Cosmetic Dentistry Blog Cosmetic and General Dentistry Questions Answered

June 1, 2016

Ridiculously expensive dental work

Filed under: Cosmetic dentistry costs,Hate mail — Tags: , — mesasmiles @ 6:47 pm

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Why is your dental work so ridiculously expensive? A front partial or even dentures are no where near as expensive. $800 or more per tooth is a price that most middle class families can’t afford. At $800 per tooth, four teeth would be $3200. At that price I can have many wonderful procedures done at my local dentist & here you are over-charging for a product that is a false representation of a what the wearer’s teeth condition actually is in the eye of outside observers. I’m appalled at your prices & you guys should be ashamed of charging such ridiculous amounts of money.
– Robert from Oklahoma

Robert,
I was struck by your comment, and while I am putting it in our “hate mail” category, I am not offended by the question or the premise. I think that deep down inside, you know the answer to your own question.

In my opinion, there is a place for cheap dentistry. There are ethical practitioners who try to keep their fees as low as they can while a clinic offering cheap dental carestill providing care with an acceptable level of quality. This clinic that I have pictured here doesn’t seem to be one of those places, but it might. But it is contrary to human nature to expect dentists who have driven themselves to provide the most beautiful smile makeovers for their patients to do so for cheap fees. Even those with a strong altruistic streak will charge fees that are above average. Some will charge whatever the traffic will bear and so will have fees three to five times the rates of their colleagues doing similar work. Some of the very high fee dentists will create work so meticulously perfect that there is no way they could charge less. That’s the nature of the market, which is a reflection of the variety of human nature.

On the whole, however, I think you will find that the cheapest of the dirt cheap dentists will not be as ethical a bunch as those who charge moderate fees.

A personal experience with discounted fees

On the issue of how to charge fees, I had an interesting learning experience in my dental practice. I was one of these dentists with a strong charitable streak, and I would feel sorry for patients who would come in with critical needs, who were willing to be treated but couldn’t afford what they needed. When I started, I would have my staff quote the regular fee and then offer a discount. We regularly had trouble with these patients. They became demanding and had a high tendency to complain about their services and even the discounted fee. What I did after I discovered this was that I would tell my staff not to tell the patient that this fee was discounted. We would discount it, sometimes charging only a fraction of the regular fee, but we would present it to the patient as “this is the fee,” as if it were the regular fee, without any mention of a discount. The complaints stopped. I’ll let you psychologists figure out that one. There is clearly a credibility gap in this world when you try to tell people you’re doing something out of the goodness of your heart. So I learned to just do it without making any attempt to trying to communicate to the patient that there was any “goodness of my heart” in the mix of what I was doing.

– Dr. Hall

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About David A. Hall

Dr. David Hall was one of the first 40 accredited cosmetic dentists in the world. He practiced cosmetic dentistry in Iowa, and in 1990 earned his accreditation with the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry. He is now president of Infinity Dental Web, a company in Mesa, Arizona that does complete Internet marketing for dentists.

November 3, 2010

Your Questionable Ethics, Dr. Hall

Filed under: Hate mail — Tags: , , , — mesasmiles @ 12:44 am

Just so that you get things stright, there is NO such thing as a cosmetic dentist, implant dentist, family dentist, etc….In many states, a dentist is not allowed to advertise or call onself by those afformentioned “specialties” since they don’t exist. Specialists who completed accredited advanced training programs, who have RECOGNIZED specialites, are allowed to specify the type of dentistry that they practice. It’s very misleading and self-serving to call yourself and others on your website cosmetic/implant dentists. It’s interesting that you speak about ethics of certain practitioners and treatment they perform yet your own ethics seem very questionable.
– This comment comes from an anonymous visitor who gave no name, no phone number, not even a state.

Dear Doctor,

You didn’t identify yourself, but I can figure out from your e-mail address that you’re a dentist. But I have learned from experience that it’s the anonymous who often take the pot shots, and who then try to claim the ethical high ground.

