and full-face x-rays. My check-up appointments now have out-of-pocket expenses that are over $150.

Can I refuse the services my dentist is recommending, or should I search for a dentist whose fees are lower? Thanks. Daphne

Photo of a woman in a dental chair with a dentist and hygienst on either side of her; for information on affordable dentistry from Plano TX female dentist Dr. Miranda Lacy.
Ask your dentist about affordable alternatives for care

Daphne – Your patient rights allow you to refuse any dental service, but before you do, there are several factors to consider.

  • Speak to your dentist. Ask her why it’s important for you to have fluoride treatment and full-face x-rays. Adults who are at risk for decay or who have sensitive teeth still benefit from fluoride. Most dentists will do a full face x-ray (panoramic x-ray) every three to five years. But if you’re in a high-risk category, have bone loss, or have been considering orthodontics or dental implants, your dentist will request new x-rays before recommending treatment.
  • Avoid referring to the additional services as unnecessary. Listen carefully to your dentist’s explanation about why you need each treatment that she recommends. It could be that her philosophy on preventive care, although different from your previous dentist, is better for your oral health. Although the cost of care might be more expensive at her practice, you might have better long-term results.
  • Get a second opinion. You may have to switch to a dentist who thoroughly explains your treatment options and what you can expect from them. But don’t base your decisions about dental care on cost alone.

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

5 Facts about Stubborn Canker Sores If You Can’t Afford a Dentist

Photo of woman holding the right side of her face, who might need Plano affordable dentistry from female dentist Dr. Miranda Lacy.

Canker sores (recurrent aphthous stomatitis) are small painful sores inside your mouth that occur frequently. They are not contagious. Although a sore will usually go away on its own, what if it doesn’t? And what can you do to treat it at home if you can’t afford a dentist?

What Causes a Canker Sore?

Although the exact cause of a canker sore is unknown, a variety of factors can trigger it, including:

  • Irritation in the mouth by things such as aggressive brushing or dental work
  • Oral injury
  • Sensitivities to food or sodium lauryl sulfate
  • Stress and hormonal changes
  • Certain diseases, including celiac disease and irritable bowel syndrome

What Are the Symptoms and Signs?

If a canker sore is developing, you will feel oral pain or burning. In a day or two, the sore will appear. The sore is a slight bump that is round or oval. The center is usually yellowish gray, and the border is red.

How Long Will It Last?

A sore usually lasts four to seven days. If your sore lingers, or if it gets worse, you might need to see a dentist.

What Can You Do About It?

What if you can’t afford a dentist? You can try over-the-counter pastes such as Anbesol that contain benzocaine, which will help speed the healing process and make the sore less painful.

What If Home Treatment Doesn’t Work?

If your efforts to treat the sore don’t help—or if it’s getting worse—schedule an appointment with a dentist for an examination. You may need a prescription for oral or topical medication or mouth rinse. It is possible that the sore is not a canker sore, but your dentist can make that determination. If your budget is limited and you don’t have dental insurance, ask the office representative what can be done to make treatment affordable for you. This post is sponsored by Plano, TX female dentist Miranda Lacy, DDS

How Can You Get Affordable Dentistry Without Dental Insurance?

I’m wondering what my options are for finding cheap dental care without insurance. In June 2018, I was laid off from my job. In March of this year, I was hired by as a contractor, so I don’t qualify for benefits. I admit that I haven’t taken the best care of my teeth. My stressful employment situation has increased my teeth grinding habit, and last week I felt a tooth crack while I was asleep. I realize that something needs to be done before the crack spreads. Is it possible to get cheap dental care even though I don’t have insurance, or is the issue too serious for treatment to be affordable?

Thanks, Kleo

Dear Kleo,

We understand how your economic difficulties can cause stress and contribute to increased bruxism (teeth grinding) and additional issues with your teeth. We have a few suggestions you can consider to receive the dental care you need even though you don’t have insurance.

Avoid Cheap Dental Care

It’s probably best to avoid seeking cheap dental care. If a dentist is able to significantly cut costs, you should consider if it will include shortcuts and compromising the quality of dental care you receive.

Find Quality Care You Can Afford

Photo of a woman in a dental chair with a dentist and hygienst on either side of her; for information on affordable dentistry from Plano TX female dentist Dr. Miranda Lacy.
Ask your dentist’s office how care can be made affordable
  • You can get dental insurance on your own. Major insurers have policies similar to what is offered through an employer, including the level of coverage. Your premiums will cost more than they would if the insurance was provided through an employer who subsidized the premium costs.
  • Find a dental practice that offers special financial arrangements. Call a few dental offices and ask if they offer a cash discount or if the practice partners with a financing company like CareCredit®. CareCredit offers interest-free payment plans if you pay off the balance within a specified time period, otherwise, you might owe retroactive interest.
  • Receive treatment in phases. If you need multiple procedures, your dental office can provide a treatment plan and let you know the order in which you should receive each procedure. Often treatment can be provided in phases if it doesn’t compromise your oral health.
  • Tell your new dentist about your teeth grinding habit. You can cause further damage to your teeth if they aren’t protected from teeth grinding. They can break, loosen, and create issues with your jaw muscles. Your dentist will provide you with a nightguard to protect your teeth while you sleep. You can also learn techniques to keep your tongue, lips, and jaw in the optimal position to prevent teeth grinding throughout the day.

