Paying a Large Dental Bill

Category Healthcare
Having to pay a large dental bill can be very frustrating and stressful for many people on a lower or fixed income. This is a page about paying a large dental bill.


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I went to a new dentist and had work done in December of 2016. I had insurance for that month, but I added cleaning for my teeth, and even with insurance it ran up my bill to over $1545.00. They took and wrote off some x-rays.

After I called and complained about my large bill, the gal in the front office said they would not charge me any finance charges. Then this bill for April, now has a finance charge on it. I called Monday and had to leave a message as they did not answer the phone and to date no one has called me back!
Very unprofessional to say the least. I am low income senior, and I had told them that all along.


April 12, 20170 found this helpful

I think the bill automatically adds financing. You should ask them to make a note on your account not to add that 'financing'.


I had that problem for mine too but they just tell me to ignore the financing part as I am doing payment for my dental bill also (as I have no insurance for dental but a loyal customer of theres for over 15 years. They allow me to pay what I can per month).

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April 12, 20170 found this helpful

That happened to me a couple years ago. I complained several times and made sure to call my dental insurance to tell them what happened. They somehow just "went away" probably knowing they were wrong for doing it. Make sure you let them know as much as you can they're in the wrong and tell your dental insurance from that time, as well.

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April 12, 20170 found this helpful

Sorry - I am not sure that I understand your question. You say you had insurance for that month (December 2016) but your bill ran to over $1545.00. Do you mean this is what you owe AFTER your insurance has paid their part?


If that is the case, did you make arrangements to pay this off over a period of time? You will have to pay your dentist a visit to try and get them to remove and not charge interest (if that was not in the original paper you signed). Remember; when you talk to someone at reception that does not mean the billing/finance department will agree or even if they know anything about the discussion.
It may just be a misunderstanding so go to their office and try to work out an agreeable solution.

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April 12, 20170 found this helpful

Talk to the dentist personally. The staff can be difficult to deal with. The dentist makes the final decision!

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April 12, 20170 found this helpful

Work done in December might not have a finance charge for 30, 60, or 90 days, depending on the office and the agreement. But FOREVER? probably not. Try to renegotiate and be prepared to look for another office or be overcharged in the future.

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February 22, 2011

I have a huge dental bill. How can I find money or a way to work this out? I love my dentist and he has been working with me. I have applied for disability with hopes to receive that by November, but he can't work on my teeth until I pay more on my balance. Any ideas?


By Sue from Warsaw, VA


February 10, 20110 found this helpful

Hi: when life hands you tough breaks you can check for grants. Government grants are free money from the federal government. is one place from the federal government and they ask you questions and best to ask to e-mail page when done so you can keep your grant findings. Good luck all of you. Lets hope our boat sails to free grant money. I too have dental payments costing me over 1,000. Yikes!

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February 23, 20110 found this helpful

When I was married to a man who had a good paying job, but wouldn't spend any of the money on my teeth, my teeth got completely ruined. Occasionally when I had a tooth ache I could have one pulled, but that was it(he got dentures before he was 30). For years I lived with no teeth, broken off teeth and roots.


When we sold our house in 1983 due to a divorce, the first thing I did with my share of the money was get dentures. But to this day I can still eat some foods better without any teeth than with the dentures. I see lots of people, both men and women running around without teeth. I'm telling you this just to point out that sometimes people have to go without dental work.

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February 23, 20110 found this helpful

Go to: They finance healthcare bills, and you can make monthly payments.
Please don't agree to any dental work that you don't absolutely need. Sometimes dentists try to talk you into procedures that are purely cosmetic, and it's hard to make rational decisions when you are sitting in a dentists chair. Before you have more work done, ask yourself if it's really necessary.

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February 23, 20110 found this helpful

If you have a big medical bill that you are forced to pay - at least be sure to claim medical deductions when filing taxes!


I've done this for a few years and it's awesome. Once I knew I would be able to claim medical deductions, you can add on all sorts of things - mileage to/from the doctor, contact lenses, glasses, contact lens solutions, co-pays, prescriptions... the list goes on and on.

