The ad says, “Dental implants, only $299!” You think to yourself, “That is $2,000 less than the other dentist!” Must be a great deal, right? Unfortunately, some dental offices have begun using tricks that in the past only unscrupulous car dealers have used. They pull you in on a cheap price but fail to mention all the other services you might have to pay for, such as teeth cleaning, gum treatments, x-rays, bone graft, healing cap, etc, etc. And of course, you will need a temporary crown, a permanent crown, molds, etc, all possibly extra expenses. Before you know it, you might be paying more than double what you would have paid elsewhere.
Bait & Switch
Sometimes, a well intentioned and trustworthy dentist will offer a legitimate, low priced service to introduce their practice. They will never try to up-sell or push you into other services at far higher prices. They will always be respectful and do all they can to make you feel comfortable.
You will know a trustworthy traditional dental office by its low key, low pressure atmosphere, and willingness to spend time with you. But, watch out for the others. For example, there have been reports of patients who have never had gum disease or other problems being told they needed an expensive series of treatments. Denture patients seeking a low price might receive new dentures with inferior materials and fit that causes more problems than they solve. Patients seeking a free cleaning might be told they need fillings and crowns that in reality, they might not need.
How and Why does this happen
Some, but not all large dental chains and other practice types have been accused of deliberately providing misleading information and unneeded treatments. They are often said to use professional “closers” to move patients into dental treatment they don’t need or want, and in some cases, can’t afford. In fact, there have been claims of children being forcefully restrained to undergo extensive and expensive unneeded treatment.
In North Carolina, speaking of large dental chains, the state dental board asserted that “some management companies bill patients for unneeded care and otherwise operate illegally.” Bloomberg News reported allegations of private equity [investor] owned dental office chains pressuring revenues and profits ahead of traditional dental care ethics. The online news article quoted the North Carolina Dental Society in asserting that dentists may be pressured to meet quotas and perform more-expensive treatments “instead of focusing on what’s best for patients.”
Find a Dentist you can Trust
As is often said, if it seems too good to be true, it probably is. If staff and dentist have made every effort to make you comfortable, explain everything completely, answer all your questions, and you didn’t feel like they were trying to sell you services you didn’t need or want, you probably found a good dentist and office. Otherwise, you might want to keep looking.
Dentists you can trust, regardless of the office setting, will always take the time to explain your dental health, what you might need, and all your options. The dentist might review with you, or introduce a qualified team member who will help guide you through details. The office staff will always want you to feel at ease and want you to know that if you need treatment, the treatment you decide upon was designed by your dentist, not by an unqualified business person with a separate agenda.