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3 Ways to Know If It’s Time to Update Your Dental Fees

June 29, 2021

How to Succeed as a Private Dentist? Start by Charging the Right Dental Fees.

Dentists choose their profession with a sincere desire to render patient care. But is it enough to stay competitive business-wise?

Running a successful dental practice is a two-pronged strategy. Providing excellent dental care is the priority. At the same time, you must know how to ensure profitability. Unfortunately, not all private dentists are adept at the business side of the practice.

In an episode of the Dental Market Secrets Podcast, KJ Jordan, practice solutions business developer for Benco Dental, shared some practical tips to help dentists navigate the subject.


Things to Do Before Setting Up Dental Charges

Consult someone who can help you understand the market

Many practitioners focused solely on caring for their patients. They may update their fees every year by a certain percentage but are unsure if they keep up with the market’s pace.

Based on a survey conducted by ADA, general dentists in private practice made an average net income of $204,710 in 2019, while specialists made $343,410. If you are far behind these numbers, it’s time to consider updating your fees.

While you deserve to ask for a fee corresponding with your skills and years in practice, the last thing you want to do is inflate your prices to the disadvantage of your patients. This part is where you seek help from third-party experts who could show you the considerations and the appropriate way to negotiate.

Consulting a third-party industry expert who can help you dive into your area’s demographics is an excellent direction to take. These experts can give you the data you need to make an informed decision. Additionally, they can assist you in renegotiating Preferred Provider Organization (PPO) reimbursements.

Take all overhead and operating expenses into account

As a private dentist, your main challenge business-wise is how to balance out your operational expenses. With the prices of materials, technology, and other requirements of running a dental clinic surging constantly, it is crucial to update your fees at least once a year. If you get too far behind, it will be hard to make up for what you lost. You determine the percentage of acceptable increase based on what you presently asked from your patients.

When setting up fees for procedures, consider all the investments you put in, including:

  • The costs of labor – from dental hygienist to receptionists
  • The global prices of masks, gloves, and other dental supplies.
  • The cost of rent, utilities, and maintenance.
  • The money you invested in marketing, such as fees for running SEO and social media campaigns.
  • The amount you spend for a third-party business to renegotiate PPO dental reimbursements.


Review Your PPO Contract

Understanding your PPO contract stipulation is necessary when planning to augment your dental fees. If you are considering renegotiating PPO reimbursements, you have to equip yourself with the correct information.

Most states have legislation that prohibits insurance providers from dictating dental fee reimbursements. Read your contract well, as fine prints may contain contract limitations. It is also essential to be aware of the latest ADA codes, which are updated every year.

Additionally, you may consider tapping a PPO negotiation and optimization company for help. But if you or someone within your practice can manage to take time off dental work, be sure to have everything you need to know to get leverage on the negotiation process.


“Why should I update my fees if PPOs decide what I will be reimbursed?”

This scenario will give you a better perspective:

Let’s say you have a patient who has an extensive treatment plan and needs to undergo 15 dental sessions. In this scenario, your patient’s insurance is likely going to max out, leaving you with an out-of-pocket patient. If you follow the fair market value, you can offer a discount and still be profitable. You get to help your patient while still charging what’s standard in the market.

The Bottom Line

The practice of dentistry is  constantly evolving. You have to acclimatize to remain profitable and continue serving your patients. If you are still unsure if you should raise your dental fees, it might be helpful to ponder on these questions:

“Will the fees I am charging allow me to get to where I want to be? Will these allow me to grow my practice, serve more patients, and leave a greater impact in my career?”




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