With rising healthcare costs, it’s not surprising that savvy patients want to “shop around” for dentistry, but let me take a moment to shed some light on the potential pitfalls of such a strategy. One day I was asked by a longtime patient, “Well, how much do you charge for a crown?” I replied with a question of my own, “Well, how much would you like me to charge?” After seeing the patient’s quizzical look I then asked a few more follow-up questions. “What kind of material would you like? Metal or Porcelain? Where would you like the crown to be made? Here in the USA or overseas in China? How quickly would you like that crown?”
The patient’s expression only grew more puzzled with each question. Two of the biggest factors in quality of care is the skill of the dentist, and the materials being used. The dentist’s skills are very hard to evaluate, but materials being used is very black and white. This applies to crowns, fillings, braces, night guards, etc. Even the fluoride used at the end of a cleaning.
Let’s take the example of a crown. I can have a crown made by a quality lab using quality materials, or with our CEREC technology, we can even fabricate that crown in-office using the most advanced materials available. I can also have that crown made overseas by a lab in China for a fraction of the cost. Do you think there’s a difference in quality? Then there’s the matter of what cement do we use underneath the crown. This opens up a massive discussion about “gray market” products that are used by some dental offices. You see, dental products can be purchased through authorized or non-authorized distributors. Authorized distributors ensure the product is correctly stored, as fresh as possible, and is legitimate product. Non-authorized distributors cannot guarantee any of those, and may even sell counterfeit products.
So the next time you shop around for dental services, if the prices sounds too good to be true, it very well may be. At Cedar Mountain Family Dentistry we not only offer quality service, but also always use quality products.