Cost of living pressures seem to be increasing every day, and many people simply don't have the upfront cash to visit the dentist as regularly as they need to. At our practice, we offer payment plans for dental treatments, to make sure that our patients feel as comfortable as possible about their visit to the dentist. Patients just need to speak to the practice manager, Lisa, and she can set up a payment plan. We actually use one company called DentiCare—it's interest free and we usually do a six to 12-month payment plan, depending on the treatment. There is one small set-up fee, and that's, I think, around $30 to $40, and then it's just a simple application. So our patients can rest easy.
Payment plans for orthodontics
More and more patients are using this facility—particularly my orthodontic patients. Up to 95 per cent of them are on payment plans, because the treatment usually runs over a couple
of years, so there is scope to stagger the payments over time. It's a really good thing for dentistry. Consider this—historically, before payment plans were an option, most people had to let their teeth deteriorate until they saved up the money, which often made it worse for them, in terms of both cost and outcome. They had no other option but to put it off. Now, with payment plans for dental treatments becoming much more common, patients can get the treatment they need right now, and consider the financials later. Unfortunately, there are still those people who will initially refuse treatment because they cant afford it, and that's where a payment plan for dental treatment will come in handy—if we can talk them into it. We can then mail out their payment plan to them.
The false economy
Make no mistake; its a false economy not to undergo dental treatments as soon as they are needed. Its one of those sad things that we do often see—patients put off treatment time and again, and the problems get worse and worse, and unfortunately that usually means more and more expensive. There are, of course, some people who cannot be convinced that they need the dental work done, and we try to support them in whatever decision they make. I'm a dentist, and I am passionate about my teeth, and I'd sell my car if I had to, but that's me. I understand that not everyone shares that same perspective. Some people are happy to get their teeth pulled out and have plastic teeth, eventually.
Talk to us!
Our practice manager is really good with the patients, and shell work out a plan, large or small, with the patient at the front desk or over the phone. We give them plenty of time—they can go away and think about the payment plan and the dental treatment involved over a few days and come back to us when they've made a decision. The idea of a payment plan for dental treatment has become more and more commonplace over the last 10 years. There’s no shame in it at all—but there is a certain amount of stigma around poorly maintained teeth.