We’ve all been told since childhood that we should see a dentist twice a year for basic cleanings. And the good news is if we brush (and floss) regularly, we may not need any other dental work. The problem is dentists simply cannot increase their incomes by performing just cleanings. So some practices have stooped to “upselling” you into procedures you may not actually need. Many chain dental practices have been in the news lately when exposed for this very tactic.
Mother Jones (the non-profit news outlet) has examined the “creative diagnosis” some dentists come up with. These diagnoses typically require thousands of dollars of treatment without warning. Second opinions by mainstream dentists often find nothing wrong and no need for further treatment.
Upselling in dentistry isn’t a new phenomenon, but it’s having a moment. One reason: Dental school tuition—and debt—has doubled since the ’90s. According to the American Dental Education Association, students who graduated in 1996 were in the hole $112,000 (in 2013 dollars), on average, while 2013 grads were a whopping $215,000 in debt—28 percent were on the hook for $300,000 or more. By contrast, the average med school grad owed $170,000. ADEA executive director Richard Valachovic explained that one reason dental schools have jacked up tuitions is the rising costs of technology for student labs.
In any case, a generation ago, newly hatched dentists would join established practices as modestly paid associates, with the promise of eventually becoming partners. But these days, with dentists retiring later, there’s less turnover in private practice. Instead, more and more young dentists are taking jobs with chains, many of which set revenue quotas for practitioners. This has created some legal backlash: In 2012, for example, 11 patients sued (PDF) a 450-office chain called Aspen Dental, claiming that its model turns dentists into salespeople.
Regardless of your satisfaction level with your current dentist, the best line of defense is always a second opinion before an expensive or invasive treatment. At Southport Dental we are committed to providing a warm, stress free environment in which our patients are treated as family. Only necessary procedures are recommended, in other words, no one is pressured with upselling here. When considering treatment, patients are clearly presented with pros, cons, and all available options.
We are accepting New Patients! Call us at 317-494-7366 to schedule an appointment.
About Southport Dental PC
New patients are always welcome. We will not make you wait weeks to get the dental visits you want. Let us know what you want to accomplish at your first visit and we will make it happen! We take the time with our patients to explain their treatment options and inform them of additional preventive care.
Contact us today to learn more.