The Average Cost of Braces: Orthodontists Charge More (video)

braces cost more from orthodontists videoThe Wealthy Dentist conducted a survey that asked dentists what they charge for braces, and how much dental braces cost on average. This survey found that general dentists charge an average of $5,040 for orthodontic work, while orthodontists charge about $5,600 dollars.

The cost of braces tends to be higher that what patients want to pay and lower than what dentists want to receive.

A Washington orthodontist wrote, “Over the past thirty years, the cost of braces has kept pace with cost of living increases. Thankfully, technology has allowed greater efficiency and consequently, reasonable profitability for the orthodontist and a good price for the consumer.”

Click on play to watch the video –

  • Do different orthodontic treatments cost different amounts?

Yes, but less than you might think. Adult braces and Invisalign costs were about equal in this survey. Teen braces (on average) cost a few hundred dollars more.

  • Are prices the same across the US?

You will find the most affordable braces in the American west. Dental braces cost the most in the Northeast, the Pacific and Canada. The reason is simply regional price differences.

For more on this survey see: Braces Cost More from an Orthodontist

Dental Braces: Are General Dentists Capable of Straightening Teeth? (video)

Dental Braces: Why Many General Dentists Prefer to Do Braces (video)Straight teeth are hugely desirable in our culture, but who is the right doctor to straighten a dental patient’s teeth with braces?

An orthodontist or a general dentist?

One general dentist, who refers out all orthodontia cases said, “I believe that only a good orthodontist can get really good, long-lasting results.”

Another general dentist, who refers out very few cases said, “I do all my own orthodontics and I believe the average general dentist is fully capable.  It’s just that at dental school it is instilled in us to refer and not touch it!”

The Wealthy Dentist conducted a survey that asked dentists what percentage of orthodontic patients they refer out.

To hear the results of the survey and how dentists responded, Click on Play —

What are your thoughts on general dentists placing braces?

Dental Braces: Once Again Texas Makes News with Braces

Dental Braces: Once Again Texas Makes News with Braces What is it with Medicaid dental care and braces in Texas?

The Texas Health and Human Services Commission, which administers Medicaid in Texas for dental braces, has filed a request to be reimbursed for $7.5 million in alleged fraudulent claims it paid to Amarillo orthodontist Dr. Michael Goodwin.

Federal authorities also moved to seize the commercial and personal bank accounts of Dr. Goodwin and his wife as part of a probe linked to a Medicaid fraud scheme, according to the Amarillo Globe-News.

In 2008, Dr. Goodwin became an individual Medicaid provider, which allowed him to bill Medicaid only for services personally provided by the orthodontist.

Soon after the change, the Amarillo orthodontist was reported as scheduling up to 400 Medicaid patients a day and allegedly billing the government for orthodontic treatment he did not perform. The Globe-News further reports that patients and former employees likened the Amarillo Medicaid fraud scheme to “herding cattle.”

In 2009 the Texas Attorney General’s Office’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit was alerted to the fact that Goodwin was likely billing Medicaid for work done by dental assistants, who worked on dental patients that state law prohibits them from doing “at Goodwin’s direction and without his direct supervision while Goodwin was out of town, away from the office or even while present in the office,” according to an affidavit for the case.

The affidavit further states that Dr.Goodwin scheduled patients in 10-minute increments, “causing pressure for assistants to practice dentistry quickly” and eventually billed Medicaid for their work.

It goes on to outline the fact that Dr. Goodwin would fly from Texas to dental offices in Indiana almost every month, while billing Medicaid for orthodontic patient services in Amarillo on dates when flight records showed he was clearly in Indiana.

The majority of Goodwin’s patients were Medicaid recipients with some reporting that figure could be as high as 95% of his dental practice.

Unfortunately, this is not a new dental braces trend in Texas …

Last June, The Wealthy Dentist reported that in 2010, Texas spent $184 million on Medicaid orthodontics — more than the rest of the United States combined. Dentist Richard Malouf’s All Smiles Dental Centers of Texas collected $5.4 million from Medicaid orthodontics. Since that time, All Smiles’ Medicaid orthodontics billings nearly doubled to $10.2 million.

In September we further reported that WFAA-TV had uncovered that Texas taxpayers had spent $424 million on orthodontics for children under Medicaid. Taxpayers spent $100 million in 2008 and $140 million in 2009 — above the $184 million spent in 2010.

