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In this survey, only 18% of dentists reported that they formally guarantee their dental work. While many dentists follow an honor code of sorts, very few offer official guarantees.
"My malpractice insurance carrier doesn't want me to guarantee anything verbally or in writing," said one dentist. "However, if the treatment hasn't held up due to something I could have done better, I always redo it at no charge."
Rural dentists are twice as likely as their urban colleagues to offer dental patients a formal guarantee.
Guarantees are a bad idea
- "A guarantee? Are you nuts?" (California dental implantologist)
- "I would not guarantee the sun will come up tomorrow." (Pediatric dentist)
Use the honor system, not formal guarantees
- "I don't have one in writing that I give to the patient, but I do make a judgment on each case as to how I will adjust the fee for a remake." (Kentucky dentist)
- "I never offer a written formal guarantee. I do assure patients that I stand behind my work and that any work done will be modified or replaced if need be. I use the word 'reasonable' in terms of any oral guarantee or time frame." (New York dentist)
Legal issues with guarantees
- "It is illegal to guarantee in Alabama." (Alabama dentist)
- "I have considered a guarantee, but so much is out of the doctor's control, I feel that it would just add legal problems with non-compliant patients." (Tennessee dentist)
- "It is a very sticky subject, legally speaking." (Florida dentist)
Dentists stand behind their work
- "I stand behind my work 100%. I do not offer a written guarantee. You can't be responsible for patient neglect." (Utah dentist)
- "I stand behind the work, but its not formally written." (California dentist)
- "I guarantee my best effort." (Kentucky endodontist)
Malpractice insurance companies dislike guarantees
- "I received a notice from my malpractice insurance carrier. They do not want you to guarantee anything verbally or in writing. However, if my treatment that hasn't held up due to something I could have done better, I always redo at no charge no matter what. I feel so much better, and it solidifies the trust relationship between me and my patients." (Minnesota dentist)
Note: Survey sample included 55 respondents.