 In summary:

  • Search for high-quality dental care.
  • View each dentist’s website or call the office for information on payment options if you don’t have dental insurance.
  • Schedule a consultation with at least two dentists to discuss your oral health, treatment options, and if the treatment can be completed in phases.

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

3 Things to Consider When Getting an Affordable Dental Crown

A dental crown protects a badly damaged tooth. Left untreated, the tooth can become infected and eventually need to be extracted. But is it possible to find an affordable crown that will last?

Depending on your dentist and where you live in the U.S., the cost of a dental crown can vary. But the average cost is $800-$1800. If you have dental insurance, your insurance company can provide you with the average cost of a crown in your area.

What about an Affordable Dental Crown?

The purpose of a dental crown is to protect a tooth. Several steps are involved:

  • Your natural tooth must be precisely shaved to ensure the crown covers it.
  • Accurate impressions of your natural tooth need to be taken to ensure the crown fits and doesn’t disturb adjacent teeth.
  • The crown must be correctly bonded to your natural tooth to ensure it is stable and doesn’t hurt when you bite down.
  • The way your teeth fit together—your bite—must be properly measured.

If your goal is to find an affordable dentist, your choice should not be based solely on cost. If a dentist takes shortcuts or gives you a cheap crown, the results can be costly in time, your oral health, and money.

Before-and-after photos of porcelain crowns, which are available from Plano, TX dentist Dr. Miranda Lacy.
An affordable crown should still look natural

What Are the Risks?

A cheap dental crown can result in several problems, including:

  1. Your bite – If your bite is off, it can put too much pressure on the crown and cause it to crack. You’ll have to spend time and money getting another crown.
  2. Complications – TMJ (temporomandibular joint) issues can result from can bite can cause jaw, head, ear, and neck pain. TMJ treatment can include therapy and a nighttime mouthguard, both of which will cause additional expense.
  3. Improper bonding –  If proper bonding techniques are not used, the crown can come off. The crown can be lost, or you’ll need an additional appointment for re-bonding. You could need a new crown.

What’s Next?

Don’t act hastily. Ask friends and family members for a recommendation of a dentist. Many people have dental crowns, and someone you know might have received a quality crown from a skilled dentst. An affordable dentist will work with your budget through payment plans or financing to ensure you can pay for treatment. But avoid cheap dentistry. It puts your oral health at risk.

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

Five Ways to Find Affordable Dentistry and Get Quality Results

Photo for affordable dentistry, which families often need. Pictured are a mother holding her daughter in her left arm and a shopping bag on her right arm, and a father holding his son in his right arm, and a map in his left hand. They are outdoors in downtown area.

I feel like the term “affordable dentist” is only used to attract patients. I wasn’t able to get dental insurance until September of last year and I have quite a few issues with my teeth, and so does my oldest son. The first dental office I visited for my own care proposed a treatment plan with an estimated cost of $10,000.

I’m a working father with a family of five, and I don’t have that kind of money. So I thanked them for their time and began searching for another dentist who is less expensive.

So far, the dentists I’ve found who advertise low-cost dentistry don’t have great reviews. And, the dentists I’ve had consultations with have way too many patients in the waiting area. Considering the amount of dental work I need, I want to develop a real relationship with the dentist and feel comfortable.

How can I find a dentist who actually does good work and doesn’t have unusually high fees?

Thanks. Jonah

Jonah,

Your situation is very common, but a change in perspective can help.

It may seem that services offered by dentists are all the same whether you need a dental crown, deep cleaning, or more extensive work. However, each dentist has a unique approach.

When Affordable Dentistry Is Cheap in Quality

From the dentist’s perspective, ways to reduce costs are limited. Some options include:

  • Acquiring a large amount of patients but limiting the time spent with each of them
  • Using cheaper materials
  • Controlling the payroll budget by having a smaller or less-experienced team
  • Limiting amenities available in the office.

Each of the above factors would affect your experience or outcome as a patient. Sacrificing quality to cut costs is not beneficial for you, so it’s often best to avoid offices that use those options solely to save money.

