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Aspen Dental / new patient examination

1 8057 Brewerton RoadCicero, IL, United States
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I'd luckily been warned by a friend about going to Aspen, and after my new patient exam the warning turned out absolutely correct. The good - the staff were friendly, competent and quick at their jobs. If it weren't for the bad side I'd be happy to be a regular patient there. The bad - Aspen is a sales mill. They're car dealership sneaky. My friend warned me that they would try to slip in charges. Here's how it goes. The friendly dentist and assistants give you a free exam and tell you that when you come back for a cleaning, you'll "take home an electric toothbrush, special toothpaste and rinse". They avoid saying that it costs extra. They put a screen in front of your chair so you can see your x-rays, but also so you can see any alarming things about your teeth being typed in to help upsell the products. Then you wait, half an hour in my case, for the office manager to schedule your appointment and sign your bill. This is where it gets car dealership. (Watch the small similarities - a professionally dressed person takes you to an isolated office full of "relax-triggers", thank you cards from satisfied customers, photos of the salesperson's family that face only towards the customer, not the salesperson. This office had the thank you cards.) First, I was shown only the total of the charges and was asked to sign and if I wanted to put anything down. I asked how much the toothbrush was that the assistant had mentioned. She said $150. I was expecting this from my friend's warning and asked to have it removed. She agreed easily, then tore the overview bill in half with a barely concealed look of irritation. It's an unsubtle tactic designed to put the patient off of asking to have the bill changed again. I asked for an itemized bill, and watched her carefully tell me I had to sign first before she could print it, which is preposterous. Trying to lock you in before you can see the charges, right? Her computer screen is kept turned away just enough so you can't see what's being done. I hadn't given my credit card and already said I wouldn't pay until the actual cleaning, so I figured sure, why not. I signed, looked over the bill, and spotted the $30 stannous rinse (mouthwash) and $29 neutral sodium gel (toothpaste). Also, they'd showed me the same pamphlet twice about oral cancer screenings but never asked if I wanted it - sure enough, $70 oral cancer screening on the bill. I also noted that the toothbrush and rinse come entirely out of Patient Responsibility, not insurance. At this point I knew I'd never be coming back so I said nothing and left. In short, insist on seeing your bill before you sign or give any payment, because they will try hard to sneak about $279 of unnecessary extras into your upfront payment. Or go to another dentist.

Re
Jan 16, 2016

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