Changing Dental Fees


Dental Practice Management: Time to Raise Fees

Dentists’ expenses are increasing, leaving many dental practices struggling. About one in four practices have raised their dental fees due to the current economy, finds a dental management survey by The Wealthy Dentist.

December 27, 2008 (San Francisco, California) Dentists are finding they may have to raise their dental fees to stay financially solvent. While 22% of dentists said they have raised their fees to stay competitive, the majority haven’t yet done so, according to a survey by dental marketing resource The Wealthy Dentist. A very few doctors have even lowered fees.

Raising fees is a normal part of dental practice management. “If you lower fees, you will not make it,” advised a Florida dentist. “I will be increasing my fees within the next couple of months, but as my normal yearly increase, not because of the current economy,” offered a California dentist.

Dental practice expenses have certainly been on the rise. “No one's lowering my costs. So far my vendors, my labs, and my employees haven't volunteered to lower their costs to me!” complained a New York prosthodontist. “I was limited to about 1% increase due to the state dental service contract. This doesn't cover overhead increases, so I had to eliminate one front desk job,” said a Washington dentist.

Dental practices are finding that their bottom line is hurting. “I have raised fees, but so far, it has not translated to the bottom line,” sighed a Massachusetts dentist. “The drop in the financial market has affected us. Gross is down 35%,” added a New York dentist.

Some doctors worry that raising fees might scare off consumers. "We have considered raising fees, but we are holding off for now. We were concerned we may discourage patients from proceeding with routine dental care and surgical therapy,” said a California periodontist. On the other hand, an Illinois dentist commented, "We raised our fees significantly and there has not been
one complaint."

It’s a tough market for dentists right now. “Elective procedures are down, and patients are deferring expensive dental implant restoration," said a New York oral surgeon who has lowered his fees. "One patient canceled implants and chose partial dentures instead. A referrer had a patient cancel 6 laminate veneers and have bleaching instead."

Other dentists are making sure their patient know their oral health needs will be met. “We're sending letters to patients letting them know that we are now more than ever committed to provide them with excellent service, but we're also sympathetic to the current climate, and they can rest assured that they will be in great hands despite the current crisis,” shared an Illinois dentist.

Dental insurance companies may influence dental fees. “Dental insurance plans are now trying to make their discounted fee schedules ours," warned a Pennsylvania oral surgeon. "If we participate, these apply even if the service isn’t covered or if the patient has exhausted their benefits. This is limiting our ability to compete in the market. Never lower your
fees! If you don’t participate, the patients will seek out those who do."

"It’s up to dentists to make sure they can keep their heads above water!" advised Jim Du Molin, dental management consultant and founder of The Wealthy Dentist. “Dentistry is hurting because of the current economy. Many dentists are finding that raising fees is the only way they can stay in business.”

Du Molin invites readers to visit his blog at and comment on this survey.


Visit to learn more about The Wealthy Dentist's surveys in the areas of dental implants, cosmetic dentistry, sedation dentistry, dental Insurance,
braces, and find a dentist. Jim Du Molin offers a free weekly newsletter and dental practice management advice.


Jim Du Molin

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