Dentist Offers Dental Care for Trade

Uninsured Patients Invited to Barter for Dental Care

Dr. Harry Rayburn of Tupelo, Mississippi, experimented recently with a “Trade Day” at his dental practice. He offered fillings, extractions and cleanings in return for traded items. The event was more about helping uninsured patients than bartering for the actual value of the dental work involved.

Patients started lining up before 6am. Not long after the office opened at 9am, 60 patients had signed in, and the rest had to be turned away. Though that’s three times as many patients as Dr. Rayburn sees on a normal day, he was committed to treating every last one.

Traded items include artwork, bicycles, cakes and pies. Some will be divvied up among the practice’s team members, and the rest will be donated to charity. Dr. Rayburn (who cites the movie “Doc Hollywood” as his inspiration) says he’s considering making “Trade Day” a regular event.

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Dentist Hours: Many Stay Open into the Evening

Dentist schedules: 55% are open lateJust over half (55%) of practices offer evening hours, and 37% let patients make weekend appointments, this survey found. Mondays are the busiest day of the week for 1 in 3 practices.

Many dental practices are closed on Fridays. “On Friday, if the weather was nice, patients always cancelled,” said one dentist. “We work Tuesday evenings instead. The staff and I love 3-day weekends. Nice quality of life. I highly recommend it.”

But for some, the economic reality is a harsh wake-up. “With the new economy, I will need to start opening on Fridays and take what I can get,” said another dentist. “Going broke in Alaska!”

If a patients wants or needs evening and weekend hours… and you don’t offer them… then that patient will find a dentist who does.

Here are some comments from dentists:

  • “Early morning hours are good.” (Connecticut dentist)
  • “Patients like afternoon hours.” (Athens Greece dentist)
  • “Evenings are popular.” (Maryland pediatric dentist)
  • “Saturday morning and early afternoon appointments are very popular with our patient population.” (Ohio prosthodontist)
  • “Friday is a highly productive day because I see only high production cases without all of the small procedures interrupting my case.”

Read more – Dentist Schedules: Time Management Meets Dental Management

Dentists’ Future Not Clear: Will It Be Good or Bad?

The Future of Dentistry Is Unclear to Many DentistsDentists aren’t sure whether to be optimistic or pessimistic about the future of the dental profession. In this survey, 37% of dentists said they are optimistic about the future of dentistry, another 37% are uncertain, and the remaining 25% are pessimistic.

When it comes to dentists’ future, some of the things that worry doctors include government control, corporate takeover, insurance intrusion, Obama’s health plan, and mid-level dental providers.

“I worry that the government will get its hands on dentistry just like it’s doing to medicine and we will all wind-up working for Uncle Sam,” said one dentist.

Here are some comments we got when we asked dentists, “What do you expect for the future of dentistry? What worries you? What are you enthusiastic about?”

  • “From an economic standpoint, people that have been delaying treatment will have to do their treatment as they won’t be able to delay forever.” (Tennessee dentist)
  • “Higher overhead due to increased bureaucracy from government. Lower income due to the endless Great Recession. The ‘golden days’ may be over.” (Illinois dentist)
  • “My worries include the greed of dentists to make the most money and not treat the profession with respect.” (General dentist)
  • “I think the future will hold no impression materials – mostly all cad/cam.” (New Jersey dentist)
  • “I am concerned that the standard of care in the US for dentistry may be lowered due to the influx of mid level providers. We must not lower our excellent quality of care in this country because of the misconception that there are not enough Dentists to provide care. The problem is distribution of Dentists and lack of funding for Dental Care increasing the number of poorly trained mid level providers will not solve this problem.” (Alabama dentist)
  • “Worried about corporate takeover of delivery.” (California orthodontist)
  • “I’m worried about the oversaturation of dentists in many urban and suburban areas. Also the lack of expertise and knowledge about dentures and dental implant supported dentures by many of today’s young dentists.” (Ohio prosthodontist)
  • “I am concerned about the effect that ‘Obamacare’ will have on our private practices because having an administration that is so anti-small business does not bode well for private practices.” (Alabama dentist)

Read more: The Future of Dentistry: What’s In Store for the Dentist

Dentist Treatment Options: Patient Quotas

Last year, we discussed how New York state was opposed to patient quotas for dentists in the article, Dentist Treatment Options: NY Opposes Patient Quotas for Dentists.

