How Your Dentist Determines Fees
I think many patients are confused about how your dentist might determine the fee that he or she charges to replace a tooth or teeth with an implant based restoration... I know that sometimes, I am confused myself, but I will try to make some sense of it for you all.
First of all, a dentist has to determine what his or her expenses will be to complete the proceedure. If you are replacing a single tooth with an implant crown, the dentist would need to provide the following:
- The implant which would cost out at $350.00
- The abutment which would cost out as $250.00
- The crown which would cost out at #350.00
Now, add to this the cost of all the instrumentation and specialized equipment necessary to place the implant, the abutment, and the crown and then add in any ancillary proceedures such as bone or membranes and the basic overhead the cost to the dentist would easily be over $1,500.00 for every implant tooth replacement. The rule of thumb, since I started practicing dentistry 42 years ago is that your charges are generally three times your costs. This would put the fee charged to the patient at $4,500.00.
Of course, a dentist could buy an off brand implant for under $100.00. He or she could get a crown and abutment from China or many other places for about another $100.00. So this would lower the dentist cost substantially. This is what many of those clinics, the ones with the catchy jingles and special TV offers, and the dentists who work for commisions do and it is what allows them to lower some of their fees. You are not getting the same medical product as the more reputable dentists practicing in the area when you subcumb to this type of "discount" dentistry.
The entire process goes out the window when some of the dentists start gouging their patients. A friend of mine just told me that his daughter is getting one tooth replaced with an implant restoration for $12,000.00!!!! I have seen full dental reconstructions performed for well over a hundred thousand dollars.... I got my Liver for less.... So, in some sense, the fees charged by many dentists are what the traffic will bear. I still pay the same for everthing that I use in making a dental implant restoration, but I have chosen during this economy to deal with a 2X profit rather than a 3X. That seems to work out for all of us right now.
What I would suggest is that each patient takes the time to question his or her dentist about how the fees were derived. They should give you a satisfactory explanation.
One further note, most Prosthodontists I know, work on about a 30% profit when all is said and done. It is extremely expensive to run a Prosthodontic Practice. That 30% is a reasonable expectation...