Monday, November 30, 2009

A good example of runaway costs

There is a nifty little device you can wear on your teeth at night called the NTI tension suppression system. It's not a standard night guard, which is designed rather like one you'd wear for sparring--covers all your (usually) upper teeth. That kind is meant to redistribute the pressure generated by nighttime biting or clenching. The NTI thingie just fits over your incisors and supposedly positions your jaw so as to actually prevent clenching or grinding. It's been FDA approved as a treatment for tension migraines, for what that's worth. Anyhow, it's a little, dinky piece of plastic. According to an interview with the Chicago Dental Society this costs the dentist between $20 and $110, depending on whether or not they send it in to a lab to be custom fitted. Well, I rang the three dentists in Vancouver who provide this little piece of plastic. One quoted me a price of $800. One quoted me a price of $821. The third, with whom I have an appointment on Thursday quoted a price of $250. I surely do hope this is not because he's some awful, dodgy dentist. But it seems to me that a greater than 700 percent markup is...unethical. Those first two dentists also quoted prices in excess of $500 for standard night guards, which can be purchased online for closer to $150 and come with a money back guarantee. Catch a dentist offering a money back guarantee.