Whether you are a dentist opening your first practice or a seasoned veteran who has been running your own practice for years, it is a good idea to keep a watchful eye on the fees and percentage rates you are being charged by the company that processes your patient credit card payments. You may be surprised to learn that almost all fees and rates can be negotiated with the sales person when selecting a company for credit card merchant bank services. Most of these companies are very competitive when it comes to gaining your business and will commonly bring their fees down significantly to earn you as a customer.
It is important to note that once you are a customer, some credit card processing companies will add fees after a few months of doing business. As painful as it may sound, it is imperative to negotiate every two years to find if a better deal exists. Also, make sure to review your credit card merchant statements on a monthly basis to ensure that you are not being subjected to additional fees.
What is a reasonable rate?
A reasonable average percentage rate is just north of 2% for Mastercard and Visa processing. American Express will be just north of 3%. It may not behoove a dental practice to accept American Express since their rates are higher and almost all patients have either a MasterCard or Visa. The rate charts provided by credit card companies can be confusing due to the large number of variables that affect the rate they charge. Some of these variables include: whether the card is present, whether the security code is entered and whether it is a debit or credit card.
Other than negotiating upfront, how can I lower my overall rate and fees?
You can achieve the lowest rate when swiping a card as opposed to punching in the numbers. You will also want to enter the security code on the back of the card or if it’s an American Express on the front of the card. This additional step further lowers your rate.
What fees should I be concerned about?
When negotiating fees and checking your monthly statements, watch out for monthly statement fees, transaction fees and noncompliant PCI fees, as well as batch fees. When signing up with a new company, make sure to ask if there is an early termination fee if you would choose to switch companies. There is typically a fee for a credit card processing terminal as well. This particular fee can be avoided altogether with the ability to process credit card transactions online using current software.
Invisalign lets adults get straight teeth without traditional braces.
Unfortunately, the costs keep Invisalign from many patients who might otherwise consider adult ortho.
In a dentist survey we conducted, we found the average cost of Invisalign treatment from a general dentist was about $ 4,800.
Specialists were a little more expensive at around $ 5,400.
Treatment from an orthodontist averaged about $ 6,900.
Jim Du Molin and Julie Frey discuss what dentists think about Invisalign braces:
“Costs are too high for this to be a mainstream treatment for people willing to have adult orthodontics,” said a Michigan Dentist.
“The lab fees are excessive, and Invisalign could use some competition,” said a New York Dentist.
While there’s a lot more interest in adult braces than there used to be, it’s still not quite mainstream.
And with lab costs like that, it’s hard to imagine it truly going mainstream.
What are your thoughts about Invisalign braces?
Are you afraid of going to the dentist? Studies show that about 15% of Americans suffer from dental anxiety or phobia. There are many different factors that may contribute to this fear; however, it is important to overcome dental fears, otherwise it may have a negative effect on your health. Keep reading for some tips [...]
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This dentist survey asked if dental amalgam should be banned in the U.S.
Most dentists said amalgam is safe enough for continued use and should not be banned.
Close to half of our survey respondents (48%) think it’s a valuable restorative material.
“We are already adequately governed regarding amalgam use and disposal. We need to advise patients regarding BPA in composites and the drawbacks to composites so that patients are better able to decide on their poison. Or they can use gold.” New York dentist
“The latest from American Association of Dental Research and the International Association of Dental Research is that Amalgam is the most cost effective restorative material, and it has no adverse health effects.” Florida dentist
“Amalgam is still the best restorative material in many situations where it is impossible to keep the field of operation dry.” Illinois dentist
A quarter (25%) of the dentists in our survey think amalgam should not be banned, even though they don’t necessarily think it’s the best material.
“Since it hasn’t ever been proven to be unsafe, it should be left alone – very few people want amalgam in their teeth, and it will die a slow death of it’s own.” New Hampshire dentist
“It may have a place in certain situations, but I personally have not used it since 1999. I also do not think it has definite, dreaded effects on our patients’ health. After all, if it were the deadly material that some have described…why is it safe to bury deceased amalgam patients conventionally and not in toxic waste landfills?” General dentist
“What is leaching out of our composite restorations? I haven’t seen a conclusive study that absolutely proves amalgam is dangerous.” West Virginia dentist
However, 28% of our respondents are on the other side of the amalgam issue: 10% said they tend to think it should be banned. Another 18% think it should be banned, and no one should be using amalgam at all.
