Orthodontist general quesiton - Mothering Forums

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Old 04-12-2005, 12:10 AM - Thread Starter
 
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My son is 6 and started orthodontic work today. I found it very strange that I must pay them roughly $7000 in a 36 month period that will include services through the teen years of braces. So we're talking about them receiving payment for services not rendered and services that will not be rendered for another 6 to 8 years.

My questions are:

Is this a common practice?

What security do I have that they will still be in business in 8 years?

What happens to my money if the doctor dies or goes bankrupt?

Anyone else have these concerns?

If this is not a common practice, what was the method of service and payment?

Thanks....
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Old 04-12-2005, 03:57 PM
 
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If I were you, I'd get 3 or 4 more opinions on this. I was told the same thing by one ortho and another told me to wait til she was a teen before doing anything like this. Seriously, get a minimum of 3 or 4 opinions before making any decision.
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Old 04-12-2005, 04:41 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Our Family Dentist has stated the need for treatment and I had already know there was a need. My ds1 can not bite into a sandwich, his jaw is so out of alignment, his teeth simply do not meet to bite into anything and he has been this way since he was a tike. My dh use to get mad at him for not biting into something and I was frustrated as well. Then one day I realized what was going on and started researching then what could be done and when. I've been waiting 3 years for treatment to start.
Since he started going to schools his teachers have noted to me on many occassions that he has trouble speaking, I knew what it was from and was ignorant b/c I didn't think speech therapy would help. So, we start speech therapy now. So the issue of treatment is settled and I feel quite comfortable with that decision, it really must be done for the development of his speech and permanent teeth.

I have been on the phone today with other orthodontist about the payment issue, some do allow for phase by phase payment. I called the office back that we went to yesterday and asked if that was a possibility b/c I was really uncomfortable paying for services that were so far in the future. They said yes, but it will cost more that way.

Costing more in the long run verses the risk of losing thousands of dollars...

I have also e-mail the state's board of dentistry to see what they have to say about pay now for services later. To me as an accountant and financial anaylist, it is a recipe for disaster having new patients cover rising cost of older patients treatment. They know the cost in 6 yrs will be higher, how else can they give you a full package price without taking a gamble that they will have new patients. It's like Social Security, today's workers pay for retirees.

I'd much prefer to pay for services rendered at the time of treatment, than paying up front for things they don't know yet how exactly they will treat them.
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Old 04-12-2005, 05:02 PM
 
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I assume there's a contract involved...I'd expect that there would be provisions in there for all of your concerns. Also, what happens if you leave that practice for whatever reason? What if you move away or the dentist moves his practice?

I think all your concerns are valid. Also, if your insurance covers any of this work, you might want to check with them and see if they'd approve payment for services not yet delivered--I'd bet they won't.

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Old 04-12-2005, 05:19 PM
 
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I think it is fairly common to pay an orthodontist for a treatment plan up front. I am surprised though that your son's treatment wasn't broken up into phases. My dughter had a jaw alignment problem, when we started treatment at age 7 they told us she would need a phase of work right away (an expander and a short period of braces), and then more work when she is a teen (braces, headgear, etc.). We paid for the first phase (about $3500) before that was done, and we'll go in at about age 13 for another consultation.
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Old 04-12-2005, 05:19 PM
 
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When I had braces my parents paid up front but it was for 3 years worth of services, not 8! (If you give the doctor money and he goes bankrupt, kiss your money goodbye. If he's bankrupt, he doesn't have the money to pay back all his patients, and you don't have any collateral from him, so that's the end of that.)

Single mom of 2 boys
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Old 04-12-2005, 06:10 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Well, yes he has the 2 phases of treatment and it is disturbing that they want payment for both in the first 3 years. I called and like I stated above, I can do two separate contracts, "but it will cost more".

As for the insurance, I did call them today. I've been on the phone and computer all day. The insurance company has no regulation on how this office bills b/c they are out-of-network, but the benefits are the same for in-network verses out-of-net work. The only benefit of in-network is that those doctor have agreed to charge the insurance acceptable rates for treatment. An in-network doctor might therefore be a bit cheaper, but my drive at least 80 miles round trip plus time out of school -- isn't worth it.

