One thing I often hear is that most dentists would like to have the constraints and limitations they face with insurance to vanish. I also hear the same from many patients.

The solution to this may be simpler than we realize.

A few years back my wife was having extreme abdominal pain and we decided to see a gastroenterologist.

We were told she needed an upper GI endoscopy and that if our insurance would allow it, he could do it that day in his office; however, if our insurance would not allow it, we would have to wait until we could have it done at the hospital.

Sure enough our insurance would not allow it to be done in the office. Knowing my wife was in severe pain, I asked how much it would cost for us to pay on our own without insurance. He told us, “You don't want to know.”

This was actually his answer. The doctor literally would not even give us the option to pay for it on our own. Turns out it would have cost around $700. Given the amount of pain my wife was in, this was a price we would have gladly paid – if we had been given the choice.

This doctor saw insurance as the problem when in fact, he was standing in the way of treatment. How many options had not been discussed with patients because their insurance did not allow them? How many of these patients would have chosen a treatment option they were never even give the chance to say yes to?

Now for an even more important question: How many times have you been in the way?

Remember, our patients choose what treatment they receive. Our job is to help them understand what's going on and how we can help them achieve their goals.

John R. Carson, DDS, PC, Spear Visiting Faculty. [ ]