By: Bridget Burris

I was visiting an office the other day and had an interesting situation arise.

A mom brought in her child for treatment, eager to get started (the child’s teeth were a mess). The doctor looked at the child but she decided the child needed a couple of lingering baby teeth removed before starting braces in three months. It was the last day of September so the TC said something like this:

TC: Ok mom the doctor says that we need to get out three baby teeth on little Susie here and we will get started in three months. I have a bond appointment available on December 22, does that work?

Mom: Yes that will be great because Susie will be out of school.

TC: Super. Please make sure you take this extraction letter to your dentist and get the teeth out as soon as possible. Also be sure that Susie is current on her cleanings and does a good job of brushing between now and then. At the appointment we will sign the contract and that is when you will need to have your $850.00 down payment. Any questions?

Mom: None at all. Thank you.

Sounds great right?

Well let’s take a minute and think about this in the context of the calendar year and the reality of modern household budgets before we decide.

The vast majority of people live on a fixed household budget or live paycheck to paycheck and don’t have a ton of savings (far less in the average savings account than it costs to get braces). When push comes to shove, every day necessities will outweigh paying for braces – especially the down payment because the braces are not on the child’s teeth yet! Add to this the fact that Americans spend a tremendous amount of money Christmas shopping and perhaps we should look again at the likelihood of mom showing up with 850 dollars on December 22… or even showing up at all.

Not feeling so good about this bond appointment now, are we?

But it doesn’t have to be that way. We can help mom get what she wants affordably and we can help her child get the treatment needed on the timeline the doctor described. How? Well, here is the conversation I had with mom before she left:

Bridget: Mom, how about we make a plan where you don’t have to show up with 850 dollars all at once? How does that sound?

Mom: Great! What do you have in mind?

Bridget: We find that most moms like to work within their family budget. In cases like this we are more than happy to divide up the down payment into three smaller, easier to make payments. That way you can do the paperwork and make the first payment of $283.33 today, another $283.33 payment in November and the third payment of $283.33 in December so that everything is taken care of beforehand and the only thing you’ll have to deal with on December 22 is getting braces on. How does that sound?

Mom: That sounds fantastic. You’ll do that for me?

Bridget: Of course! We are happy to do so.


There you have it – one more possibility for you to consider when it comes to financing orthodontic treatment. I find that there is usually a solution where everyone can get what they need and everyone is happy with the arrangement if you have some compassion and a little creativity.

7 thoughts on “The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year

  1. Simply Smart!!!! Thanks a lot for sharing your thoughts with us.

  2. People do really like the flexibility of payments. You could go one step farther and call the dentist for the patient to get the extractions and cleaning scheduled. That insures everything is completed prior to the banding.

  3. So glad you find this useful. I love helping doctors grow their practices. Let me know how it goes when you try this with a patient. Good luck!

  4. Excellent point and something I recommend strongly. Thanks so much Linda for bringing it up! Making sure the patient has an appointment with the dentist and that the dentist receives the extraction letter on the day of the new patient exam is just plain smart.

  5. Bridget, what a great article, and you handled that situation perfectly. Thank you so much for sharing

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