Dental procedures / Dental treatments
Fees and Prices - Dental cost estimates.
Here's a listing of the various cost estimate ranges for dental procedures we provide on the pages of Animated-Teeth.com.
Then, lower on this page, we discuss how we came up with these price estimates and why fees among any group of dentists in a particular area may vary, even somewhat significantly. We also discuss how to make sure you get an accurate comparison when evaluating the fees of different offices.
In most cases, the pages linked to from here also include a description of the classifications, options or choices that are associated with that particular treatment or procedure, and how they will affect your overall costs.
How we calculate our price range estimates for dental procedures.
We have developed our own methodology for calculating the dental procedure cost estimates we show on Animated-Teeth.com. We start off by collecting fee data for our own general geographical region. We do so because our local contacts allow us to collect information from a wider, yet very on-target, range of sources, including dentists, information accumulated from dealing with dental plans and insurance companies, patient reports and the web. The second step in creating our fee estimates involves extrapolating our regional data into a national range. This transformation relies heavily of our (weighted) interpretation of ACCRA's 'Cost of Living Index' values for cities across the USA.
About the cost ranges that we present on the pages of Animated-Teeth.com.
We feel that the lower number of our stated range can be considered to be representative of the average fee charged by dentists located in a small rural town or city (whose ACCRA 'Cost of Living Index' is approximately 85). We feel that the top end of our fee range is representative of the average price charged in a large metropolitan area on either coast (whose ACCRA 'Cost of Living Index' is around 125).
Why do my dentist's fees seem out of line with your dental cost estimates?
A big difficulty with estimating dental fees is that within any immediate geographical area (even one smaller than the geographic region associated with a zip code) the fees charged by dentists can vary significantly, often by as much as 30%. We'll also plead the case that there may be modifying factors associated with your geographical of which we could never be aware of and factor into our cost estimates.
What factors does a dentist use when creating their fee schedule?
The wide discrepancy in prices charged by dentists in any one local area has to do with those factors that the dentist has chosen to give importance to when creating their fee schedule. For example, clearly the dentist's cost of operation must be considered. This includes items such as office space costs, equipment costs and the number of office employees and their comparative salaries.
For some procedures (crowns, bridges, veneers, etc...), the fabrication costs (lab costs) that the dentist must pay might explain a part of the reason why their fees are different than their neighboring dentists. There are also many less tangible factors to be considered. What type of patient base is the dentist trying to cultivate? What is the level of the dentist's professional expertise? Even things like the dentist's degree of self-esteem (at least subconsciously) will play a role in the fees they set.
How can you accurately compare dental costs between dentist offices?
It can be difficult for a person to get a grasp of the comparative fees of different dental offices. For example, when comparing the cost of dental crowns it must first be established precisely what type of crown is being referred to. A crown might be gold, porcelain-fused-to-base-metal or all-ceramic. The fees for each of these types of crowns typically vary substantially. If you don't know which one you are receiving fee information about, you will end making apples-to-oranges comparisons.
Dental procedure codes.
The solution to this procedure identification dilemma rests with what is referred to as the "dental procedure codes" list. For ease and uniformity in processing dental claims, the American Dental Association has developed a list composed of specific code numbers for every dental procedure. These procedure codes take the form of the letter "D" followed by four numbers. (The numbers being the salient identifier for a procedure, to the point that when speaking about codes the letter is often omitted.)
There was a time when, for our reader's benefit and understanding, our pages made reference (with proper attribution to the source, the ADA) to around a dozen dental procedure codes (out of the literally hundreds that exist). However, due to a communication from the ADA's legal department, we have since opted to remove them.
Of course you don't really need to know a procedure's code before inquiring about it. But once specific pricing information has been received, make sure you ask for code it applies. (If you receive a printed estimate from a dentist's office, the code number is often shown on it.)