Dentist Annual Fee Increases: Dental Management

Dentist schedules: 55% are open lateDentist annual fee increases aren’t universal in a recession economy, suggests this survey. While half of dentists (54%) report that they have raised fees in the past year, it’s been over a year since their last fee increase for the other half (44%). And 2% have even lowered their dental fees.

Those who did raise fees did it by an average of 4.5%. “Staff realized how important it was and influenced me!” said one dentist. “I was hesitant at this time, but they insisted because of how expenses are increasing, etc, not because they want raises. They know the difficulties of today running a practice.”

It’s worth noting that not one pediatric dentist in this survey said they had raised fees in the past 12 months. “I’m holding fees steady this year. Economy and all,” said one children’s dentist.

Dental consultants tell dentists they should be raising dental fees each and every year as a part of their dental management. Here are some comments from dentists on the topic:

  • “I’ve had patients leaving to find a network dentist for a few dollars savings. A fee increase does not seem wise or humane.” (Texas dentist)
  • “In a down market, reducing fees can offer a competitive advantage.” (California periodontist)
  • “Don’t increase across the board. Some up, some the same.” (Periodontist)
  • “Although we have raised our default fees, my fees are primarily based on the complexity and difficulty of the case.” (Dental implant dentist)
  • “Will be meeting soon to review our costs and the economic situation.” (North Carolina oral surgeon)
  • “This year I raised them 5%, similar last year The demand for my services is high.” (West Virginia TMJ dentist)
  • “Difficult to raise dental fees during these difficult economic times.” (New Jersey dentist)
  • “Once per year we increase fees at least 3-4% to keep up with annual inflation. A few fees are increasing more than 4%, like gold dental crown fees.” (Ohio prosthodontist)
  • “We kept the basic services the same (prophys etc) but raised the other fees. We find that patients do not notice the increase unless we increase the prophy and exam fees.” (California dentist)
  • “Since some of our co-pays are based on a percentage of our registered fees, we had to increase our fees.” (New Jersey dentist)

Read more – Dental Management: Annual Dental Fee Increase

Dental Survey: Dentists Still Cautious About Raising Fees

Dentists are cautious about raising feesAs small business owners, dentists know that it’s good dental management to raise fees on a regular basis…if their market supports it.

“It makes sense to raise your fees by at least the local or regional cost of living increase (inflation %) to keep up with that. Around here it is currently about 3% per year.” Ohio prosthodontist

In this survey, we asked dentists how long its been since they raised their fees.

In some regions, the economy is rallying enough that dentists have been able to increase rates.

Within the past year, 27% of the dentists in our survey have raised their fees; and 13% have done so within the past 6 months.

“I am considering it as the economy looks more hopeful and because prices are going up all over…and I have to pay my own bills.” Texas dentist

However, 60% of our dentists have not increased fees within the past 2 years…or longer:

It’s been more than 3 years since 40% of our dentists raised their fees.

“Still pretty shy about raising fees as often as we used to, due to the weak economy and patients struggling fnancially.” Illinois dentist

And 20% of our responding doctors haven’t raised their fees in more than 5 years.

“Just can’t pull the trigger since the recession killed us.” New York dentist

“With the insurance companies basically setting the fees, raising fees too often only hurts the patients who do not have insurance.” Missouri dentist

How is your local economy doing? When was the last time you raised your dental fees?

Dentist Appointments: No-Shows Must Pay Anyway

Dentist missed appointment feesMissed dentist appointment fees have recently made headlines, with one Canadian man complaining loudly about a $400 cancellation charge.

Many dentists charge patients missed appointment fees. Typically, these fees tend to be about $25-50 per appointment. But there’s a lot more variation than you might expect!

A recent survey we conducted showed that an average of 1 in 10 patients is a no-show. That’s a 10% reduction in dental practice profitability, and a serious dental management issue.

The $400 missed appointment fee

Roland Ikporo’s son got a toothache last month, but their family dentist was closed. So he took his son instead to Calgary’s Expressions Dental clinic.

The dentist there conducted an exam and took x-rays at a cost of $150. He told Ikporo that his son needed 4 teeth removed right away. So Ikporo made another appointment for two days later.

But within an hour, Ikporo cancelled the appointment, realizing that his general dentist would be cheaper. (While Expressions Dental would charge $1,700 to remove the four teeth, the dental work was only $800 from their regular dentist.)

Though called the dentist office to cancel the appointment less than an hour after he made it, his Visa was billed an additional $400 missed dentist appointment fee.

