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What Does “Fee-for-Service” Mean for Your Dental Care?

Paying medical costs is a headache all by itself. Dealing with insurance is a stressor. Difficulty with paying for dental procedures can cause some patients to forego treatment. As understandable as this is, it is a mistake to sacrifice the care you need.

As dental practices strive to care for their patients, many practices are revising financial policies in order to encourage patients to seek the treatments they need. One of the policies that practices use to help patients is fee-for-service.

Insurance Networks

Working within a network can be a comfort as you try to find a provider that is both high-quality and reliable. Using the network can also mean that your insurance company is more likely to approve treatment plans because those plans are coming from their preferred providers.

Despite these features of a network, working within an insurance network can also sometimes mean a decrease in quality and more difficulty in paying for services. This is especially true when considering insurance companies’ policies on what constitutes a necessary procedure.

Dealing with an insurance network can also be frustrating if you already have a care provider who is familiar with your dental history. Switching providers can be frustrating as you try to rebuild a relationship with your new dental professional.

Some dental practices are opting to work outside of an insurance network to provide better service to their patients.

How Fee-for-Service Dentistry Makes a Difference

The fee-for-service policy sets providers apart in terms of cost, quality, and determinism.


Third-party insurance providers determine the rates that a dental practice can charge for specific services. These costs may be unreasonable. Working outside the network means the dentist can charge a fair price for services provided. This price is often paid at the time of service.

This fee-for-service policy can also work in conjunction with insurance. Some fee-for-service providers submit claims to insurance on your behalf. This means that you can either be reimbursed by the insurance company later or pay the remaining balance after your insurance company has reviewed the claim.

Policies among fee-for-service providers vary from office to office, so you will need to check with your care provider.


Third-party insurance providers often determine prices that a practice can set for services. This, in turn, determines the cost of materials that a practice can use in your care.

In order to meet these costs, dental practices are often forced to utilize lower-quality labs and suppliers. This directly impacts the care you receive. With fee-for-service, practices can work with trusted, high-quality labs and suppliers to ensure that you get excellent care.


Instead of your insurance company telling you what they will and will not cover, you can take charge of your healthcare.

Insurance policies are often restrictive in terms of procedures they cover. When this is the case, many patients will not seek care they truly need because they cannot afford dental care without their policies.

The fair prices that come as part of the fee-for-service policy mean that necessary care is less restrictive. fee-for-service means that a patient can better select care they need instead of making decisions based on what an insurance company will permit.

Consider Your Options

Whether you are considering an extensive procedure or not, you should compare the options that your insurance offers as well as the policies of whatever dental practice you want to work with.

Fee-for-service is a way to help you get the care you need, and it is worth considering as you look for a dentist that can improve your oral health.

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