What We Charge and Why?
When trying to determine value for your money it is often difficult for you, the owner, to know what value you are getting for a dentistry procedure. This article will hopefully help you to make a more informed decision. In business, the ultimate goal is to provide the following: 1) a quality product; 2) high quality customer service; and 3) low prices. Research shows that in the service industries it is only possible to provide two out of these three. Customer service is actually the most expensive of the three to deliver. Well trained employees who provide top quality service cost more money to employ. The necessary state of the art equipment which gives accurate diagnosis is very expensive. Typically these are used by specialists and not general practitioners. Because the public has no way of knowing why the prices vary, they often lean toward the less expensive rather than the higher quality. ADOS is not a “cookie cutter” practice. Each patient must be approached and treated as an individual with unique needs. We would like to “draw back the curtain” to help you understand what you are paying for when you have a dentistry procedure done at Animal Dentistry & Oral Surgery (ADOS), and how pleased both you and your pet will be with the quality of care.
How Does ADOS Handle Fees and Cost Estimates:
At ADOS, our recommendations for patient assessment and treatment are based upon what we feel is in the best health and safety interest of the patient. Our prices are based upon the multiple factors associated with doing business in Virginia and in this region of the state. We are not focused on what one client or the other interprets as being too expensive or not. What each pet owner can or cannot afford is a decision that they must make, based upon their individual circumstances, for themselves. Just to save money, the pet owner cannot legally sign-away or “release” the specialist from liabilities when the specialist knows better.
It is our policy not to provide estimates over the phone. This is because it is impossible for us to have a full appreciation of a patient’s total situation until we have personally evaluated the patient’s history and examined the patient. It is the same as your own physician and dentist. They will not (cannot) make a diagnosis, treatment plan and provide estimates over the telephone. Even if you have been told by your veterinarian “exactly what is wrong”, ADOS is a separate professional business entity and the specialist may need to account for other unforeseen parameters that factor into costs including how long a procedure might take.
During the focused “conscious oral exam” (performed as part of a consultation) it is possible that more disease than was previously known may be noted in your pet’s mouth, thus changing what needs to be done. The estimate that we will give you at that time is a range, as even after a focused oral exam we cannot fully evaluate the entire tooth in the awake patient. For this very reason we cannot give an estimate of the number of teeth that will require treatment beyond ultrasonic scaling and polishing. We often will note areas of concern during the oral exam and always discuss the possibility of extraction of diseased teeth, or if other dentistry procedures such as a root canal therapy are appropriate. Periodontal assessment and intraoral radiographs performed under general anesthesia are required to determine the full extent of disease and often indicate important pathology that was not known to be present at the time of the conscious oral exam. Our goal is to provide an estimate of costs that would cover the time involved with a dental procedure for your pet, but on occasion we underestimate the extent of the disease and we may have to exceed the original estimate that you are given. We make every effort during a procedure to phone you to let you know the level of disease present, if it is more extensive than we had initially suspected and discussed, and if the estimate will be exceeded. We will not proceed with any treatment unless it has been preauthorized. These are some of the reasons why it is important that you provide us with accurate contact information and that we can reach you during the day at the phone number you have provided.
Our estimate will include ranges for anesthesia time, anesthetic drugs and other medications (under anesthesia to aid in the maintenance of normal patient parameters), intravenous catheter placement, intravenous fluids, intraoral radiographs, local analgesia (nerve blocks, if necessary), ultrasonic scaling and polishing, advanced periodontal therapies (if necessary), extraction of teeth (if necessary), surgical and suture materials, and patient monitoring and care before, during and after the dentistry procedure. We do our best to give you an estimate of all of the costs associated with additional medications that might be required during anesthesia. Your pet could require a constant rate infusion of an injectable anesthetic drug in addition to the gas anesthetic to ensure an appropriate level of anesthesia or medications to help maintain a normal heart rate or blood pressure during the procedure. We would only administer additional medication if deemed necessary for the safety and comfort of your pet under general anesthesia. If required, fees for professional services or emergency/critical care or other specialty practice within TLC are not included in the ADOS estimate. We can obtain an estimate of the fees for these other practices in advance for you, however, please understand we are separate businesses and that these fees are separate from ours and will need to be paid to the other practice/service directly.