Recently, our office received a telephone call from a woman (Ms. X) who needed a second opinion on some dental work. She had gone to see another dentist and said she felt like the doctor and staff were trying to “upsell” her on several treatments and she felt “pressured” to begin the work that very instant. The total cost of Ms. X’s proposed treatment was “several thousand dollars” according to her. She did not have dental insurance so she was quite taken back with the amount of money that she would have to spend, especially with the office pressuring her to start treatment that day.
Ms. X decided that she wanted a second opinion from our office after reading our reviews on Google. When she was told by the receptionist what the fee for a new patient exam would be, she exclaimed, “but the other office only charged $29 for an exam, x-rays, and cleaning!” (full disclosure – our new patient exam fee is more than $29).
The next part of the conversation went something like this:
Us: “So, Ms. X, how long did you have to wait to be seen by the doctor at the other office?”
Ms. X: “Ooohh, about 45 minutes. I was so mad!”
Us: “And how long did the doctor examine you for?”
Ms. X: “He stuck his head in my mouth for about 5 minutes and then said some stuff to the nurse. She wrote it down and then I waited another 20 minutes or so before someone from finance or wherever told me how much it was going to cost and that I needed to start something today.”
Us: “Ok, and did they take any photographs of your mouth?”
Ms. X: “No, they just took an x-ray”.
Us: “Did they measure your gums?”
Ms. X: “No, they just looked and said I have gum disease.”
Us: “Did the doctor answer all of your questions?”
Ms. X: “No, he left the room right after he looked in my mouth. I think he said maybe 5 words to me total.”
Us: “Ok. One more thing, Ms. X – did you get the cleaning that was included in your $29 fee.”
Ms. X: “No! They said I needed a deep cleaning or something and that I needed to pay over $1000 just for that part!”
Us: “Sounds like you were not too happy with your experience there.”
Ms. X: “Absolutely.”
Us: “Ms. X, did you ever hear they saying ‘You get what you pay for?‘”
Ms. X: “………”
A few days later, we saw Ms. X for the second opinion. She had downloaded the new patient forms online from our website, filled them out from her home, and brought them with her. Within 5 minutes of her arrival, she was seated. Full-mouth high-resolution photos of her mouth and teeth were taken with our DSLR camera. She brought her x-rays from the other office with her, but they were so bad that we re-took them at no additional charge. Her examination was entirely with Dr. Choudhury, who examined every aspect of her mouth, including teeth, gums, and oral cancer screening. Afterwards, Dr. Choudhury explained in detail about her dental condition using her photos, x-rays, and other aids as guides. The total process took about 1 hour. She did have some dental needs, but not nearly as much as the other office claimed. Therefore, the total fee for all her treatment was a fraction of what the other office wanted to charge her. She choose a payment option that best fit her budget and schedule. Plus, she was grateful that we took the time to explain to her about her dental condition without sounding “pushy”.
Had Ms. X not gotten a second opinion, she may have spend thousands of dollars on possibly unnecessary dental work, all because she want a free/low cost exam. Even though her initial exam fee at our office was higher, she ultimately will save money, feel good about her dental investment, and most importantly, she has a relationship with her doctor built on TRUST.