On March 1, 2012 Texas implemented a new managed care Medicaid dental program, only time will tell if this will stem the bleeding of taxpayer money on braces in Texas.

For more on this story see: Feds Link Orthodontist to Medicaid Fraud Scheme

Invisalign Creates Greater Profits for Orthodontists

Invisalign Creates Greater Profits for OrthodontistsIs Invisalign a smarter braces treatment for an orthodontist’s bottom line?

A new study suggests some truth to this by revealing that, while Invisalign clear orthodontic aligners cost more in materials than conventional edgewise braces, they require fewer patient visits and a shorter duration of treatment for dentists.

Researchers reported this finding at the recent American Association for Dental Research annual meeting, according to Medscape News.

Researchers evaluated the records of 150 dental patients with mild to moderate class I malocclusion. The types of orthodontic procedures were matched for the amount of initial malocclusion and the number of rotated teeth.

According to Medscape News, here’s what they found:

Conventional braces required a median of 13.6 minutes for a routine visit, whereas Invisalign required 9.9 minutes. Emergency, initial, and final appointments were all longer than regular visits.

Conventional braces required about 2.6 more visits than Invisalign, treatment for 2.4 months longer, 1.1 more emergency visits, 9.7 minutes more in chair time, 1.2 minutes more emergency doctor time, and 86.2 minutes more in total chair time.

However, Invisalign cost $500 to $1441 more in materials and required 5.9 minutes more doctor time than conventional braces.

Measuring profitability as fees minus the cost of materials, Invisalign was more profitable than conventional braces, the researchers found, especially for Invisalign providers who are charged $899 in lab costs, a discount that the appliance maker, Align, offers to orthodontists who do more cases.

For these doctors, Invisalign provided about $1000 of profit per hour of chair time with the first $2750 in fees to the patient, rising to $3250 with $6000 in fees. Doctors who are charged $1549 in lab costs by Align had a profit of about $500 with the first $2750 in fees, rising to $3000 with $6000 in fees.

Braces were less profitable overall, starting at $750 per hour of chair time with the first $2750 in fees, but reaching only $2000 with $6000 in fees.

Invisalign is clearly the profit-maker when it comes to adding value to an orthodontist’s practice.

For more on this story see: Study Shows Invisalign More Profitable Than Braces

Texas Medicaid Braces Dentist Builds Water Park at Mansion

Texas Medicaid Braces Dentist Builds Water Park at MansionAfter months of The Wealthy Dentist’s coverage of the ongoing story behind the Medicaid braces racket in Texas, WFAA-TV is now reporting that one of the dentists being charged with massive fraud is in the process of installing a water park on his mansion property.

The Wealthy Dentist began its coverage of Texas Medicaid orthodontics in June of 2011, when we reported that in 2010, Texas spent $184 million on Medicaid orthodontics — more than the rest of the United States combined.

Nowhere was the lucrative business of Medicaid braces more evident than with Texas dentist Richard Malouf’s mansion in Dallas.

It is a massive French chateau with a pool house big enough for the average American family of four to live in. The Maloufs also own the mansion next door. According to tax records, the combined value of the two properties is more than $14 million.

They are known in Texas as the house that braces built.

Now, as two lawsuits charge dentist Malouf with fraud, he continues to expand his mansion properties.

Real estate columnist Candy Evans told WFAA-TV, “There’s going be a gymnasium, a rock climbing wall and there’s plans for a bowling alley upstairs. There’s going to be exercise rooms.”

According to the WFAA-TV website –

Attorney Jim Moriarty is one of a consortium of attorneys in the action lawsuit, led by Waters & Kraus in Dallas. They say samples of Malouf’s records show that 100 percent of his Medicaid claims were false.

“Frankly, it borders on being obscene,” Moriarty said of the mansion expansion. “The taxpayers of the State of Texas paid to build that house, and are paying to expand that house for a guy who claims to have made his money treating the people of Texas.”

WFAA-TV originally uncovered that Malouf’s All Smiles Dental Centers of Texas had orthodontia billings of up to $10.2 million while under his control.

Since those days, Chicago-based hedge fund Equity Partners acquired All Smiles Dental for an undisclosed sum and is now involved bankruptcy proceedings in Texas.

For more on this story see: Dentist in Medicaid Suit Adding a Water Park to His Mansion

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