Dentists Raising Fees Just To Keep Up

Post your comments about changing dental fees to our blog. Read the dental practice fees press release.

In this survey, 22% of dentists said they have raised their fees to stay competitive. The majority, however, haven't yet done so, and a few docs have even lowered fees.

“No one's lowering my costs. So far my vendors, my labs, and my employees haven't volunteered to lower their costs to me!” said a New York prosthodontist.

“If you lower fees, you will not make it,” warned a Florida dentist.

Raising fees is normal

  • “I will be increasing my fees within the next couple of months, but as my normal yearly increase, not because of the current economy.” (California dentist)
  • “We change our fees every January.” (Oklahoma dentist)

Expenses have certainly increased

  • “We may not raise fees unless supply costs continue to rise. Wages must also remain as is, or fees will have to rise.” (Wisconsin dentist)
  • “Same fees, more marketing…” (Washington orthodontist)
  • “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.” (Washington dentist)

Income has decreased

  • “I have raised fees, but so far, it has not translated to the bottom line.” (Massachusetts dentist)
  • “The drop in the financial market has affected us. Gross is down 35%.” (New York dentist)

Will raising fees 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 care and surgical therapy.” (California periodontist)
  • “We were very careful which fees we raised, and if anyone asks, we will honor the old fee for them.” (General dentist)
  • “We raised our fees significantly and there has not been one complaint.” (Illinois dentist)
  • “I will wait and see what is necessary to compete.” (Missouri dentist)

This doctor lowered fees

  • “Elective procedures are down, and patients are deferring expensive dental implant restorations. One patient canceled implants and chose partial dentures instead. A referrer had a patient cancel 6 laminate veneers and have bleaching instead.” (New York oral surgeon)

Trying to appeal to cash-conscious consumers

  • “We have been giving many discounts.” (Illinois dentist)
  • “We might increase cash discounts to encourage cash flow.” (Missouri dentist)

Some docs are cautious about raising fees

  • “We haven't changed our fees to stay competitive. We usually change our fees every year, but we have hardly changed any in the last two years.” (Kentucky dentist)
  • “I don't even want to tell you how long it has been since we raised our fees. I write the value of all that I do give away on the patients’ statements so they will appreciate the value of care they are receiving. I strongly believe we should be charging an office fee (like MD's) for each appt with us in addition to the work being done. Insurance is cutting down reimbursements for services, but never covered our intellectual property (advice, exam, diagnosis, etc). We must not let this go. The ADA needs to understand this.” (Minnesota dentist)

You have to keep up with rising costs

  • “I raised my fees about 2 month ago and plan to do so again in January.” (DC dentist)
  • “I think that is a good idea to change fees.” (California dentist)
  • “We have only increased our fees for high noble cast restorations due to the higher price of precious metals.” (New York dentist)

Reassure your patients

  • “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.” (Illinois dentist)

Don’t let insurance dictate fees

  • “Insurance plans are now trying to make their discounted fee schedules ours. 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 may not be practical to simply not participate. How do we manage this with big insurance and anti-trust laws?” (Pennsylvania oral surgeon)


Note: Survey sample included 223 respondents.

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