Dental Practice Tricks Patient into Getting Veneers

dental veneers for teethPatient Told Veneers Would Be Free, Then Charged $5,000

A West Virginia woman has filed suit against a Charleston dental practice, alleging that dentists tricked her into getting veneers.

The woman went in for a regular hygiene visit and was told she “needed” veneers. When she said she couldn’t afford the $5,000 price tag, she was apparently told she could receive them for free if she immediately signed a document. She was in the dental chair when she signed what turned out to be a credit application. She didn’t realize she owed money until she received the Care Credit bill a few months later.

The lawsuit claims this was an illegal violation of the West Virginia Consumer Credit and Protection Act encompassing fraud, deception and false pretense.

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Raising Dental Fees May Be a Dentist’s Only Choice

In this survey, 22% of dentists said they have raised their fees to stay competitive.

The majority, however, haven’t yet done so, and a few docs have even lowered fees.

“No one’s lowering my costs. So far my vendors, my labs, and my employees haven’t volunteered to lower their costs to me!” said a New York prosthodontist.

Dentists had a lot of opinions on the subject:

  • “We have considered raising fees, but we are holding off for now. We were concerned we may discourage patients from proceeding with routine care and surgical therapy.” (California periodontist)”I have raised fees, but so far, it has not translated to the bottom line.” (Massachusetts dentist)
  • “We may not raise fees unless supply costs continue to rise. Wages must also remain as is, or fees will have to rise.” (Wisconsin dentist)
  • “The drop in the financial market has affected us. Gross is down 35%.” (New York dentist)
  • “We raised our fees significantly and there has not been one complaint.” (Illinois dentist)
  • “Elective procedures are down, and patients are deferring expensive dental implant restorations.” (New York oral surgeon)
  • “We might increase cash discounts to encourage cash flow.” (Missouri dentist)

Read more: Changing Dental Fees in a Tough Economy

Dental Patients Can’t Get Credit & Financing

In this survey, two out of three dentists told us that it’s gotten harder for patients to get credit. Since dental care costs money, lack of patient financing options can be a real problem in dental practice management.

“Care Credit warned us that a lot more of our patients would not qualify,” said one dentist, while another mentioned, “Enhance and Wells Fargo have discontinued dental lending.”

Here’s what else dentists have to say…

  • “Do I offer patients options? Yes. They can go get some money.” (Tennessee dentist)
  • “If the patient can’t get financed and has no credit card available, there is usually a good reason not to be that person’s bank.” (California dentist)
  • “Most patients won’t even fill out the application if they don’t think they will be accepted. They usually know if they have bad credit.” (Kentucky dentist)
  • “We use an outside third party company that will extract their payment from a checking account. They deal with any problems that arise like insufficient funds or closed accounts.” (Utah dental office worker)
  • “As the economy worsens, we’ve discussed down payments of 1/3 and automatic credit card or secured/automatic debit from checking account. Patients don’t always warm to Care Credit and their credit history being checked. Establishing the trust relationship is so important that often this aspect of care is the ‘make or break’ point.” (Maryland dental office worker)
  • “We are still offering external financing to everyone, but the acceptance rate is getting lower and lower. So we start with emergency or needed treatment first and have firmer financing policies in effect.” (Utah dental office worker)

Read more: Patients Struggle for Credit Approval

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