If it's a really big bill, it may be in your best interest to split the bill over 2 years - consult a tax person with that question.

Here's the irs site link:

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February 23, 20110 found this helpful

Sue, In the mid-70's I had to have huge amounts of dental work done because I slipped and fell when I was seven and landed mouth first on the edge of a cement curb. Anyway, once I was in my early twenties the pain became unbearable and I had to have several root canals, an apeoectomy, 2 caps, and a bridge (it's normal that problems and pain doesn't occur until early adulthood from this type of injury).

Anyway, the place I was working for at the time closed up shop and hence I lost my dental insurance before all the work was finished. It had to be done so the dentist did it but thereafter he said the same to me which was that there could be no more work done after the original problems were finished until it was paid in full.

Well, he worked with me and it took me years to pay him off and in the meantime I went to dental clinics that would work with me on a sliding scale according to my earnings for general upkeep. Eventually, I was able to go back to that original dentist and he remained my dentist for a couple more years (payment in full at time of service even if it meant I had to save for it first) before I moved away.

Please know you are not alone! Just do the best you can and even if all you can pay the dentist is $5.00 a month for awhile please do so. I am sure your dentist will be accepting and especially if he/she knows you've become disabled. I too am disabled now and neither Medicaid nor Medicare will cover dental upkeep so I am again going to a sliding scale clinic. They are compassionate and will help you keep your teeth in good care. Good luck to you in receiving disability and be good to yourself.

Hawaiihibou, I have a question to ask you. Have you ever wondered just who pays for that 'Free Federal Grant Money'? This 'you can take advantage/entitlementment attitude' is much of why our country is going bankrupt. :-( In my heart, true and wise Hibou's wouldn't even think do this kind of thing.

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February 24, 20110 found this helpful

Hello Sue. First of all, I appreciate you asking such good questions, but IMHO some (not all) of the responses on this thread are not offering sound advice.

Having a good doctor/dentist patient relationship is very important and you need to work to keep that relationship on firm ground. However . . . as much as these good medical professionals want to help, they still need your payment for their services. They have their own bills to pay, families to feed, etc., and can't do so if you are not paying for your services. Government (tax payer) reimbursement does not always cover the doctor's actual cost of doing business for these professionals and our American government has no Constitutional right to demand they do so at the expense of their own livelihoods.

Second, there is no such thing as "Free Government Grants". You may not be responsible for repaying them, but someone else surely is. Most times it's the middle class person or family making enough money to not be considered in the "poverty level", but never making enough money to afford the same benefits as the "government grant recipients."

Think about it . . . an average middle class person can't afford to pay for crowns or dentures either without some sort of arrangement or loan with the dentist, but as law abiding citizens contributing to the tax base, his or her tax dollars are being used to pay for a stranger's crowns or dentures and he or she or their children are often not eligible for "Free Government Grant" money. What's free or fair about that?

Third, you can of course take a lot of tax deductions for medical expenses but not without first contributing to actually paying taxes; and second, seldom without the additional cost of hiring a tax accountant to accurately interpret what is and isn't allowed in the U.S. Tax Code.

Again, Sue, I think your questions are legitimate and my best suggestion is to talk with your dentist honestly. Offer to pay at the very least $5.00 - $10.00 a week for prior services and do so religiously. Ask about loan financing that many dental offices are happy to help you look into. (Some even have an office business manager that can act as a liaison.)

If you are eligible for disability but have to wait until November for any acknowledgment of such, it's unreasonable to expect your dentist to suffer along with you until then (working without payment of any kind).

Talk frankly with your dentist and see if the two of you can come up with a good plan that will keep you pain free, but not necessarily with pearly white perfect teeth. As well, as Deeli stated, if this doesn't work out, find a sliding scale dental service that can work with your immediate or emergency needs.

Again, "Free Government Grants" are not "free". Someone, probably someone else who is doing without, is paying for these grants. I wish you much insight, good health, and success.