“The most toxic heavy metal on the planet! We can’t throw it away, but ok to put it in our teeth? Really??” Tennessee pediatric dentist
“The EPA deems it a bio hazard for the environment. Enough said. The retentive undercuts [required for amalgam] further weaken tooth structure which leads to fractures. With resins a dentist may do minimally invasive dentistry which results in better tooth strength and potentially fewer fractures. I have clinical pictures of an old, class II resin which was placed in 1985 that is still functionally intact with no signs of any marginal breakdown. That shoots down the knock that resins don’t last.” North Dakota dentist
“Anyone interested in the subject should check out the Compendium February 2013, volume 34, number 2. The article “Mercury from Dental Amalgam: Exposure and Risk Assessment”. It’s an eye-opener and reinforces what I have thought about for a long time. Clearly the ADA is avoiding the subject because it knows that all h**l will break loose liability-wise when it finally issue recommendations against it.” Florida dentist
What’s your opinion about using dental amalgam?
The post Dental Survey: Most Dentists Think Amalgam Is Safe Enough appeared first on The Wealthy Dentist.
Controversies about chemical safety are hardly new to dentistry. So it’s not surprising to find that dentistsare split down the middle in their opinions about the use of dental composite and sealants that contain bisphenol-A, or BPA as it’s commonly known.
In this survey, 46% said they had concerns about safety, while 54% are not particularly worried.
Jim Du Molin and Julie Frey discuss dentists’ thoughts on BPA safety:
“I’ve never had a patient even mention it, unlike the wackos who won’t let fluoride touch their kids’ lips,” offered a Michigan Dentist.
“I have some worries about safety,” said one General Dentist. “To temper this, you’ve got to remember that ANYTHING in the body outside of what is indigenous is considered foreign and has potential to elicit yet another of those unexpected side effects, sort of like most of Congress’ laws. Since I stopped doing sealants years and years ago, I am less concerned about the effect on most adults.”
“Are any of my patients worried about BPA? They should be!” exclaimed an Orthodontist. “My kids will never have sealants. Sealants are BS. Another way the insurance companies dictate how a dentist can make money: by compromising morals, yet again.”
It’s worthwhile to bring up safety concerns about Bisphenol-A in dental sealants and fillings. Unfortunately, the science isn’t particularly clear.
We still don’t have definitive scientific evidence that everyone agrees on when it comes to mercury, or even fluoride. So don’t expect the BPA controversy to be resolved anytime soon.
Read more about the dental survey here.
Want your opinions heard in future surveys?
To be included, just sign up for our weekly dental marketing and management newsletter at TheWealthyDentist.com.
In this dentist survey, we asked their views about public water fluoridation.
Most dentists approve of adding fluoride to public water supplies.
While most of our survey respondents think it’s a good idea, the 35% of dentists against fluoridated public water hold some strong opinions.
“Forced medication,” said one General Dentist.
“Mass medication is morally WRONG! This is especially true when there are better alternatives such as, in this case, FLUORIDATED SALT. Give people CHOICES and let them decide for themselves.” California Dental Implantologist
Here are a few comments from the 65% of dentists in favor of public water fluoridation:
“Absolutely. I practice in a rural setting and the difference between the children who live in a fluoridated community and those that don’t is astounding. It really does make a difference.” Wisconsin Dentist
“It is not as important as it was in the past as most processed foods and drinks are also made of fluoridated water. So, even communities that are not fluoridated are getting fluoride in their diets.” Texas Dentist
“If you ever practiced in an area with fluoride and moved to an area without it, you would be overwhelmed by the amount of decay, as I was.” Massachusetts Dentist
“If communities reject fluoridation, there will no longer be a ‘busyness problem’ for dentists!” North Carolina Oral Surgeon
Is your community’s water system fluoridated? Do you think it’s a good idea?
