Money Matters
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sterilization fee at dentist

This was not submitted to the insurance company but was added to the bill we received. It's $10. This was for a filling. The day it was done, the office person told my husband he owed them an amount that didn't include this new fee. Shouldn't all instruments be sterilized?

We went to this guy because our dentist couldn't see patients because of surgery. 

Re: sterilization fee at dentist

  • Thats a new one to me...
  • OUKapOUKap
    Eighth Anniversary
    They also charged $45 for an 'exam'. Oh, your tooth hurt. Open up. Yup, it is broken. That will be $45. 
  • That seems odd. It seems like a cleaning fee to me... they don't bill you for having the trash taken out, it's just assumed.

    Off topic- for some reason I thought you meant surgically sterilized (as in, vasectomy or tubal) and I was thinking, "WTH would the dentist care? And I don't care what the discount is, I'm not letting a dentist perform a tubal..." 

  • That's such a dumb fee!  What would they have cleaned his teeth without sterilizing the instruments if he refused to pay it?  Give me a break!  I'd dispute that.  That's so dumb of that office to do that. 
  • A fee for an exam is normal.  A sterilization fee is crazy.
  • I'd bet it is something you always paid, but it was hidden somewhere else.  I have to pay a medical waste disposal fee at my vet.  I also think (but it is just a guess) that the way they are reimbursed by insurance is the reason they separated the fees. 


    Edit - I think you could try to contest it. 

  • I would contest it.
  • My dental "insurance" has a $7 "OHSA" recovery fee for gloves and sterilization of instruments at every visit.  As the "insurance" claims to be a dental HMO I call it a co-pay.

    (I really don't like my dental insurance company)

    Cancer sucks.
  • OUKapOUKap
    Eighth Anniversary

    They are making a nice profit on the filling. We went to him because our dentist recommended him and we didn't want to be messing with an unknown dentist when a tooth is broken. He wasn't in the insurance plan so we are paying for the difference. It was not cheap. To have this bogus fee thrown in is really disappointing.

    My husband asked if there was a DirectTV fee onthe bill as well.

  • i've never seen the sterilization fee, either. ?i'd at least ask about it and point out that it wasn't included in the amount originally told to your dh. ?but it's routine for a dentist to require an initial exam on a new patient. ?you don't want him or her to be poking and prodding around in your mouth without knowing what's going on...
  • You should call up and tell them that you didn't want the instruments sterilized so you shouldn't have to pay the fee.
  • OUKapOUKap
    Eighth Anniversary
    I'm fine with the exam fee. I understand it.
  • image OUKap:
    They also charged $45 for an 'exam'. Oh, your tooth hurt. Open up. Yup, it is broken. That will be $45. 


    Seems like a shady dentist to me. I would check with the BBB.

  • Exam fee = diagnosis of why your tooth hurts NOT confirmation that your tooth hurts

    sterilization fee = would you rather have your exam fee be $10 more and not be itemized?  As someone who works in the medical field, we have to pay another body to stay on top of cleaning and packing supplies, not to mention the charges for biphazard waste disposal

  • I have never heard of anything like that.  Ever.  I've heard offices charging for weird things but every single time you walk into a room it is supposed to be sterilized.  The insturments, chair, counter, light... all of it. 

    I'm sorry you went out of network and have to pay more out of pocket but I wouldn't want someone I don't know looking in my mouth and telling me whether or not my mouth is ok if they aren't a professional just like I wouldn't want someone who knows nothing about framing a house building me a house.  You pay for the supplies used (and the supplies aren't really cheap if you got a white filling), the time, and more importantly the knowledge.

    image Lilypie First Birthday tickers
  • My dentist does this and it really irritates me. They have signs all over the office/exam areas stating that you cannot get out of this fee either. It's only $7 but still... lame!
  • Of course everything should be sterilized everytime.  He is running a business.  He is passing on his costs to you.  If you go to a dentist that doesn't have this fee, it is likely added into another cost somehow...unless he is running a charity.  If you don't like how he does his billing, find another dentist.
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