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Letter from a Dentist


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A few years ago I wrote an article called, "Diagnostics Fee or Diagnostics Free" (an article about charging for diagnostics - here's the link to the article (http://www.gonzostoo...icFee-Free.html)

Yesterday I got this email from a dentist. I'd like your opinion on it. I know what I think...but what do you think?


Dr. Gonzo,

I read through your 'two cents' on engine diagnostics and I could not agree more. However, I do have a bone to pick. Charging for a diagnostic is fine but where do you draw the line? I am a general dentist. For a new patient I charge $39 for an exam (cleanings from a hygienist are $60). I take roughly 25 minutes to complete an exam on a patient. Some patients take longer as they have a more difficult case and sometimes they just have more questions. I have spent 9 years in college, at a cost of over 200k, and roughly 600K on my practice (I have lots of fancy equipment too, even more expensive than the 'diagnostic computer') AND I am dealing with the actual health and wellbeing of mankind (screenings for head neck cancer, dental caries, oral path., etc., etc.)

If I used your kind of math I guess I should charge more in the neighborhood of $500 for an exam (my education alone was probably more than 20 times yours so the math is still WAY low). But I don't charge that much. A true professional would realize when a charge is ridiculous and when it is not. A diagnostic charge from a mechanic should be in the neighborhood of $20. If you are charging in the near $100 range I would consider removing the self titled "professional" from your website. Which I found funny that you brought it up anyway.Your computer is a one time purchase. You don't throw it away when you are done so quit trying to factor in the computer cost like it is a consumable. A mechanic's pay at best is $35 an hour. A $20 diagnostic over 5 minutes is more than enough for that and even overhead.

Actually, you just gave me an idea. I am going to tell my patients I now have a "parts, labor, and supplies" fee. That would be great. Imagine the next time you come into my office and I say that my labor fee is over $500 an hour. My patients would leave. I can't believe a mechanic thinks charging $100 an hour for labor is reasonable when everything else is also marked up 300% PLUS!!!! ... it is laughable. Anyway, I agree....but lets get realistic.



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Not a good comparison. We solve YOUR transportation operational safety, comfort,security,reliablity problems and logistics of getting the public back on wheels. One should be able to earn premium money for their craft. People will always pay more for someone to take of ALL THE CAR'S problem'S not just the front grill.



That being said I grew up where the men and women in the family could fix alot of their own stuff or had neighbor's that would help. B) .B) .

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Sounds like a very bitter dentist..


We have every right to charge for a professional service, the rate and basis of the charge is up to you. I charge for diagnosis when the diagnosis requires our scan tools, a smoke machine, ohm meter, etc... that charge is usually $45 (1/2 hour labor)

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  • 7 months later...

there is a major flaw in his argument, a diagnosis on a car can take anywhere from 5 minutes to days on a really bad problem, the 39 dollar exam he is talking about is a couple of x-rays and a quick look at them. The amount of time spent is roughly the same for each one and I am sure he more than makes up the cost when the does whatever work is needed. Plus he is not taking into account the other expensive tools and equipment a auto shop and it's techs needs to do their jobs.


A very ill informed elitist opinion, LOL the health and well being of mankind... Really? wow only a little full of himself. Your not a open heart surgeon buddy your a dentist.

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That "dentist" is a moron at best. First, I've never seen a $39 exam in my life and a cleaning for $60??? Who's this clown think he's kidding? So does he believe that we are all so math challenged to believe that he charges peanuts and is able to pay his people all 65k/year? Hmmm, really doesn't add up to me.


I am a former boxer and I just purchased Invisiline braces which cost me 5200 outta my pocket... A year ago I had my teeth whitened for my wedding and it was like $1500 for a couple tubes and a mold that took 15 minutes...


I'd love to meet this clown and have a real intellectual conversation.

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