What you say is not true – there is such a thing as a cosmetic dentist and also an implant dentist. A lot of people recognize those titles. So it’s not true to say they’re not recognized. They are recognized by many patients. To get it straight, it is the American Dental Association that doesn’t recognize those distinctions, but you and I both know that is because of politics. All dentists want a piece of the cosmetic dentistry business, so they don’t want some dentists designated with that specialty title and taking away that potential source of income for them.

I make it clear in this website that cosmetic dentistry isn’t a legally recognized specialty. I believe it should be. Clearly you don’t. But, what do you think, Doctor, if we took a poll of Hollywood celebrities, would they be willing to go to any dentist on any street corner for a smile makeover? Or have they figured out that there are actually very few dentists who are true artists who can create a beautiful smile?

You and I both know the answer to that.

Dr. David Hall

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About David A. Hall

Dr. David Hall was one of the first 40 accredited cosmetic dentists in the world. He practiced cosmetic dentistry in Iowa, and in 1990 earned his accreditation with the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry. He is now president of Infinity Dental Web, a company in Mesa, Arizona that does complete Internet marketing for dentists.

June 13, 2009

Shame on you, Dr. Hall

Filed under: Hate mail — mesasmiles @ 8:05 pm

Dear Dr. Hall,
I read your respose to Lesly [sic] (A Bad Experience with Lumineers) and was very shocked and disappointed that you without seeing the patient jumped to the conclusion that the treating dentist made an error and that his skills as a a cosmetic dentist are not up to the standards. As someone who claim that you try to educate and help the public you should be very objective and avoid judging your peers without knowing the whole truth…shame on you.

Dear Anonymous,
Shame on me? Before you talk to me about shame, I think you should have the decency to identify yourself. But your message came with no e-mail address, phone number, or first name. People who make comments behind a cloak of anonymity don’t have much credibility with me.

I am proud of what I write. So much so that I put my name on it, my address, my phone number, and all about the company I run. And I think Lesley is very glad that I didn’t pull any punches when I answered her question.

Lesley’s case was pretty clear cut – she had three crowns and three Lumineers placed on her front teeth and within a week, one of the crowns started turning dark. I think that any decent, self-respecting dentist would take responsibility for that. I certainly would, if that happened with a case that I just inserted, and I don’t think it is out of line to expect that from her dentist. Do you think that is within the standard of care, to give a patient a dark crown on a front tooth?
Dr. David Hall
Phoenix, Arizona
Putting my name on everything I write.

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About David A. Hall

Dr. David Hall was one of the first 40 accredited cosmetic dentists in the world. He practiced cosmetic dentistry in Iowa, and in 1990 earned his accreditation with the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry. He is now president of Infinity Dental Web, a company in Mesa, Arizona that does complete Internet marketing for dentists.

August 4, 2007

Cosmetic dentistry isn’t a specialty – so he says.

Filed under: Hate mail,Lumineers — mesasmiles @ 5:24 pm

Dr. Hall!
I cannot believe a member of my profession could possibly act as unprofessional as you have in putting down Lumineers. I just finished a course on Lumineers yesterday and in searching the ‘net last night I happened on your website.

Cosmetic Dentistry is not a recognized specialty, it’s an area of interest. You mention that ferric sulphate might have caused discoloration of a veneer. If a dentist was using Viscogel, he didn’t learn that from Denmat. We were told to not even consider doing veneers if there was marginal gingivitis. And Lumineer preps do not require gingival margin preparation, so where did the blood come from?

If you really think you expert cosmetologists are so hot, have a look at Peter Rinaldi’s videotape from the Chicago Midwinter Convention where he chops the teeth all to hell – right into dentin. This is endorsed by “powers that be” for continuing education points. And you have the unmitigated gall to criticize a non-invasive method of placing veneers?

I’m awaiting your feeble defence [sic], my friend. Because whatever you are going to say is not going to be evidence based, only the opinion of someone who has a lot of time on his hands and might think about taking a Lumineers course to see what it’s really all about.

– Dr. H – a 68 year old dentist. I’ve been around as long as you have, buddy. And I don’t criticize other dentists’ work, especially in a public forum.

My friend and fellow professional, Dr. H,
My web site is intended to benefit patients. And for their benefit, I say forthrightly what I think. I do understand that some dentists don’t like what I say, but I believe the highest professionalism comes not in circling the wagons in defense of fellow professionals, but in honestly answering the needs of the patients.

