Why do we talk this way? Either a patient needs treatment or they don’t. Phase I treatment is often more difficult than comprehensive treatment for a litany of reasons. Why would we charge less for it? Why wouldn’t we charge for comprehensive treatment if a patient needs it later in life? You charge for treating easy comp cases who didn’t have Phase I don’t you? We aren’t “doing it over” or “doing the same thing again” as we fear parents will say. Generally we put those thoughts and words in the parents’ mouths and bring our fears to fruition as we often do. We are generally addressing orthopedic issues early and orthodontic issues later. Either the patient needs treatment or they don’t no matter their age. Either you would do the treatment you suggest on your own child or you wouldn’t. Either we are taking care of people to the best of our ability irrespective of time or money or we are not. Why the hell do we put artificial, random labels on treatment and why are we afraid to charge for the work we do?
I can’t come up with a single good reason other than that’s the way we have always done it.
The Phase I/Phase II model is so deeply ingrained in us that I don’t think it would have occurred to me to ask this question before we changed our pricing to one fee for everything. Because of this I was asked the question by several people “what about phase I treatment?”. And the logical answer is that either a patient needs treatment or they don’t and if they need treatment then the fee is what it is. Ironically, with our new pricing, “two Phase treatment” is more expensive than it was when my pricing for treatment was much higher (read more traditional) and I think this is wholly appropriate and logical now that I’ve changed my paradigm. The world is a funny and interesting place when we’re able to escape our preconceived notions!
PS There are a couple exceptions to the rule. I do offer upper 2×4 treatment to correct minor issues – usually socially driven treatment – that take less than 6 months for a smaller fee (but I don’t do this much and I also give this kind of treatment away to younger siblings as often as not). The other exception is GuaranteeMySmile.com where I guarantee patient satisfaction and will put braces back on for free and charge monthly for treatment once comprehensive treatment is finished. These two are more marketing and differentiation than anything else and are designed to attract patients and address specific issues thus supporting the main practice goal – to start patients.