I get a lot of questions about how much dental work should cost and Young man holding piggybankif its appropriate to use a dental coupon, Groupon or discount.  Dental discounts are indeed a touchy subject and seldom addressed. Amongst the dental world there is a lot of controversy about dental advertising and discounts, some consider dentistry a business and advertise as if they were selling a product and some believe that advertising discounts diminishes the professionalism and integrity of the dental field. Also, as a consumer, it is a tough decision as to which kind of discounts are acceptable and which you should be wary of?

  • The $100 implant: There is nothing wrong with getting a great deal or a discount at your dentist however some deals really are too good to be true and should be looked at with a more discerning eye. In general the fee for your procedure should encompass the cost of supplies, lab fees as well as the salary for hours worked by the dentist, surgeon and/or assistant. If the quoted fee seems too low to cover those fee’s I’d begin to wonder if this deal is too good to be true. Although some insurance plans can cover portions of the procedure you should be sure to ask about the possibility of additional fees and make sure that the fee includes the final restoration and all the hardware included with it.
  • Free Whitening or Free Cleanings: Usually you will find a dentist will offer a free service for a new patient with a new patient check up. This is seen regularly in the dental field as a way to introduce new patients to a practice. If you plan on using a dentist who offers these services it pays to do a little research into the office prior to your appointment. Word of mouth from a trusted resource is a great way to check out a new place before you try them.
  • Dental Groupon’s or other social coupon sites: Social Coupon sites and dentistry at this point really is an ethical dilemma in the dental world. As per the ADA ” Many states have regulations that prohibit or restrict the awarding of gifts as a means of soliciting patients or prohibit fee splitting between dentists and a third party” So in other words by using a social coupon site a portion of the fee’s collected by the dentist are paid to the coupon site and can be considered as fee splitting. Besides the ethical and legal issue as I stated in the previous statement try and find a credible review before you buy a voucher.
  • Professional Courtesy: It is common practice in dental offices to offer a discount to an existing patient or a courtesy for some patients depending on what service you are completing or if you are having complex treatment completed. If you do not have insurance sometimes it doesn’t hurt to ask your dentist to extend a discount if you expect to have a decent amount of work done.
  • Unbelievably Low Prices: When having work completed that involves a lab; such as a crown, bridge, implant or denture, there are overhead costs included in the fees which include lab-work, materials used and the practitioners time. If the fee’s they are presenting don’t seem to leave any room for the overhead then I’d begin to wonder how they are covering those costs?
In general, when it comes to dental discounts I would adhere to the ‘Is this too good to be true?’ rule. Because often times it may be.  Keep in mind, having dental work completed is not like buying a car or a handbag, getting the lowest price may not always be best. Although you can haggle with some things or get other things for free, when it comes to having complex comprehensive dental work completed be wary of a great bargain. And as always, it is best to be an educated and informed patient!]]>

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