Dentists and dental associations were outraged when Invisalign announced that dentists would only be able to offer the orthodontic treatment if they began at least 10 cases per year.

Though Invisalign ultimately withdrew this controversial “provider requirement” (read about Invisalign dropping dentist requirements), the backlash kept on coming.

Many were horrified by the idea that a manufacturer could prevent a dental practitioner from offering a treatment modality to their patients.

New York was so disturbed by this precedent that Governor David A. Paterson signed into law, Chapter 504 of the Laws of 2010, a bill that “prohibits corporations and manufacturers from setting quotas on dentists who use the corporation’s product or service.”

The bill essentially states that a manufacturer may not set quotas on dentists who wish to use the manufacturer’s product. Here’s the text of the New York state legislature bill:

“The commissioner shall promulgate regulations to require that a manufacturer or other entity selling, leasing, or otherwise providing any drug, device, or health care service shall not, directly or indirectly, establish as a condition for the use by a dentist of such drug, device, or health care service that the dentist meet any quota for the number of patients on whom the dentist uses the drug, device, or health care service and that a dentist shall not, directly or indirectly, request or receive from any manufacturer or other entity a drug, device, or health care service having a condition that the dentist meet any quota for the number of patients on whom the dentist uses the drug, device, or health care service.”

The bill, A.10943/S.7614, was sponsored by Richard Gottfried, chair of the Assembly Health Committee, and Carl Kruger, chair of the Senate Finance Committee.

The bill was passed and signed into law even though there was strong lobbying against it.

I want to hear your thoughts. Do you feel that other states should take the same action as NY? Are you dealing with any companies who have established a proficiency quota?

Invisalign Cost: Invisalign Braces Fee Analysis

According to the Invisalign website, the national average cost for Invisalign treatment ranges from $3,500 to $8,000, with the national average at about $5,000.

The Wealthy Dentist conducted a survey to determine what dentists and orthodontists are charging for Invisalign.

The results from the survey revealed that Invisalign treatment costs an average of $4,622 when provided by a dentist and $6.945 when treated by a specialist.

“We adjust our cost according to how long treatment takes. Times can range from 5 – 18 months (rarely more). We are willing to “deal” on Invisalign because the actual Dr. time is so minimal,” reported a Minnesota dentist.

The cost of Invisalign treatment is on average $500 higher than the cost for regular braces treatment. The dentists who responded to this survey noted that the higher cost reflects the lab fee that they pay for the Invisalign trays.

Here’s a sample of what dentists had to say about the cost of Invisalign treatment:

“I take into consideration material cost of impressions for both initial and refinement, the lab cost and shipping. We charge $5,000 for a full treatment.” (Georgia dentist)

“I have wrestled with the most appropriate fee levels for Invisalign for a long time. We have historically kept the cost of a ‘full’ treatment a bit higher than traditional orthodontia. Although the ‘full’ treatment cost is $5800 — I charge $3200 for express.” (Washington orthodontist)

“Specialists usually get ‘tougher’ cases, so they charge more. We have three fee structures for simple, medium, and complex.” (California dentist)

“My Invisalign rep suggests that I should lower my fees or offer financing that takes a bite out of my profit due to the economy, but I don’t see them lowering their lab fees to me!” (Illinois dentist)

“I hate how high the lab fee is!” (General dentist)

“Invisalign pre-treatment of prosthetic cases greatly reduces the complexity and cost of many restorative challenges. Talk about a revenue enhancer! Invisalign is the best thing this GP has added to the bag of tricks in the last 4 years!” (Florida dentist)

“I am thinking of lowering my fees to compete with the general dentists in the area …” (Oregon orthodontist)

“Clear Choice is much lower in cost to the dentist (and the cost savings can be passed along to the patient). Clear Choice appears to be just as good, if not better than Invisalign. I’m so fed up with Invisalign and our local rep is not very helpful either.” (Ohio prosthodontist)

“Our cost includes whitening and first set of retainers, which we make in house.” (Connecticut dentist)

“There is no free lunch!” (Ohio dentist)

For more on this survey see: Fees for Invisalign Treatment Average $4,622 – $6.945


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