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Are dentists overcharging?

How much does your practice charge for its services? Chances are you have a good knowledge of your prices. But do your patients? If they are not clear how much a particular treatment will set them back, they could be in for a nasty surprise once it is over and they get the bill!

This has been highlighted recently by consumer rights group Which? in a survey of 1,000 people. The organisation found that one in five people believed they had been overcharged for their dental care, while half did not see a price list displayed for the treatments on offer.

This is obviously an issue, as it will severely affect how people view your practice. If you charge patients more than they are expecting for a treatment then it can be good for your revenue, but will not help your practice in the long term.

Part of running a successful dental practice is internal marketing. This simply means encouraging patients to recommend you to others, which is easier said than done but can be hugely effective. However, your marketing is not going to work if patients lose trust in you due to being overcharged, or simply not knowing how much anything costs.

Commenting on the Which? report, Denplan’s deputy chief dental officer Henry Clover said: “Denplan strongly believes in providing patients with clear information regarding their treatment and any associated costs, and encourages all member dental practices to build in-depth discussions into each appointment.”

Denplan commissioned its own survey – conducted by YouGov – last year and found that 92 per cent of patients see clear explanation of treatments and procedures as important. This highlights the effect a lack of transparency can have on how patients view your dental practice.

“We hope that this Which? report reminds practices, whether they provide NHS care, private care, or dental payment plans, to provide patients with comprehensive information on treatment choices, costs and payment options as an integral part of patient-centred care,” Mr Clover added.

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