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The Many Facets of Value in Dentistry


Everyone wants a good value, and value in dentistry has many facets.  It’s not just about the cost of a material or return on investment or even the price you charge a patient for a procedure. 

Dr. Matthew Stump, a general practitioner from Charleston, WV, tells Dental Product Shopper how he defines value in dentistry.

The definition of “value” depends on the context in which you’re speaking. It’s multi-faceted. There’s monetary value, and as a practice owner we want to get the most value for something we can offer to our patients while still keeping costs reasonable for them. When purchasing products, we want to save cost but that cost has to be balanced with chair time and quality of the final product or restoration.  For example, with implants, I need to consider, “Is that what I want to put in my patient’s mouth?” It needs to be a quality product with proven longevity and a scientific track record.

From a business aspect, we’re always looking for value.  When you’re running a business you can’t afford to lose money doing procedures.  We try to be frugal with material and make things last, but I’m not going to compromise a material I use just because it’s a couple dollars less. If you do that, you may end up having to redo things which increases chair time and then it could end up costing you double in the end than if you would have just spent a little more on the material that you prefer. 

We can also talk about value from a patient’s standpoint. They may have limited resources and, of course, want to get the greatest value. You have to do what’s best for that person, and, obviously, their overall health has to be your first consideration. However, you can create value for the patient by developing options and choices for them so they can make a decision based on what is financially feasible or valuable for them at that time.

Education is key here. A patient has to understand that it’s not just esthetics. It’s function. It’s health. There are multiple areas their condition may affect, such as long term stability of the arch and the overall health of the mouth.  Education allows a patient to understand that the overall value of a procedure is more than just esthetics. It can help him chew more effectively and ultimately improve his life. Patients want to get the most for what they’re spending and helping them understand the full value of a procedure – not just the monetary value – is crucial.

Matthew Stump, DDS, DICOI focuses on comprehensive, cosmetic, and implant dentistry at Howard and Howard Dental in Charleston, WV. He believes that investing in technology helps create value in dentistry and has invested in many high-tech products, especially those from Gendex.  

Speaking of Gendex products, check out our DPS BEST PRODUCT evaluation of the Gendex GXS-700 sensors which Dr. Stump uses in his practice! 



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