Inexpensive dentist in NYC.
June 14, 2012 6:23 PM   Subscribe

I'm in NYC and I may need to see a dentist, but I have no dental insurance. Recommendations?

I've seen this, but it takes me about two hours to get out to Greenpoint. Something around/below the park in Brooklyn would be awesome.

Also, I have regular health insurance. Any loopholes in the system that would let me use that to get my teeth looked at?
posted by griphus to Health & Fitness (15 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Dr Isidore Sheps (yelp link) saw my husband when he didn't have insurance. He was so great that husband is exceedingly loyal and now continues to make the trek down to Kensington even though we now live over an hour away and have a dental plan.
posted by sestaaak at 6:45 PM on June 14, 2012

Some health insurance covers your teeth... might want to double check. I had problems with this at one point, because my dental and medical coverage were duking it out over who should pay the dentist.
posted by ThisIsNotMe at 6:45 PM on June 14, 2012

Response by poster: Awesome, Kensington is perfect!

Unfortunately, my boss (the company is literally the two of us and an uninsured part-timer) has the same insurance and he made it really clear that he pays out-of-pocket for all dental stuff.

Follow-up question: has anyone ever bought their own dental insurance plan? How and where?
posted by griphus at 6:49 PM on June 14, 2012

I haven't shopped for dental insurance for a while (my job offers decent coverage, so I've had that for years) but the last time I did, it seemed like any insurance worth having was so expensive it was pretty much a wash unless you had something major done. That was just my experience, six or seven years ago. Not sure what's available now.

You might try one of the dental schools. I went to Columbia's, but I was a student and got a discount. Aside from the appointment taking longer than usual (student and attending would trade off and discuss things here and there) I got pretty good care.
posted by elizeh at 7:31 PM on June 14, 2012 [1 favorite]

Dental insurance sucks. That was my conclusion after shopping for it. No insurance covered a significant portion of what I needed anyway.
posted by Obscure Reference at 7:40 PM on June 14, 2012 [1 favorite]

I was in kinda the same boat as you, I hadn't had dental insurance in about four years, and knew I needed to get some work done on my teeth.

So, a few months ago, I bought my own dental plane online. I bought it from a company whose advertisements I had seen in the local newspaper circulars. It costs around $30 per month, for just me. $15 copay for an exam, $35 copay for cleaning, and $2100 copay for root canal on two teeth.

Problem is, my specific plan is only offered in Texas. They may have a decent plan in your area though. Message me if you want a link to the company's website.
posted by AMSBoethius at 7:50 PM on June 14, 2012

Yeah, depending on what you're getting done your new, costly policy may not even cover it so make sure it does before you pay. I had to pay out of pocket for a crown, as it wasn't covered (though the root canal was...).
posted by vegartanipla at 7:52 PM on June 14, 2012

NYU dental school? Tortured by students for free?
posted by elizardbits at 8:02 PM on June 14, 2012 [3 favorites]

Ugh, been there. I would also suggest checking out the dental schools, though it's definitely more of a hassle to deal with scheduling. But if cost is the primary concern, you can't beat the value. If you get in as a regular patient of one of the student doctors, procedures can be DIRT cheap/free. Otherwise expect to pay around a third the cost for clinic visits (YMMV). UMDNJ is reputable, and an easy commute from Manhattan on the PATH. For advanced-yet-routine procedures (i.e. root canal) you're likely to be seen by someone who's almost done with the program.

I know my health insurance company has some discounts available that aren't actual offerings of the insurance company itself. (Things like gym membership discounts, lower rates offered by certain chiropractors/massage therapists, etc.) You might want to check for any random dentist discounts.
posted by ariela at 8:07 PM on June 14, 2012 [1 favorite]

There are Grouponish deals for $50 dental x-rays and cleanings all the time. Perhaps this would at least be a good starting point? (I went on one and had a great experience.) Keep an eye on or some other deal aggregator.
posted by thejoshu at 8:59 PM on June 14, 2012

Here to suggest NYU dental school. I went there when I was broke. It was fine. It there is a major problem a professor steps in.
posted by wandering_not_lost at 11:44 PM on June 14, 2012

Many people don't have dental insurance, because unlike physicians, dentists have figured out that getting paid $0.25 on the dollar is a lousy way to do business. Your dentist should be able to tell you exactly how much a procedure is going to cost before it happens.

Fortunately, dental care is expensive, but not that expensive. We're talking low four-figures most of the time rather than mid-five and up.
posted by valkyryn at 5:36 AM on June 15, 2012 [1 favorite]

Does your regular insurance offer an FSA? You can use that to pay for dental.
posted by spec80 at 5:55 AM on June 15, 2012

Yeah, I've been to a number of dentists in New York City. And I tell them what I tell doctors: "I don't have a lot of money, and I don't have insurance. Is there anything you can do for me?" Sometimes that works.

I will also say that literally everyone I know (LITERALLY) goes to the same dentist; you could call and ask for rates, but the price may or may not meet your needs.

Lots of people have had success with the dental schools in NYC. They are not torturous, although they are, of course, not experienced. And I wouldn't have them do anything complicated. :)
posted by RJ Reynolds at 5:56 AM on June 15, 2012 [2 favorites]

My regular health insurance covers (part of) one cleaning per year and also anything that's an emergency, like infection. Maybe double-check your coverage.
posted by en forme de poire at 10:48 AM on June 15, 2012

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