Are Patients At Your Dental Practice Fee Sensitive?

Guest Post from Richard H. Madow, DDS

We all know how to evaluate our patients for sensitivity to cold, heat, and biting pressure. But how about fee sensitivity? Do our dental patients really care what we dental practice fees, and is it truly the price that gets them to say “yes” or “no” to recommended treatment?

Recently we have received a lot of questions about fee sensitivity. Dentists are worried that patients will leave them for a cheaper dentist down the street. Patients are trying to cut deals. And folks seem to be worried that a “no-show” may have been because their dental practice fees were perceived as “too high.”

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A few years back there was a famous study done by an MBA candidate at Loyola University in beautiful Baltimore (home of The Madow Center for Dental Practice Success). In the study, she developed a high-end refrigerator, then pitched it to a computer-simulated group of consumers using various price points.

The consumers seemed a little leery of a rock bottom price. They “purchased” a decent amount at a price that seemed above average. But the price that did the best was the highest – a $10,000 refrigerator! And of course, the profits were sky high!

Now I’m certainly not suggesting that you price your crowns at $10,000. However, you don’t want to get involved in a race to the bottom of the fee pool either—unless you want to compete with Walmart and the worst DSO in town.

The thing is, whether your crowns are $1200, $1500, or $1800, most patients will think they are too expensive and that you are a “rich dentist.” So what should you do? Provide an incredible patient experience and do a fantastic crown. That way, even though the patient’s perception may be that your fees are a bit high (that’s a tough one to fight), they will feel they got a great value. Then everyone is happy!

Of course, it is essential to have the right payment options available so even a fee that may sound out of reach at first becomes affordable. Third-party financing is a great option to include, and that is a must to have in your patient payment arsenal. But you’ll get to keep more of what you produce if the patient uses a credit card. And as long as we’re talking about credit cards and office financials, credit card processing is a great area where you can save some money.

At The Madow Center, we have saved thousands by using Stax for our credit card processing and have recommended it to all of our dental clients. Why? They don’t charge an “overage percentage” – just a low flat monthly fee. Every month you know exactly what you’ll be paying for your processing, and it will be lower than what you are paying right now! This is absolutely one of the easiest ways to save money and lower your dental practice overhead! To find out more, just go to

So remember – your patients might not be as fee-sensitive as you think. After all, millions of people just bought a brand new iPhone 12 (including me!). How many of them need an iPhone 12? Not a single one. How many WANT one? Every one of them. And Apple did an incredible job of selling the features, not the price.

No matter what fee you are charging, you can lead a patient to water, but you can’t make them drink. You gotta make them thirsty!

Richard H. Madow, DDS
The Madow Center for Dental Practice Success

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For over thirty years, Dr. Richard Madow and Dr. David Madow, co-founders of The Madow Center for Dental Practice Success, have been helping dentists achieve practice success, increase their revenue, and enjoy dentistry more! To learn more, visit