Should I negotiate with my dentist?

I had a root canal done in December with the crown cemented in early January. In late January, it started to become a bit tender. I went in today for some more work on other teeth, and they took an x-ray of the tender one to see what the issue is.

Turns out that there was a very tiny canal that was missed during the initial visit that was not excavated. My doc is now sending me to an endodontic specialist who will drill through the crown, do the thing with the thing (she said something about microscopic something…I presume clear out the missed canal), and then I’ll go back to her to fill it.

When she told me this, I asked if it’s going to cost a lot. She said something about it shouldn’t cost very much. I wanted to get on with what I was doing, and have some time to research what she’s talking about before discussing further with her.

Should I be asking her to pay for this service, or to give me a credit of equal amount with her office, or something like that? When they took the x-ray today, they found the canal. She can’t say that some canals are too small to note on the x-ray, because she saw it today. Is it normal to have me go to somebody else for the same treatment and essentially pay for it twice?

Posting so I can subscribe.

Interestingly, I think I have the exact same problem. I just had the xray today, she hasn’t evaluated it. The idea that there was still some root in there was my personal diagnosis but I had never had a root canal to compare it to.
In the meantime, I’ve had a second root canal on a different tooth and I realize what it’s supposed to be like. So I asked her to figure out why this tooth still hurts.

In my case, I plan to just pay. This tooth was very infected and it took 4 or 5 visits to get the job done. There’s no way they made money off of me for this procedure. So if I have to pay additional money, I won’t feel like I paid twice for the procedure.

I asked the question of a dentist at This is the reply I received:

So, no farther ahead in that regard. I think I’ll probably go to the endodontist and get the work done and pay it outright. I don’t even know right now what it will cost; $100 or $1000. Then, with the bill in my hand, I’ll be better able to discuss what I’d like from my dentist. There’s thousands left on my treatment plan (yes, I ignored my teeth for way too long), so its unlikely she’ll want to lose me as a patient over the splitting of a bill. We shall see.

I’ve had this same thing happen. I had to pay for the job to be re-done. I never thought about negotiating, just paid it. Sorry I can’t be of more help.

IMHO you should **definitely **be able to get a cost estimate up front. It is possible to negotiate with a medical care provider to some extent.

You will probably have to pay something for an initial visit with the specialist to assess the situation, and once that’s done you should insist on an estimate of the costs. If it were me, and the amount was outside what I had available, I’d tell the specialist I can’t afford that all at once, will it be all right if I pay you over X months’ time? I’m assuming here that either you don’t have dental insurance and/or your plan won’t cover it.

Dentists, just like anyone else, have bills to pay and don’t want to be left having done $1000 worth of work and not get anything for it. If you can’t pay all at once, they may want you to sign an agreement.

But people, like anyone else, have bills to pay and don’t want to be left having paid for $1000 of work but not get the job done that they paid for.

Why should the customer be the one to take the hit?

It can’t hurt to try to negotiate. Maybe you’ll catch her in a charitable moment. My husband seems to have great luck with that sort of thing, however looking like the Unibomber seems to have a persuasive effect on people.