Ikporo had in fact signed a consent form that explained the clinic’s cancellation policy: give 72 hours notice or be charged $200 per hour of missed appointment time. So by booking an appointment less than 3 days in the future, Ikporo had no ability to cancel.

Angry, Ikporo has registered a complaint with the Alberta Dental Association and College. They are now investigating.

Just an observation: Even if he pays the $400 fee, Ikporo will still have saved money by having his family dentist perform the extractions… The general dentist‘s $800 fee plus the $400 cancellation charge is still significantly less than the $1,700 quoted by the dental clinic.

What’s your policy?

Many dentists find that a $20 cancellation charge just doesn’t get the job done. How does your practice handle no-shows?

Read more: Father angry over $400 dentist cancellation charge

Dentist Survey: Do You Offer Botox® Treatments At Your Practice?

Do you offer Botox at your dental practice?Botox® has clinical uses in a dental practice — for treating TMJ (temporomandibular joint disorder), or helping elderly patients relieve drooling that occurs due to loss of muscle tone.

In states where a dental license allows dentists to administer it for cosmetic purposes, Botox® patients can be a welcome addition to the practice’s cash flow.

One might easily argue that dermal fillers are not that far removed from smile design and other types of cosmetic dentistry.

“I think it is a purely personal decision as long as the training is there. It would be entirely appropriate in a highly cosmetic practice.” Texas dentist

We’ve conducted surveys on this topic in the past, and the results showed that 70% of respondents had no problem with dentists providing Botox® treatments.

We wanted an update, so we asked: Should dentists provide Botox® and dermal fillers?

Again, most of the doctors saw no problem with offering the treatments, but this time it was a smaller 55% majority.

Speaking for the minority,18% of our dentists survyed think Botox® is approprate only for therapeutic use, and 27% think providing dermal fillers is not an appropriate role for dentists.

We also asked: Do you offer Botox® or Restylane injections at your dental practice?

It’s not surprising that 27% responded that they do not and never will.

The rest of our dentists were split: 9% said they offer Botox® or Restylane injections and their patients love it; 27% said they would if state regulations allowed; and 37% said they don’t yet provide dermal fillers, but might someday.

The bottom line is — in states that allow it — offering Botox® comes down to a dental management decision.

“We know our way in and around the face better than most estheticians and are skilled with a syringe. I have offered it in my practice and not found it to be worth the investment of time and materials. Too many people look for the next Groupon.” Colorado dentist

Have you considered offering Botox® at your dental practice?

Dental Practice Management: Would You Hire Staff With Facial Piercings?

What's your dental management policy on oral piercings?These days, facial and oral piercings are commonly accepted among many young people in North America. Does this kind of personal adornment represent a dental management dilemma when it comes to hiring good associates, hygienists and front desk personnel?

The Wealthy Dentist wanted to know, so we asked this survey question:

Do any members of your dental team have facial piercings?

A 79% majority of dentists responding to our survey answered No, definitely not!

Some dentists responded based on health and personal preference:

“It’s enough to have piercings on ears – the face, lip, mouth are really stretching it, both from a visual standpoint and a health perspective (oral piercings have been shown to damage teeth and supporting tissues).” New Hampshire dentist

“UGLY! Especially the damage and infections caused.” General dentist

“I put up with tattoos. That’s enough!” District of Columbia dentist

Some dentists look at it from a business standpoint:

“Not the professional image I want to project.” Illinois dentist

“I do not believe it represents my practice. Save it for tatoo shop or Barnes and Noble. Attire and dress code is outlined in manual.” Illinois dentist

Despite these observations, 21% of our respondents said they had a team member with a pierced nose, tongue, lip or tongue. (Nobody reported pierced eyebrows on their staff members — but that’s a possibility, too.)

It’s cultural so I don’t mind,” answered a Sri Lankan dental implantologist who has a team member with a a pierced nose. “But definitely not any other piercing,” he added.

“Depends on the size of the jewelry. Tasteful facial piercings are acceptable. Oral piercings are acceptable for employees as far as hiring them, but we do not recommend for dental reasons.” California dentist

Another dentist, who reports staff having tongue and lip piercings, handles it in a very conservative manner: “My staff is NOT entitled to wear their piercings while they are on the clock.”

Here are the takeaways from our dentist survey:

  • You’re entitled to set your own dental practice management policy about facial piercings, but it pays to be aware of what’s culturally acceptable in your market.
  • When it comes to hiring, you also have the option to ask potential candidates to remove the jewelry while at work. That way, you don’t have to exclude someone who might otherwise be a stellar addition to your dental team!

Do you see any facial or oral piercings in your dental team’s future?

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