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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
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 still 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 A. 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 advanced internet marketing for dentists.
Yikes! I found that question rude. Often I get cheaper prices for my dinnerware at Walmart, but I expect to get Walmart quality. If I wanted plates that were beautiful AND would last for a long time, I’d go somewhere else, which would cost more. Remember, you usually get what you pay for.
It’s such a tough position for patient AND for dentist to be in! I can relate with the disappointment clearly expressed in the question. However, unlike Robert, I do also understand that some dentists invest a lot more time and money into training and into dental equipment. Plus, certain materials just cost more. It’s not the dentist’s “fault,” it’s just the nature of today’s economy!
The fact that some people are willing to pay the higher prices that one dental practice has over their cheaper competitors is an indication that some patients do see the value in paying the higher price. If this were not so, then why wouldn’t they simply go to the cheaper dentist? No one is forcing people to pay for higher quality services than they want. A dentist can only charge what people are willing to pay or they will be forced to close their doors. This is how we are able to have a system in which people can have a variety of choices based upon their budgets and their needs.