August 18, 2023

By Dr. Stuart Fass

In surveys conducted by various groups, people are asked the reason that they don’t visit the dentist when they know they have problems to be addressed. The most common answers have to do with expected discomfort and the expected cost of treatment. This seems to be the standard answer whether or not there is dental insurance coverage.

The truth is that, more often than not, when we sit down with our patients to discuss treatment options and costs, the final fee is usually less than what they feared. It’s important to keep an open mind and let the dental staff put together a complete treatment plan. This includes a diagnosis that takes into account your needs and wants. Are you looking for improved chewing, better appearance, more comfort? Your team will listen and then sit down with you, along with anyone you’d like to listen in, and explain what options you have.

The important consultation appointment serves to make sure that we are all on the same page. A treatment plan may entail several options and these may be an all at once plan or a plan that can be phased in over some time. We have had treatment plans that took several years to complete so as to accommodate the patient’s physical, medical, or financial needs.

We ask that you come to the consultation with questions written down so we don’t leave any details out and all your concerns are addressed. Most difficult is to realize that the dental team is not trying to pressure you into treatment, but only to give you all your options and give you a good idea of what the future might be both with and without treatment.

Consultations are often done at no cost and you will leave with a written outline of cost estimates for all the options. You can then go home and decide on the best course based on all the facts. As I said, often our patient’s are pleasantly surprised that the cost of treatment is well within their means.

Additionally, we have payment options that can spread the cost over time to help make treatment more affordable. As for discomfort, today’s modern materials and delivery methods have made dentistry easier than ever on both the patient and doctor. I’m often asked about how many of today’s techniques I learned in school. The answer is, “Not many.” Our office is continually taking courses and reading to keep up with newer treatments so as to make our patient’s outcome the easiest and best we can.

This article was published on 08-18-2023 in The Altamont Enterprise.