Yesterday, I saw a patient I’ve been seeing for only a couple of months. He has fairly extensive restorative needs, and we’re “chipping away” at them. He’s lost some teeth. Others needed root canal therapy. Multiple crowns are in progress and planned. Implants are in his future, too.
At yesterday’s appointment, I did a core build-up and crown on #15, which recently had endodontic treatment. It was not an easy tooth to restore due to extensive damage and difficult clinical access. Thankfully, using the Isolite made a nearly impossible job quite a bit easier (than it would have been).
It was still a challenge. And, the patient took notice how hard I was working. After we were done, this conversation followed:
“Can I ask you a question?”
“I see advertisements for crowns as low as $450. (My fee is triple that.) How can they possibly come out ahead if they have to work as hard as you did on that tooth?”
That’s a good question. And, if I didn’t have some experience in seeing what really goes on with those clinics, I’d wonder, too. There are two possibilities, and I’ve seen both. The first is that they DON’T spend that kind of TIME restoring the tooth. The second approach is that the advertised fee is rarely the real bottom line fee. They add on a lot of extra charges for things that are normally included such as: the temporary crown, anesthesia, gingival retraction, “desensitization,” adjusting the bite on the temporary, adjusting the bite on the final crown, and so on. (I’m not making any of this up, folks.) My fee is all-inclusive. No surprises. No extra charges. I do whatever I need to do to make it right.
Furthermore, a crown is not a crown is not a crown. There are different levels of skill. There are different qualities of materials and lab work (craftsmanship). It’s no different than any other professional field.
It’s nice when a patient appreciates that there IS a difference and that not all dentists are the same. In this economy, it’s an even bigger challenge to find patients who understand that you often DO “get what you paid for.” Dr. X’s crown is NOT necessarily the same as Dr. Y’s crown.