I believe that cosmetic dentistry is a specialty, though not a recognized specialty. 🙂  It sounds like you disagree. I think of those who have taken the pains to become accredited, after their eyes are fully open to all there is to learn, that probably all of them would agree with me. Those that haven’t taken the discipline to that extent, many of them don’t think cosmetic dentistry is that difficult and think that it is just an “area of interest” as you say. But those who are swimming in the pool have a better understanding of what the water is like than those who are sitting in the lawn chairs just looking on, in my opinion.

In the Lumineers case you’re referring to (see post: porcelain veneers turning gray), I think you need to read it more carefully. It wasn’t a veneer that was discolored, it was a crown. I think emotions are getting in the way of clarity here.

And to those of us who are passionate about appearance-related dentistry, if the patient, after the seating of the case, says that her teeth look a little gray and they had lost translucency, to us that case is a failure. It maybe looks ok to the dentist, but it isn’t beautiful. But I know that many dentists think that “a little gray” and “lost a lot of the translucency” is not a big deal.

I think that a no-prep technique for porcelain veneers, as the Lumineers people recommend, can be appropriate in some circumstances. I think that’s what I say on my web site. I think that generally a light-prep technique is ideal, and I think most cosmetic dentists would agree. I don’t know any cosmetic dentist who advocates “chopping the teeth all to h-.”

I do have a Lumineers case posted on my web site, done by Vancouver cosmetic dentist Dr. Michael Drance. But I’m getting a lot of e-mail from unhappy Lumineers patients.
– Dr. David Hall

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About David A. Hall

Dr. David Hall was one of the first 40 accredited cosmetic dentists in the world. He practiced cosmetic dentistry in Iowa, and in 1990 earned his accreditation with the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry. He is now president of Infinity Dental Web, a company in Mesa, Arizona that does complete Internet marketing for dentists.

July 17, 2007

This dentist claims any dentist can do cosmetic dentistry

Filed under: Hate mail — mesasmiles @ 1:26 pm

You are illusionists if your feel that only the “real cosmetic dentist” can achieve wonderful results. It would seem that you all are trying to promote the idea that only you all are “masters” of the art. As I see all the promotional articles it would appear that you all are masters of “hard sell.” I feel sad for the mentality that now pervades our once great profession. You may reply.
– Dr. Bob in California

Dr. Bob,
On the contrary, a good cosmetic dentist is very much a soft-sell person who tries hard to please the patient and who knows that any cosmetic dental treatment must be driven by the patient. If the patient is unhappy with his or her smile, then the case needs to be done. If the patient is happy with how they look, then no treatment is indicated. That’s what I was taught in my cosmetic dentistry courses. And a good cosmetic dentist knows that the case is a success only when the patient is happy with the results.

There is a distinct mental attitude difference between a technician-oriented dentist who is very good at what he or she does, and an artistically-oriented dentist who loves creating beautiful smiles and is very good at it.

Imagine yourself trying to convince Julia Roberts, for example, if she wants a new smile, that the dentist on the corner can do that just as well as say Dr. Debra Gray King in Atlanta, or Dr. Jerry Bellen in San Francisco. You’ll never convince her that there aren’t certain dentists that are excellent artists and many that aren’t. You and I know that she’s going to be very fussy about who she lets do that for her.

But I understand the sensitivity that many dentists feel when we discuss the differences in abilities between dentists. Every dentist wants to be an expert, and it takes a big person to admit that others, who have the same advanced degree that they do, are better at certain things. And the general public who visit this web site are very appreciative for our pointing out who are the great artists in this profession.

There is a philosophy of professionalism that wants to uphold the “status” of the professional and is hyper-sensitive to criticism. But I adhere to the philosophy that the greatest professionalism is to be of service to the public.

Dr. Dave Hall

We thank our advertisers who help fund this site.

About David A. Hall

Dr. David Hall was one of the first 40 accredited cosmetic dentists in the world. He practiced cosmetic dentistry in Iowa, and in 1990 earned his accreditation with the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry. He is now president of Infinity Dental Web, a company in Mesa, Arizona that does complete Internet marketing for dentists.

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