In an online public place, a prospective patient who never actually met us in person railed at us for being expensive. This particular raillery was in response to a phone conversation only, no other interaction. The person's main point was in regards to dental implant crowns, and the crux of it was stated:
"Other Dentists START at $499!"
I've re-posted my response here, as this assertion is a superb springboard for a discussion of what I've come to think of as the spectrum that runs from "commodity" to "bespoke."
With every consumer decision we make, we ask the question: "Do I want a commodity or do I want something bespoke?"
If a person wants a $499 crown, made at a foreign lab with unspecified materials, from an impression made with alginate not a precision material, then that is a decision to purchase a commodity. We all do this in many areas of our commercial lives (who would purchase bespoke paper towels??). There are risks, however, when making health care decisions that are skewed towards the commodity side of things. With dental crowns? Recurrent cavities, porcelain fractures and increased risk of root canal complications are all possible sequelae of poor fit and fabrication.
Our fees are what they are because we made a decision long ago to diagnose with great care, provide the finest treatment, and, along the way--listen! In a world of Big Data and corporate seeking after profit at any cost, the act of actually listening to a patient has become almost an act of reverence.
It does cost more to diagnose and treat our patients with high technology (like our Operating Microscopes through which we do our treatment, and our use of the finest dental adhesive materials made, and the excellent dental laboratory we work with). Listening to patients is technically 'free' but I suppose there is a cost somewhere because there are only so many hours in a day, and we constantly have to decide where to direct our time. But what could be more important than listening? Even arriving at the correct diagnosis depends on that.
So, xxxxx, if ever you are unhappy with a lowest-bid, commoditized dental treatment decision, I hope you will return to us or seek care at one of our many conscientious dental colleagues who see the word "finest" as one of the most important words in the English language.