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March 1, 20110 found this helpful

Check your local universities. I live by the University of MN, and they have a dental school. its much cheaper to get dental work done there, and they dentist are in their last years of school, very well trained and supervised.

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ThriftyFun is one of the longest running frugal living communities on the Internet. These are archives of older discussions.

February 22, 2011

I am wondering if anyone has read or bought the book "Free Money To Pay Your Bills" and wondering if it helped or has worked for you. The reason I am wondering is because my husband needs $12,000.00 worth of dental work done and fast and we need help to come up with this money. The waiting list is too long to get him into a low income family discount dentist in our area. So if you have any information for me that could help we would appreciate it.



Paying a Large Dental Bill

I don't know about the area that you live in but our dentist has a finance plan that is available to their patients. They don't offer it in house but if you ask they might be able to get you hooked up with the company they use to do the financing. I know this isn't ideal but at least you can get the work done while you make payments.

That's a huge dental bill, most people don't have that much extra laying around waiting for a place to put it. Or perhaps you might check with another dentist (second opinion) we have found some dentist in our area to be 50% higher than others. I hope something works out for you soon. (09/23/2005)

By Connie A.

Paying a Large Dental Bill

Talk to your dentist office staff about setting up revolving payment plans. All dentist do this and you pay so much a month until you get it paid off. Most state and federal programs don't cover dental. (09/23/2005)

by snigdibbly

Paying a Large Dental Bill

Maybe a Dental School is close to your area or in a university close by. Good Luck! (09/23/2005)

By Cindy in AL

Paying a Large Dental Bill

Try getting a second opinion, that's a lot of money. you would if it were any other surgery.

If you have a dental school close by, they are more reasonable and the work is excellent. I have a 20 year old filling from Rutgers dental school.

Also, your local county clinic may have dental or a referral. If you live near an Indian health or migrant health facility, they might help you. (02/11/2006)

By Lissette Lurker

Paying a Large Dental Bill

If he needs the work done 'fast' you can forget the Dental schools! My sister is on Social Security and had to wait almost 2 years for them even to get her into the office. She needs the rest of her teeth removed and will need specially fitted dentures due to the unusual shape of her mouth.

The school can and will do the work, but she has to pay them what is, for her, approximately a months income upfront, before they will even start it. This knowing that she is already having severe infections in her mouth, which can infiltrate her entire system!

She has been actively looking for assistance for her dental needs for several years and has had no luck. If anyone finds a solution, I sure hope you let us all know! (09/30/2007)

By P.J.

Paying a Large Dental Bill

I don't know if this will help you but in my area I belong to a program that is not an insurance plan but instead a Dental Discount plan. It also works for eye and other services. I used it several times in the Nash, TN area and saved almost half on root canals and caps. The price is paid right out of your bank account monthly and is only I believe 19.99 per month for your whole household. That means even if your sister and her kids live with you they would be covered to! It was a Godsend for me! I don't know if this is available in your area but my lady that I signed up with is not kin to me or anything but her email is RRice AT . I hope it helps you. This nice lady can send you all the info on the plan and then tell you a list of Dentists in your area who take the plan. Best of luck to you and your husband. (09/30/2007)

Paying a Large Dental Bill

My wife had major work done today, just the beginning. We also were not able to hook up with a dental school. She is diabetic, needs almost all teeth pulled, anesthesia, full upper denture and bottom partial. Even with insurance coverage, 1750 this year and next, I will still be paying somewhere around 10,000. Still, gum infection is no joke, lies beneath the brain, and above the heart. Don't wait too long to get rid of it. It's a shame our country will provide us with viable medical insurance plans, but not with dental, which is so expensive when you have a big treatment. Good luck. I don't know a good solution here. (12/01/2007)

By TOm Heinz

Paying a Large Dental Bill

I am in the same situation. Periodontal disease and I need immediate intervention, my bill is 17,000, as a single mom I am desperate, did not qualify for Care Credit because of income, don't know what to do but its true this disease lies beneath the brain and above the heart. I worry that I won't have a chance to get this done, but only God can help at this point. (09/20/2008)

By Jan

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