Tuesday, February 1, 2011

You're expensive, but worth it.

Just so you know, it is 79 degrees here right now. It is a gorgeous day. I know most of you are dealing with some really crappy weather, so I thought I would rub it in.

I am reading a book called Without Hesitation: The Odyssey of an American Warrior. It is a memoir of The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. He was the highest ranking military man during 9/11. I don't know too much about the military, so I thought I would give it a try. It is okay, but it is dragging.

One of my favorite books is The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls. Well, I heard that Jeannette Walls was speaking for the United Way next week. I called and bought tickets. I then found out it is for their annual Women's Leadership Conference. I don't care. I think the girl/guy ratio is so going to be in my favor. Anyway, I think it is going to be great.

TV - Modern Family. It is a must.

Movies - I just finished watching Death at a Funeral and Hot Tub Time Machine. How much do you really expect out of movies like that? They were pretty funny. That is about all that you can expect - a couple of laughs.

I had a patient (who has been a patient of mine for about 8 years) say to me (for about the hundredth time) that I was expensive but worth it. And all weekend this has kind of chapped me. Being a bit more expensive than the next guy doesn't bother me that much. I feel like I do really good dentistry and even better service, so I feel like my fee is warranted.

Now let me tell you about this woman. She lives in the neighborhood right next to the office. She was about 70 years old and came to me because she had heard great things about the practice. I don't think she had been to the dentist in a while and the reason I know this is because 7 of her front teeth were black with decay. She said, "I need them fixed."

Now, most of us see a 70 year old with black teeth because of decay and we are thinking crowns. I looked and looked and I thought, let me try to see what these look like after I remove the decay. To my surprise, I thought that I could fill them.

They would be big fillings and would be pushing the envelope as far as what composite can do, but it was worth a try. Now you can say to yourself, "Damn. There goes $6,000," but I was thinking I will get a raving fan out of it and when these big fillings fail or need more attention in 10 years or so, well then we will be there for her.

I did about 7 facial fillings, and if you ask me, I think I did an awesome job. Well, I sit here and tell you that they are not looking like failure is eminent. She is now 80 and the damn fillings look fine.

Now we are here, and she is saying that I am expensive. My cleanings might be $8 more than the next guy's, but they're about the same as other decent dentists around. My crowns are probably more but she has only had one crown. Yet here we are with her saying I am more expensive. The way I look at it, I saved her about $6,000 by taking the more conservative route. At $8 more per cleaning, she would have to get her teeth cleaned 750 times before we were even.

I guess the thing that chaps me so bad is she doesn't say how ethical I am. She doesn't say how conservative I am. She doesn't say that I am caring or go out of my way for people. Is it okay with you guys for someone to say you are expensive but worth it?

Okay, as I am writing this I know I sound like a baby (again). What I am mad about? She comes here and has been a patient for 10 years. She likes me. She sends her friends here. This is what I want out of patients, isn't it? So now, am I telling you that all I want is perfect patients? Well, yes and no. I don't want a patient to say, "I like you but..."

Am I expensive? Yes, but all dentists are. Dentistry is expensive. But let's compare apples to apples. If you go to a conservative guy, it could save you a ton of money in the long run. Just ask Mrs. Cohen. No, wait, she doesn't even see that.

Have a great day.

How did you like that blog that is short and to the point? I am running to give a lecture to the UCF ASDA pre-dental organization. I went the Gator game last night. 9pm game that went into overtime (we won, thank God). We got in our car at 11:40pm and we still had two hour ride home. I am totally dragging today.


Unknown said...

Great post, great message. Have you talked to her about this? When she says you are expensive do you say, "I believe I provide great quality. Remember when you first came to me 8 years ago with those 7 decayed teeth and I worked hard to give you quality fillings? Many dentists would have put crowns on those teeth to the tune of $6000, but I cared for you and I think we are both pleased with the results."

If not, you can't complain about it. Don't be afraid to let people know how much you care for them.

Elizabeth said...

this sounds like something my 88 year grandmother would say, and mean as a big-time compliment. I wonder if she doesn't really mean it how it sounds... like she means that she values money, and she believes that her money is well-spent at your office?
otherwise I second what dcoviak said.


PLEASE NOTE: When commenting on this blog, you are affirming that any and all statements, and parts thereof, that you post on “The Daily Grind” (the blog) are your own.

The statements expressed on this blog to include the bloggers postings do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Academy of General Dentistry (AGD), nor do they imply endorsement by the AGD.