Ways to Find a Quality Affordable Dentist

  1. Find an office that will provide dental care in phases based on your budget.
  2. Explore financing options, either through an in-house program offered by the dental office or a financing company like CareCredit.
  3. If you don’t have a dental insurance plan, consider getting one. Consider obtaining a secondary insurance plan too. It’s possible to get a PPO plan for $40-50 per month, but be aware of wait periods for pre-existing conditions.
  4. Review the dentist’s credentials and experience—specifically in the areas that you need care. And look for an online smile gallery of photos of the dentist’s work.
  5. Carefully check patient reviews online.
  6. Begin by addressing the dental issue that has the highest priority. Your dentist will explain the order of priority. The longer you let an issue go untreated, the more expensive it will become to treat.
  7. Speak with the dental office about how your insurance benefits work, and ask for help determining if there are ways to maximize your benefits.

A great office will help you find ways to make dental care affordable, even if your care is completed a little at a time.

This blog is sponsored by Dr. Miranda Lacy, a Plano dentist who makes quality care more affordable.

What Should You Know about Cheap Dental Crowns?

Last November, I was happy to find a dentist who made it affordable for me to get a badly need root canal and crown. The root canal went find, but the crown looks horrible. It’s difficult for me to settle with the crown because it’s on my front tooth. Despite 3 attempts, my dentist can’t seem to provide me with a crown that matches my natural tooth. Both of us are frustrated. None of my immediate family members have every received a crown, and I’m uncomfortable asking my friends if they have one. I am wondering if this is a normal experience to have so much difficult matching a crown to natural teeth. Thanks. Ying Yue

Ying Yue,

It’s good that you’re questioning the color match for your crown. Out of frustration, many patients just accept the mismatch and try to manage with the disappointment. Unfortunately, issues often occur when fees for dental care are unusually low.

The High Cost of Cheap Dentistry

A crown on a front tooth should perfectly match your adjacent teeth. Otherwise, the restored tooth will be noticeable and detract from your smile. Although a dental restoration might be affordable, if it doesn’t look natural, it can affect your self-confidence and how you express yourself through your smile. And it can cost even more money in the long term.

Natural-Looking Crowns Are Possible

Unfortunately, your experience is common because it requires time, effort, and skill to provide a front-tooth crown that perfectly matches your natural teeth. Several factors are involved.

  • Skill and artistic talent of the dentist – A cosmetic dentist understands how porcelain can be manipulated to match your natural teeth. He or she also has advanced training in the art of cosmetic dentistry. Dental schools don’t teach much about how to provide restorations that capture variations in tooth color and translucency. Cosmetic dentists also have artistic inclination and can ensure a crown reflects the characteristics of your teeth.
  • Dentist and laboratory tech relationship – A cosmetic dentist uses a highly skilled laboratory technician with whom the dentist regularly communicates. Tooth color and characteristics are provided to ensure your crown perfectly matches your natural teeth.
  • High-quality photography – Dental photographs that are taken with advanced camera equipment correctly capture the shade and shape of your teeth. A dental shade tab is held next to your natural teeth and photographed. The dentist’s ceramist will use the photograph to match the crown with your teeth. If the ceramist provides a crown that isn’t a perfect match, the crown is placed over your tooth and another photograph is taken to show the difference in color between the crown and your natural teeth. The ceramist will use the photo to craft a new crown that matches. A typical family dentist doesn’t have advanced photography equipment to capture the details required for a lifelike crown.
  • Try-ins – Before a crown is permanently bonded to your tooth, several try-ins might be required to ensure a perfect match.

Although a dentist who has unusually low fees for a dental crown can provide you with an affordable restoration, the results might not look natural—as you have experienced.

As the before-and-after photos show, it is possible to place a crown and achieve a beautiful match to your natural teeth.

Before-and-after photos of porcelain crowns, which are available from Plano, TX dentist Dr. Miranda Lacy.

What Are Your Options?

  • Do nothing – You can choose to live with your dental crown as it is.
  • Speak with your dentist – You can speak with your dentist about your dissatisfaction and your desire to get a second opinion.
  • Choose a cosmetic dentist – Seek a dentist with advanced training in cosmetic dentistry. Check the dentist’s website, or ask about his or her training. Ask to see before-and-after pictures of dental crowns—on front teeth—for actual patients of the dentist. Some patients schedule consultations with two different cosmetic dentists and compare the recommendations.
  • Choose quality over cost – Although you sought an affordable price for a dental crown, the results are costing more time and money. As you look for a cosmetic dentist to correct the flawed work, consider choosing quality over cost. There are ways to make your dental care affordable without sacrificing quality. Speak with your new dentist about payment plans or financing.

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

Does my composite filling hurt because my dentist did a cheap job?

