Joho the Blog » $1,080 an hour
EverydayChaos
Everyday Chaos
Too Big to Know
Too Big to Know
Cluetrain 10th Anniversary edition
Cluetrain 10th Anniversary
Everything Is Miscellaneous
Everything Is Miscellaneous
Small Pieces cover
Small Pieces Loosely Joined
Cluetrain cover
Cluetrain Manifesto
My face
Speaker info
Who am I? (Blog Disclosure Form) Copy this link as RSS address

$1,080 an hour

From 8:02 until 8:58 this morning, I was in the care of an excellent endodentist, having a root canal. At the end of that hour, I was presented with a bill for $1,080, a number I associate more with high definition TVs than with hourly wages.

My endodentist was excellent. She’s highly skilled and had great chair-side manner, narrating each step, and preparing me for every delightful little surprise ( “You’ll feel a dull thud as I jam this this phillips-head screwdriver into your tooth, handle first.” “The smell of your own body burning may be a little pungent.”) I am old enough to remember when root canal was the standard measure of pain, just as “the length of a football field” is the standard measure of distance and “as many books as in the Library of Congress” is the standard measure of volume, so I have no complaints about a procedure that has become merely uncomfortable with occasional sharp twinges.

But $1,080 an hour? In Boston, that’s seems to be the going rate, albeit at the high end. On the other hand, after dental insurance, it only cost me $1,080….because there’s no practical way for me to get dental insurance.

I seriously don’t understand the pricing model. The endodentist is part of my dentist’s general practice. She shares the facilities and uses the same rooms. There doesn’t seem to be a whole lot of complex special equipment involved, outside of some rasps, a keyhole saw, and a cash register. She’s had some specialized training, but are root canals really that much more complex than the range of procedures my general dentist can do, from reconstructing a tooth to diagnosing gum problems? Meanwhile, the endodentist is in danger of getting repetitive stress syndrome from doing the same motions — drill, scrape, fill, phone her broker — over and over.

Is it pure scarcity that drives the prices up? At those prices, why is there a scarcity? And why aren’t other dental procedures broken off and priced as exorbitantly? Or is this a residue of the days when root canals were so painful that people wanted to feel like they were getting their money’s worth? [Tags: ]

Previous: « || Next: »

Comments are closed.

Comments (RSS).  RSS icon