Why Flat Fees in Dentistry are (Probably) Lies

added on: January 29, 2020
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The internet has made us reliant on price-tags. Brick-and-mortar stores have obviously utilized the price-tag for a while now. However, the internet makes it that much easier to quickly and easily look up the exact price of everything from a gallon of milk to a luxury sports car. You can see the price, check your bank account, and buy the good all while sitting on the couch.

Thanks to this ease of access to prices, we expect to know exactly how much we’re going to pay the second we begin to consider the idea of purchasing an item/service. In some ways, that’s a completely valid thing to want. Money doesn’t grow on trees — people have to budget. But, what if what you’re buying isn’t as cut-and-dry as a gallon of milk or a sweatshirt? What if you’re buying a service? And what if you can’t really anticipate exactly what that service will entail until you talk to a specialist?

If you Google the price of implants or veneers or bonding, you will not get a single flat rate. You won’t even get a reasonable range of prices. That’s because, in the medical world, very few procedures have flat fees. We’re here to explain why that is and why (most likely) your dentist or doctor isn’t trying to screw you over financially. Not handing out flat-prices to potential patients is how they protect you from hidden fees.

Why is price-shopping dentist offices useless?

A big rule in our office is to never entertain price-shoppers. It’s not that we want to be mean or make them feel like we don’t have time to talk. That’s actually the last thing we want to do. We just want them to realize that, there is no way for us to give an accurate estimate to the price of most dental procedures before we see the state of the patient’s mouth. Why is this? Because every person who comes into our office has a unique case. No two mouths are the same which means no two procedures are truly the same.

There are a lot of people who call our office asking us what the flat price is for a single dental implant. We could give them the price of the physical implant but without taking 3D scans of their mouth, we wouldn’t know if they need a bone graft in order to make the implant successful. The patient might also think they just need one dental implant when in reality, after an exam, the doctor recommends three or four implants instead. Once again, thanks to the internet, a lot of people self-diagnose their dental problems. Someone may think they need a cavity filled when in reality they need a root canal — or extraction and an implant.

If we said on the phone that the implant would cost X amount, then it looks like we’re essentially lying if we have to add on the cost of a bone graft, or a deep-cleaning, or an additional implant. We’re not lying. We’re just giving the patient the care they need. But because we gave them this flat-price during their first phone call, they may expect that initial amount to cover any additional services.

This is our dilemma

As an office, we have to make a choice of whether we want to tell price-shoppers on the phone a number that most likely won’t be true or if we want to refrain from talking cost over the phone. We’ve decided to take the second approach. We always want to be as transparent with our patients as possible. When we say we don’t know exactly what the price will be, we’re telling the truth. Until we look at a case, there is no way to know for certain what procedures are needed. Because of this, Drs. Stanley decided to offer completely complimentary consultations. During a free consultation, the doctor will talk to you, take a look at your case, and map out what treatment you need and how much it costs.

Come on in!

Want to know how much a dental implant would cost at Stanley Dentistry? Schedule a free consultation! You will be able to speak with one of our doctors about your specific case and your treatment options. You’ll be much happier at the end of your consultation since you’ll know exactly what your treatment costs instead of hearing an inaccurate estimate over the phone.