I did check this dentist out on the Board of Dentistry website, he's been licensed in this state since 1977 and when to school in this state. And he doesn't have any commplaints filed with him. He is well established in the community, so he isn't likely to leave town or state. I really do question the finacial business practices though.

The complaint issue isn't really a good tool to go by, since our family dentist who I think is fabulous and trust has 2 counts of someone displeased enough to go to the board of dentistry with a complaint. And my former gyn had a lawsuit filed against him and I would trust him for a gyn matter more than any other gyn in town.

The contract is very lengthy on my obligation to pay, like appliances will not be removed until account is cleared. There is one pharagraph that states if treatment is stopped, payment is due for services rendered plus a records fee if you move from the area all other. Transfers or stopping of treatment will cost $100 plus services rendered if for a reason other than moving. And I love the last sentence "Dr. blank, reserves the right to discontiue treatment at his discretions, then treatment fee will revert to the amount of treatment rendered." Yeah, I was already terminated by my OB, didn't know that could happen!

There is no word anywhere about there obligation to follow through with their contract, to remain in business, that Blank will take over patients under contract if Blank is unable to continue treating patients etc.

It is a contract to cover them, not the consumer. I, the consumer, feel very vunerable putting out $7000 in 3 years for treatment that consist of phase 1 approximately 3 years and phase 2 to begin at around age 12 to 14 (which isn't for another 6 to 8 years).

Considering all that I have read today and all whom I have talked to it does not appear that orthodontist just close the doors (doesn't mean it won't or can't happen). This doctor is the president of the Southern Orthodontist Association a chapter of the American Orthodontics Association, he isn't likely to tarnish himself with bad business practices.

Since I called I have the option to do a contract for just phase 1. I don't know what I'm going to do at this moment (it isn't the money, we can manage either way). They are saying that the 1st phase is $5340, which would mean they only plan $2180 for braces. That seems a bit off...

Since I lost over $800 on a 2 yr gym membership plus childcare a year and a half ago, I'm very leary about long term contracts requiring payment for services not yet rendered. I thought I was getting a great deal, I had the money so why not make the committment. This gym had been in the area for over 2 decades and had a good reputation, no one knew they had filed bankruptcy 2 years prior to them shutting their doors leaving members and employees baffled. It took me all day that day to determine when they filed bankruptcy. But I also realized I had no way of knowing b/c it isn't common to search hours in the bankruptcy court docets looking for a company until you find it. What a headache I had... pregant to boot!

I probably worry to much since I've been stiffed. I realized that not even
established businesses are safe from financial woos and I refuse to put myself out there to be a victim again.

I have a really bad sinus headache, I thought allergies had hit me, now I'm not so sure it might not be a cold or both. My dh went out of town for 3 days and I need to get the 3 children out of the house to go into a store to buy tissues for my poor nose!!! And I haven't done a stitch of housework all day...
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Old 04-20-2005, 11:38 AM
 
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One of my boys just got his appliance off. We only did a phase 1 agreement which included his X-rays, photos, study models, appliance & appointments which were about every 4-6 weeks for 10 months. It was $1700. No way would I pay in advance for phase 2 like that.
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Old 04-20-2005, 11:49 AM
 
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I would feel unomfortable with it too. my daughter is in braces and we have it on a two year plan, I believe it's around $2500 broken up over the next two years...

Sahm mom to three lovely girls, and happily married to a great, sweet guy
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Old 04-20-2005, 01:41 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I am taking my ds1 for a second opinion from a pediatric dentist who does orthodontic work on Tuesday. In order to do this without having to make first pmt and continue with the treatment, I am "rescheduling" his appt with the orthodontist that would be on Mon.

The other major practice in our town does not have an appt until June...

I was a little put off by a comment the orthodontist made to her tech while looking over my son's pictures. He said that if my son couldn't be still they couldn't treat him, it was his tone -- my son is about 48 lbs and they put a full front and back lead cover on him for the pictures and told him to stand still! I felt very uncomfortable from that moment on and almost walked out -- maybe I should have. I did say, "since this needs to be done, there is no choice in the matter, but since you are not open on Fridays when my husband can bring him, maybe we should stop now and I'll find another orthodontist who can see him on Fridays." Funny they didn't say anything to that. The more I think on it, the more I know I don't want to continue with this practice.