The post Dentist Survey Reveals Support For Fluoridated Water appeared first on The Wealthy Dentist.
90% of Americans think they have a healthy diet, according to a survey by Consumer Reports. However, many foods and habits that are widely considered to be healthy may actually be causing more harm than good. Are you promoting a healthy lifestyle, or are your habits hurting you more than you know? Keep reading to [...]
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This dental practice management survey asked dentists how often they raise their fees.
There’s a mixture of good and bad news, depending on local economic health.
Most dentists have raised their fees in the past 2 years.
Close to a third (30%) of the dentists we surveyed said they raise fees every year.
Almost a quarter (24%) answered that they’ve increased fees during the past 2 years, but not in the past year.
At the other extreme, 5% have lowered their fees during the past year. Said a Washington Dentist in this group, “One of our insurance providers froze our fees and lowered our reimbursement by 15%.”
The rest of the responses were split — 14% said they haven’t raised fees in over 2 years; 19% said it’s been more than 3 years, and 8% said it’s been more than 5 years since they’ve had an increase.
Although dental consultants strongly advise yearly increases, many dentists practice in locations where the local economy just won’t support increases due to high unemployment or other regional factors.
“I have a shrinking profit margin. Many of my patients have reduced or no income due to the recession and hurricane Sandy. If I raise my fees I believe fewer patients will accept treatment.” Dentist in the northeast
“I used to raise my fees every 1 to 2 years without fail. But with the economy as it has been the last few years, it has been tough to do.” Illinois Dentist
“With the economy as it is and the number of people out of work, I find it hard to raise my fees. People just cannot afford good dental care. They put off any dental work until an emergency arises.” New York Dentist
“I fell off the wagon during the recession of 07/08, but I’m back on track with yearly adjustments.” South Carolina Dentist
When was the last time you raised your dental fees?
The post Dental Practice Management Survey: Dental Fee Increases Depend on Local Economies appeared first on The Wealthy Dentist.
As a normal part of running a small business, dentists have to deal with increasing costs of materials, lab fees, payroll and other dental practice management expenses.
Basic business economics says that as your costs rise, so should your fees. But that’s not necessarily been the case for many dentists.
Jim and Julie discuss some of the realities surrounding whether or not dentists have raised their fees:
“Raising my fees just puts an onerous burden on my uninsured patients, and does not raise revenues on the majority of procedures. Rather, it just increases the amount I have to write off,” complained a Michigan Dentist. “I’m getting closer to dropping participation with all ‘managed cost’ programs.”
“I know I need to raise my fees, but people are constantly complaining of cost,” says a Georgia Dentist who hasn’t raised fees in over two years.
“I feel dental offices should always raise fees to reflect the current annual rate of inflation. We keep our fees in line with local and regional averages and adjust ours annually to keep up with inflation,” said an Ohio Prosthodontist.
If you’d like to share your opinions in future surveys, just sign up for our weekly dental marketing and management newsletter at TheWealthyDentist.com.
How long has it been since you’ve raised your fees?
Are you looking for the perfect graduation gift for a dental school student? Might I suggest Dentistry’s Business Secrets: Proven Growth Strategies for the New or Existing Practice? In the early brainstorming sessions for what content to include in the book, I asked myself “What information would have been the most helpful to me as I graduated dental school?” My initial Table of Contents draft came from answering that very question. After four years of undergraduate work and an additional four years of dental school training, students graduate with the knowledge and experience needed to care for the dental health needs of their patients. However, what is lacking after graduation is a knowledge of all of the business aspects needed to make decisions about how to start out in dentistry and how to pursue owning and running your own dental practice.
Dentistry’s Business Secrets covers the critical information needed for a new dentist including:
- How to make early decisions on becoming an associate, buying an existing practice or creating a new dental practice,
- How to find the right location and practice opportunities,
- How to recruit and manage employees,
- How to deal with dental insurance,
- How to efficiently manage your time inside and outside the office,
- How to attract new patients and
- How to harness the Internet to continue to grow your dental practice.
For more information, you can peruse the Table of Contents here.