Q: I recently chose a dental office for my complex dental needs. My plan gave me a list of providers. I visited three offices and found all of them to be awful. What do you suggest?
A: If insurance paid for haircuts and coloring, would you pick a stylist from a list of “participating providers”? Heck no, unless you want to look like the lead singer from the 90’s band Flock of Seagulls.
You can get away with picking from a list of doctors for your medical doctors since most take many plans and you don’t have a yearly maximum dollar amount of benefits to worry you. Dentistry is a whole different bag of mangos.
Most plans max out at $1000 per year, which fixes half a tooth and buys a Frappuccino. Therefore, you are not going to save a whole lot of money anyway buy going in-network for dentists.
Here is what patients have told me when they go to an In-Network or DMO (HMO) Dental office just because they found their names on a list (These are direct quotes from actual patients):
- High volume like a factory with poor customer service
- Each day has a different doctor
- Specialists sometimes come in on one day per week or one day per month. Good luck if you have a complication! You have to wait until his next day at that location.
- Takes forever to get in for a cleaning.
- Hygienist only took 15 minutes for a cleaning and did not do a thorough job.
- Out of pocket fees were heavy and not explained well
- Less experienced doctors
- Poor follow up care and no post op calls after hours
- Cleanliness issues
- Lack of Google reviews for the doctors because the office is owned by a franchise company with an out of state headquarters.
- Extremely transitory doctors and staff. Come back a month later and you won’t recognize anyone.
- Equipment seemed dated.
Our next FREE seminar to the public will focus on how to evaluate a dental office to see if it is right for you and your family. To get started in your search, check google reviews and take a tour of a few offices. Don’t just go by a list of docs.
Dr. Mitchell Josephs practices Implant, Cosmetic and General Dentistry with an emphasis on implants, porcelain veneers, and complex crown and bridge treatment. He is on staff at JFK Medical Center and is a Faculty Advisory Board member at McGill University’s Faculty of Dentistry. He completed his residency at Manhattan’s Beth Israel Medical Center and Mt. Sinai Hospital.