I don't know why I waited until yesterday to start calling around again.
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Old 04-20-2005, 05:15 PM
 
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Trust your gut instinct on this one!

Sahm mom to three lovely girls, and happily married to a great, sweet guy
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Old 04-26-2005, 05:11 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I went to see our family dentist Friday for myself and mentioned to him my reservations about the orthodontist I had choosen. He told me that sounded very off for him and to at least go to our next appt open minded that maybe the man was having a bad day. So, I did take my son to the orthodontist yesterday and the man was great, smiling, happy, really into my children -- I thought two things either my dentist called him or he was just having an off day. I felt much better after yesterday. And my ds1 was fantastic with all the things they had to do.

I still kept the second opinion appt I made with a pediatric dentist/ orthodontist for today. I was wondering why, but I kept telling myself, if I don't get a second opinion, I'll wonder the entire time he's in treatment. I got a lot of questions answered and know where I can go if the orthodontist gets too aggressive for my liking without due cause.

I signed a revised contract with the orthodontist for only phase 1 of treatment which will be for the next 3 years (RPE, tongue crib, and herbst). The pediatric dentist would have been more likely to do a pay as you go type plan, but for the moment with the RPE being made I really do need to finish that with the orthodontist and then make my decision to continue with him or not.

(And in case anyone is wondering why I went to my dentist, I have some sensitivity that I shouldn't have and it looks like I need my wisdom tooth pulled, top right and of course while he is at, he want to pull them all. Boy I'm undecided on that one)
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Old 05-01-2005, 12:27 AM
 
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I can find out, but is this the only option you have?

"The great enemy of the truth is very often not the lie, deliberate, contrived and dishonest, but the myth, persistent, persuasive and unrealistic."
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Old 05-01-2005, 01:33 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by applejuice
I can find out, but is this the only option you have?
For me or my son?

For me, I honestly do not think the tooth can be repaired effectively, so pulling it is the long term solution. Pulling the others, well... My bottom teeth are crowded and being rid of the lower widom teeth would likely resolve that over over time. The top right and bottom left wisdom are the only "bad" teeth I have...

My son, yes, I believe his treatment option is the only option to correct his inability to eat like a normal person.
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Old 05-12-2005, 12:21 PM
 
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Hello, yes this is this a common practice here in South Africa (except the payement are split evenly over the period, debit order thus reducing our conserns). Our daufgter who is now 14 years old is in her second phase of her treatment with braces and headgear. She started her first phase when she was 8 years old and continued through almost withont a break into her second phase which started 6 months ago for another +- 30 months. This makes it easier to handel as its a fixed, small amount each month...

Thanks
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Old 06-18-2005, 04:58 PM
 
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Hmmm this is a good question and I wish you the best of luck. It does seem to be a long period of treatment to ask for total payment up front. I currently (in my 30's) have just gotten braces and my orthodontist also asked for all of the payment up front. I will be 2 years with appliances and 2 years after for upkeep. I never thought of it like you are (and probably should have) BUT he did break the $5500 into 24 equal payments.

I guess at the same time it comes down to trust. My dentist refered me to my orthodontist. They were best friends in dentist school and still go golfing and for lunch all the time. I have on many occasions seen the other in each others office, so I knew I was in good hands.

I do hope everything works out well for you!! I know how I would feel if i paid all that money then something happened to the Dr. I would not be pleased!!! :
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Old 06-19-2005, 05:55 AM
 
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this is not a reply about the peyment stuff, i don't know about that, but it is a reply about the staying still comment

when i had braces, the head orthodontist would yell at people, kids there and at least once at an assistent she was crying soo hard, he retired after my first year of going there and i was sooooo glad he left! i wouldn't pay up front for years of work untill i was certain the orthodontist was going to be treated my kid with respect and care, it was really horble the way that man treated people, and everyone who worked there was soooo happy when he retired!

mama to two amazing children son 10/27/07 and daughter 07/07/11

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