Steven J Anderson: What’s Your Guarantee?

Steven J. Anderson has presented at every major North American dental meeting, is the author of 5 books and over 100 articles for dental publications.  He is the founder of the Crown Council, the Smiles for Life Foundation, the Total Patient Service Institute, and Dental Warranty.

The following is an update to a 2011 blog post Steve wrote about Dental Warranty.  Enter Steve... 

Steven J. Anderson:  Dr. Matthew Messina, a spokesperson for the ADA, was once quoted on CBS Money Watch giving suggestions to patients who are  "shopping around" for dental work (good luck with that one by the way, but that is a whole other topic...)

Suggestion number 6 in the article: “Is the work guaranteed? Messina says five to seven years is typical for a crown. Will your dentist stand behind his or her work for that time?”

Typical? Really...? So as a dental practice, what is your “guarantee?”  Do you guarantee your crowns for five to seven years?  I would like to see the survey on that!  It is an interesting claim coming from a spokesperson from the ADA.

Here are some facts:

If you are going to “guarantee” anything, you better be very, very clear and you better have it in writing.  Any legitimate guarantee has provisions that validate or invalidate the guarantee.  For example, would you guarantee your crown for 7 years if the patient came in and never came back to see you or any other dentist for 5 years and then showed up wanting you to replace it because there was some type of problem?  That would be the equivalent to your car manufacturer saying that they would guarantee everything in your car for 7 years, even if you never changed the oil or did routine maintenance.

I get nervous when any dentist starts flippantly throwing the word guarantee or warranty around. It carries with it a heavy responsibility and liability if you don’t know what you are doing.

For example, a practice in one of the largest cities in the country widely advertised, in print, a “lifetime guarantee” on all of their work. They did this for years. Now imagine when they try to sell the practice. They have created what is called a “contingent liability” meaning that the buyer is assuming the liability for all of the potential repairs, remakes, and redos that may come back to the practice in the future.  It could amount to thousands and thousands of dollars of work for which the purchasing doctor would be responsible.  That fact alone will make the practice virtually unsellable.  It is bad practice and bad business.

When I ask most dentists if they “guarantee” their work, there is usually a pause and I get a weak answer like, “”Well, yes. We stand behind our work.”  But when the questions get more specific, the dentist gets more uncomfortable.

The story of how Dental Warranty came to be is a great example of this.  Dr. Steven Titensor, one of the founders of Dental Warranty, practices in Flower Mound, Texas just outside of Dallas.  Steve is a highly qualified cosmetic and implant dentist. Patents come to him for full-mouth cosmetic work as well as extensive implants.  Several years ago, one of Dr. Titensor’s patients, who had his entire mouth redone, fainted in a movie theater.  The accident fortunately resulted in no permanent damage to his body or his smile.  The shock, however, did raise some questions in his mind.  During his next dental visit, he started asking some pointed questions:

“Do you guarantee your work?”
“For how long?”
"What if I get in a bar fight and break my veneers? Is that guaranteed?”

The questions went on and Dr. Titensor started to get visibly nervous. He, like most dentists, had always stood behind his work. But when it got down to the specifics of what it meant and to what extent, things got a little more fuzzy!

From that conversation, Dr. Titensor and his patient created the first, third-party warranty in dentistry.  Dental Warranty Corp is the leading third-party warranty program that stands behind the work a dentist does for an extended period of time.  No matter if the dentist leaves or sells the practice or if the patient moves to a different part of the country, the work is still covered.  It protects the patient and the practice.

Here's how other dentists around the country are using the warranty:

1. The patient is 100% clear on what he or she can expect in case anything goes wrong with the dental work that was done. It is all in writing and backed by a third-party.

2. If the patient moves to a different part of the country, the work is still covered nationwide.

3. If the covered restorative work has to be repaired or replaced, not only is the lab work covered, but the chair time is covered as well up to the amount that the patient originally paid for the work. In other words, the dentist gets paid for repairing or replacing the work where in the past, the dentist was working for free to make the repairs.

4. The practice builds an asset instead of a contingent liability. With all restorative patients being covered, the purchasing dentist is paid through the warranty for any repairs or remakes on work done by the previous dentist.

5. Preserved relationship. The patient is more loyal to the practice because the guidelines and expectations are clear for the future in case anything happens.

6. Peace-of-mind for both the practice and the patient because everyone knows what to expect in case of the unexpected.

So if you want a higher standard of care that protects your patient and the practice, the third-party warranty from Dental Warranty Corp is THE highest standard of care available today.

For more information on Dental Warranty, visit www.DentalWarranty.net or call (800) 691-7234.

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