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Why dentists should charge higher?

Most Dentists and Dental Students assume that dental extraction is a relatively easy procedure which takes less time to perform and they need not charge much for extractions because all you need is few milliliters of Local anesthetic, a pair of gloves and some reusable instruments which need to be autoclaved. So, in the fear that their competitor could charge less for the dental extraction and acquire more customers because we all have realized that Nepal, India, and Asia in general, is a price-sensitive economy, dentists prefer to charge less than they actually should have charged for dental extractions. Non - Asian dental patients are price sensitive too because dental treatment is something the general public has envisioned as a costly treatment. But, it is to be noted that Dentists in Asia are actually charging very less for dental extractions as well as other dental treatments and they should charge many times higher for the treatment than they are currently charging. Here are some reasons to justify it.

1. Dental Treatment is a One-to-One Patient Care
You cannot treat three patients at once however easy the procedure is or however flooded with patients your dental clinic is. Each patient has to be given sufficient time and instruments and chair should be set up and customized as per the necessity for every patient. This will take time. So, you can do only a limited number of patients on any given day, you cannot work 18 hours a day!! But does that mean we should charge an outrageous amount to a patient if very few patients come to our clinic? Not actually. They just need to be charged sufficiently so that you would not have to worry a bit about how many patients you can do today.

2. The cost of saving a Tooth
As Miguel de Cervantes said, "Every tooth in a man's head is more valuable than a diamond." The value of the tooth is reflected by the cost needed to remove it from the socket. People don't have to pay for keeping the teeth in their mouth. They know its importance only when they are lost. And when you charge just Rs. 500 (5 USD) to extract a tooth because it's easy and takes no time, you're telling them by your actions that they are not valuable, and more importantly, they are given a choice of sacrificing the tooth for a petty sum of money, instead of preserving it (if restoration or root canal treatment were possible) by paying a bit more money. People insist to have their restorable teeth removed just because they think you are trying to extort their hard earned money. So, the cost of dental extraction should be invariably higher than any restorative treatment efforts.


3. People value expensive goods, luxury cars and overpriced jewelry more than cheaper ones
Let this be understood that, I am not implying that you should fake a high value than you really provide. But, people love expensive things, definitely love them if they do not have to pay for it. There's no reasoning why people fancy 500$ iPhone than 200$ Android smartphone of comparable features, but I do believe the cost is the key determining factor. When people lose their Android smartphones, they say, "I lost my phone", but when they lose iPhone, they say, "I lost my iPhone XS, which cost $XXX and ........"

There are two values of anything in the world, Actual Value and Perceived value. A 200 USD root canal treatment's perceived value is much more than that 200 USD for a patient who hasn't slept since 3 days due to that toothache as compared to someone who has never experienced a toothache. The perceived value of a second-hand scooter is less than its actual value to a person owning a Lamborghini as compared to a college student who can just afford that scooter in order to commute from his residence to college and day-office.

Costly dental treatments make people value the importance of oral hygiene and the practice of preventional strategies rather than curative. They will think twice before biting walnuts, wear helmets before riding bikes and will never use teeth as a bottle opener.


4. Better Patient Care in Less Time
Less crowd in dental office means you can provide the best treatment for the needy patient. A patient who needs an emergency access opening need not wait long hours before meeting the dentist who otherwise would have been performing Scaling of a habitual Pan chewer who visits the dentist every month with the complaints of stained teeth. Overpricing will actually do good to the patients who really need treatment.

5. It is possible to make the charges and quality of treatment uniform
Uniform costs of dental treatment build the confidence of the patients in dentists and dental fraternity. They don't feel overcharged and get quality treatment on every clinic they visit. It is not possible to keep the rates too low and agreeing to keep it uniform, but it is possible when they are charged higher than normal.

6. Financial Strength  gives you More Freedom and supports ethical practice
When you have to worry to make your ends meet, you may want to resort to unethical ways to extort money from the patients. Financial security makes you in a strong position to be ethical in every situation. Labor exploitation of young graduates will be automatically stopped, dentists can unite and work for the upliftment of dentistry.

7. Everyone is in a Win-Win situation
So, due to the above reasons, when Dentists charge higher than what they currently charging, people will have good oral hygiene and less dental diseases. They will get good treatment without having to wait very long. They will try to save every tooth up till the situation that it can no longer be saved. Dentists will not be overloaded with work and can serve the patients better. If they can manage to earn sufficient to make a living comfortably working fewer hours they can conduct research and academic works if they wish for.

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