Dental Price Comparison Shopping
New Patients Welcome. Most patients have very little basis to distinguish among different but similar sounding professional services and the reasonableness of respective charges. As a general rule attorneys and consultants have told us, it’s better to avoid quoting professional charges to patients who are calling around doing “price shopping.”
HOWEVER, today more than at any other time patients need to have accurate cost estimates. At the same time, we cannot afford to mislead or misinform any patient. So, on the following pages, I have portrayed procedures with fee ranges that are common for our area. As you review those pages kindly keep the following in mind.
When a patient calls our office and asks how much it would cost for an examination, or something else. We know immediately that this patient is price shopping, and this patient probably needs care well beyond the limits of his question.
We also realize that the patient thinks this is an uncomplicated question for which there should be ONE simple answer. The patient does not realize that there are EIGHT or more different kinds of examination and some kinds are never given in a particular office. Neither does the patient realize that his particular dental plan only covers TWO kinds and his quota is already filled.
What are the choices that we have?
We can guess what kind of examination the patient might need or want and we can ask questions to try and narrow down the possibilities. Another choice is to try to educate the patient while on the phone. Lastly we can refuse to quote a fee and risk upsetting the same patient who really needs our services.
All team members have been admonished to avoid diagnosing over the phone; it is both illegal for them to do so, and it is foolish. There’s no accurate way to do that, and the charge quoted either scares the patient away or forces us to give the patient the charge for a procedure that they don’t need and won’t receive.
We also don't want to quote too low by giving the patient the charge of a simple procedure when they ultimately might receive a more complicated procedure. If that is done, the patient comes in, but when additional treatment is needed, the fees end up being more than was quoted; the patient completely forgets everything other than the one ridiculously low fee that was quoted by a team member who had no clue for a patient who was similarly clueless. This results in a lose-lose proposition.
Each of the almost 600 different dental procedures described by the American Dental Association's book, Current Dental Terminology (CDT), is represented by a unique 5 digit code. It is common for an office to have 3 or more fee schedules. When you do that kind of math you realize the futility in asking for a telephone fee quote.
For any patient but especially those with limited resources the following are extremely important:
Measure Twice and Cut Once – Patients can ill afford to pay for mistakes in diagnosis and treatment that result in failed treatment needing to be done over;
Reuse and Recycle – Patients can ill afford to pay for dentistry that must be thrown out when foreseeable but unplanned circumstances occur, so we design for re-use and recycling;
Nothing Lasts Forever – Deterioration and maintenance are inevitable and are foreseeable and we plan and discuss the future;
Never build on quicksand – you get one chance to build the right foundation; and
Never buy parachutes at a fire-sale – initial price is never the ultimate cost.
You might want more but you can only get 2 of these 3 concepts – Fast, Moderately Priced, and Lasting Value (choosing two will always result in exclusion of the remaining one!)
High Quality Low Cost Dental Implant Treatment– is achievable BUT not by cutting corners, it is achieved by thinking outside the box, thinking creatively
Our Treatment Conversations always cover fees, risks, benefits and alternatives. Our fees are generally within the typical ranges, but in many cases can be lower and are presented to you in writing and agreed upon before treatment begins.