I don't know if I told you, but my family and I are going out of the country tomorrow. Yeah, my wife's family is in Miami and we are taking a trip there this weekend. Miami is so crazy, I feel like we are not in the same country. There are people everywhere and they all drive crazy, people speak a different language and I don't know my way around. But they all smoke cigars and I am cool with that.
Kind of going along with what we have been talking about, I had a patient come in last week. Good patient. She has been a patient here for about 7 years. Married with a couple of kids. Husband comes here but the kids go to a specialist.
This particular person is a bit money-conscience. What I mean by that is she might say, "Will my insurance pay for that?" Or, in June, "I had a lot done this year and I know I am out of benefits, so I don't want to do that cleaning appointment until next year."
But, you know, she did ortho about 3 years ago. She needed perio surgery a couple years back and I sent her to my periodontist. She decided to go to a specialist, (that I was not that familiar with) on her insurance list. Kind of like that.
She came in and had broken the Facial cusp off of #5. The break went right through the pulp horn. The nerve was just sitting there. We all would do the same thing: this tooth needs a root canal. It needs some sort of build-up depending, on how big the break is, a post and core or just a CorePaste build-up, then a crown. The day she came in I happened to be wide open.
I told her all this could be done that day if she had the time ("Please, please, please have the time.") She made some calls to work and she was in for the long haul. Sa-weet. She asked, "Is this going to be expensive?"
All we talked about was money. Then we got started. Root canal turned out great.
For some reason, the back-fill didn't go all the way down, but the apex looks Tres bon. Things were going great. Move to step II. We did a post and core, and it turns out fine.
Move to step III. Prepped the tooth for an onlay. There was a pretty good chunk of the ling cusp left. I took it down 2mm and did basically a 3/4 crown. Impression came out like money in a bank. Locked on a temp and she was done.
My morning turned out great. Great patient, work was great, made some money (a lot more than if I was doing a couple fillings, which would make my friend happy). Just good all around. I am on cloud nine for the rest of the day.
I called her that afternoon to see how she was doing. I left a message on her voicemail and left all my digits. She sent me a text. "Everything seems fine....I was a little shocked it cost $2300....thanks." There goes cloud nine.
I guess part of my being happy is that my patients are COMPLETELY satisfied. Not kind of satisfied. It's a "value my work, value me" kind of thing. I mean, my root canal fee for a premolar is $825. My post and core is $375 and crowns are $1150. Nothing too crazy, I don't think.
Let's just say my fees are a little higher than yours. So let's lower them. Let's make my premolar root canal is $725, my post and core fee $275 and my crowns an even $1000. It is still going to be $2000. It is still expensive. It is still going to blow her insurance benefit out of the water.
I know. I know you are going to say, "Didn't you discuss prices before you started?"
And that would be a valid question. The short answer is no. I told her what she needed. I told her, "You did a number on your tooth. You are going to need a root canal and a crown."
This is an educated woman. She has plenty of dentistry in her mouth. She knows the cost. So if I had said, "This is going to cost you $2300." What was she going to do? Not do it and have a hole in the front of her mouth?
I am going to talk out loud for a sec. If I need tires on my car, I go to the tire place. I know that tires are expensive. I know if I walk in there and say I need four Bridgestones, it is going to be about $600.
If the guy behind the counter says "Well, they are $150 a piece," what are my choices? Do I get one at a time? Do I get two at a time? No, I suck it up and get tires. I NEED THEM. And doing one or two at a time is just going to make the wear on the tires different and it is not really good for them or the car anyway. Nothing I do is going to make $600 not $600. And if I don't have it? Well, that is what credit cards are for. I pay with a credit card and pay it off slowly. But I am not going to be angry with the tire guy because tires are expensive.
She could have said, "Well, I only want to get the root canal today and I want to do the post and core and crown next year when I have full benefit on my insurance." Then she would have a broken down tooth in her mouth for almost a year. A disaster waiting to happen.
I know most of you deal with this same thing. And probably most of you just blow this off. I kind of do too. I have to blow it off. She is just venting. I think she likes me and kind of values my work. What more can I ask for, right? I don't know. I must have a screw loose somewhere. I can't get over people not being 100% satisfied.
I am going to stop here because it is Friday and I am supposed to keep it short. I would like to know your thoughts. Do you have the same issues? Do you think I did it wrong?
Have a great weekend.