I have to get a small filling done. Since it’s small, I don’t think I’ll need a shot of novocaine or any anesthetic. How do I bring this up with my dentist? Will my bill be more affordable if I don’t get any anesthetic?
Sal, Rhode Island
Thank you for question. Dental fees are generally set based on the procedure, and not on details and options concerning the procedure. Dentists set fees for each procedure mostly based on the amount of time they usually book in the operatory for the procedure, and then they modify that based on level of difficulty and the cost of materials. The cost of the novocain is not really that significant. On the other side is that for a dentist, working on a patient who hasn’t had novocain, is more stressful, which would balance out. So it would be unlikely that the dentist would feel that there should be a discount for not using anesthetic. Insurance companies also set fees, so if your dentist is in-network, this will affect what they have to charge. Insurance companies ask that fees be set for each procedure and that dentists not vary their fees from case to case and may require the dentist to certify that the fee for a particular procedure code is standardized.
About not having anesthetic—one reason you may need a shot of anesthetic is that your filling may only seem small on the surface. It may be deep on the inside, and that would make it a larger filling than you expected. If that is the case, that is why your dentist requested anesthetic. If you consult with your dentist, and they agree that your filling is small, then you should be all right without it. Just keep in mind that requesting no sedation would probably not save you any money.
Unfortunately, dental care is not something you can pick and choose like an a la carte menu. It’s more akin to a prix fixe menu; prices are the same across the board. Maybe things will be different in the future, but for now, it’s best to try to work with it as it is.
I hope this answers your question. Whether you receive anesthetic or not, we here at Generations Dental Care hope that getting your filling goes smoothly.
This blog post is brought to you by Enfield Dentist, Dr. William Cummiskey, at Generations Dental Care.