I have a young enthusiastic dentist whose treatment is really affordable. I’ve been a patient for almost 3 years and have been pleased with her gentle care and treatment. In mid-September, I had 3 small fillings filled with flowable resin-based composites. These fillings have been a problem ever since I received them. Whenever I chew hard crunchy food, like dark chocolate covered toffee, which I love, I get sharp pains. It doesn’t last long, but toffee takes some time to chew, so the pain repeats itself. It happens with other hard crunchy food, too.

Of course, I have mentioned the issue to my dentist. In late October, at no cost to me, she replaced the fillings with the same composites, but I still have pain that is pretty much at the same level as the first fillings. This pain does not occur when I clench my teeth together – only with hard crunchy food.

I’ve read a few dental articles online about this issue with small fillings and learned that before placing the flowable composite, self-etching primers or a glass ionomer base might help. Does my dentist not know this because she is young, or might she be skipping the step to make this dental procedure affordable? Does using this base sound reasonable, and is it a no-no for me to ask my dentist about her technique? Thanks. Sunni

Sunni – The sensitivity that commonly occurs with flowable resin-based composites in small fillings, as opposed to larger ones, seems to be related to bonding the filling to the dentin of the tooth.

We won’t suggest that your dentist isn’t using the base just to make dental care affordable. It is possible that she is unaware of the benefits of using self-etching primers or a glass ionomer base. Or, she might typically have success without using a base under flowable fillings.

What’s Next?

Below are two options to consider.

Vertical before-and-after composite filling photos. The top photo shows three lower molar teeth with silver fillings, and in the bottom photo, they are replaced with composite.
Properly bonded composite fillings look and feel great

  • Schedule an appointment with your dentist to have the fillings replaced again. Before she starts the work, insist on a glass ionomer base to protect the dentin. The composite will be bonded to the base, not the dentin, and you should have relief when you chew hard crunchy foods. If your dentist refuses to apply the base, you can refuse further treatment.
  • Find an experienced cosmetic dentist to replace the fillings. He or she will know how to prepare your tooth to ensure flowable composite doesn’t cause any discomfort when you chew. And keep in mind that regardless of which type of composite a skilled cosmetic dentist uses, the results will function well and look natural. No critical steps will be skipped to keep costs down.

This post is sponsored by Plano, TX female cosmetic dentist Dr. Miranda Lacy. Dr. Lacy doesn’t take shortcuts to make dental care affordable. She provides high-quality care and offers payment options to help you get the care you need.

Affordable Dentist Gave Me a Bad Crown

I feel embarrassed about this, but I answered an online ad from an affordable dentist who offered crowns at a reduced rate. He said he had just ordered a new machine that let him make crowns in his office and he wanted to practice on a few people for a much lower fee than usual. I was delaying a visit for a crown because of the expense, so I took the offer. I was in his dental office for five hours. He kept having issues with the machine and the crown wouldn’t fit right. Eventually, he came back. Shaved my tooth down more, went back to the machine a few times and finally got the crown to fit.

This all just happened last week and my tooth is sore. Actually, my whole mouth is sore, but that particular tooth is especially worrisome. Could he have done permanent damage? And, if he did, am I mostly on my own because he was learning how to use the crown machine and disclosed that in advance? – Maggie

Maggie,

It sounds like you had quite an ordeal. It is best to schedule an appointment with the dentist and let him know what you’re experiencing. Teeth can get irritated when they are repeatedly worked on. The repeated try-on of the crown no doubt caused some irritation.

Possible Resolutions for Low-Quality Affordable Dental Care

  • If it’s basic irritation, it will clear up in a few days.
  • You can take an over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medication like ibuprofen to help you through.
  • There is a possibility it won’t get better on its own. It’s possible that before you received the crown, decay had already affected it and the tooth needs a root canal now. Or, you might need a root canal because the tooth was traumatized during treatment.

What’s Next?

Ultimately, the dentist is responsible for the treatment he provided, even if he promoted himself as an affordable dentist or told you he was learning how to use the crown milling machine. If the dentist is ethical, he will want to know you’re experiencing issues, and he will want to correct them. If the dentist isn’t agreeable, or if he fails to remedy the issue, you’ll need to see another dentist for a second opinion on the dental crown.

The before-and-after photos below show how an experienced cosmetic dentist can beautifully enhance your smile with porcelain crowns. The patient’s left lateral incisor (right side facing your computer screen) was too small. A porcelain crown was used to cover the tooth and match the surrounding teeth.

Before-and-after photos of porcelain crowns, which are available from Plano, TX dentist Dr. Miranda Lacy.

Finding a Trustworthy Affordable Dentist

In the future, seek an affordable dentist out who focuses on providing quality services and finds ways to help make them fit your budget. Some ways to make dental care affordable include:

  • Scheduling treatment in phases to spread out costs or maximize insurance benefits
  • Financing treatment
  • Offering various treatment options at varying costs

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