How About Discount Dental Services By Negotiating Your Own Fees?


What About Discount Dental Treatments Created By Direct Negotiation With A Dentist?

Ever though about getting discount dental treatment by negotiating with a dentist on your own versus using a dental discount program. Here's some pros, cons, and some "hows" about doing this: (Continued After Table...)


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CATEGORY DESCRIPTIONS FEES METRO AREA STATE
DIAGNOSTIC D0120 Periodic oral evaluation $33 National Sample NA
DIAGNOSTIC D0150 Comprehensive oral evaluation $53 National Sample NA
DIAGNOSTIC D0274 X-Ray: Bitewings-4 films $49 National Sample NA
PREVENTIVE D1110 Prophylaxis-adult $58 National Sample NA
RESTORATIVE D2140 Amalgam filling-1 surface, primary or permanent $88 National Sample NA
RESTORATIVE D2330 Resin-based filling composite 1 surface, anterior $108 National Sample NA
RESTORATIVE D2750 Crown-porcelain fused to high noble metal $760 National Sample NA
ENDODONTICS D3330 Molar (excluding final restoration) $780 National Sample NA
PERIODONTICS D4341 Periodontal scaling and root planing, 4 or more teeth, per quad. $181 National Sample NA
PROSTHODONTICS D5110 Complete denture-maxillary $850 National Sample NA


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Pros:

1. Dentistry is a high margin business, so you're dentist can afford to think about discount dental treatments for you.

The median wage for a dentist is well over $130,000 yearly That means, even the dentist is participating in insurance and discounted dental plans, there's good potential they can give up a bit here and there and not loose too much sleep over it.

2. If you are in a stronger position, you have a better chance. For instance, if you can pay immediately or even pay ahead, that means less waiting for payment, which in effect increases a dentist's profitability. Obviously, paying cash instead of with a credit card increases the dentist's profit since credit card processing runs between 1 to 3 percent. (By the way, if you pay with a debit card, allowing the dentist to run it as a debit card will also provide an increase in profit since processing fees are less.)

3. If the practice is in a weaker position, you have a better chance. Dentist's must keep their schedules full to be profitable. A solo practice typically only operates about 4 days per week, and with overhead such as staff salaries, rent, insurance and other ongoing expenses, the practice needs to produce hundreds of dollars an hour in "production" to be viable. So, if there are significant slowdowns, or last minute openings (that you'd volunteer to fill on a moment's notice), a discount dental treatment still may look better than nothing. Also, new practices often have much more open schedule time and may be willing to talk about a discount on dental treatment.

Cons:

1. In general, there are still too few dentists, so there's not a lot of motivation for them to think about discount dental treatment. The
national ratio of dentists to patients is about 1 to 2000. The average value of a patient is about $500 so it only takes the services of about 1,000 dental patients to gross $500,000 per year. Where this favorable ratio exists, it reduces motivation to discount dental services to patients.

2. Specific areas and specific dental practices are less likely to think about discount dental services. If a practice has been established longer, the dentist (should) have more capital reserves and a good patient base (not to mention less energy to work longer hours). Also, if the area has good economics and fewer dentists with whom to compete, less discounting occurs.

3. Insurance is always an influence. If you have insurance or a dental discount health program, there's already a discount built in so there may not be much negotiating room. If a practice doesn't take insurance at all, and if their schedule is full, there's less discounting potential. And if fewer dentists are signed up for insurance programs in or about where you are seeking treatment, there's less pressure to discount dental services because more of them may be receiving their full fee.

Finally, you have to be comfortable asking. Sometimes, it may be better to find a dentist that has already agreed to providing discounts, for instance via a dental savings plan or program like dental insurance or a dental discount card.