Dentists hold ground on infection control fees amid patient complaints

Dentists nationwide are adding charges to patient bills to pay for the infection control materials needed to safely reopen their practices, according to NBC News.

These fees, which many dentists are now referring to as "infection control fees," usually range from $10 to $20 and are often met with dissent from patients.

Dentists argue they need the money to cover the cost of face shields, masks, gowns and air purifiers to protect their staff and patients from COVID-19. The prices of these infection control materials have skyrocketed during the pandemic.

Many dentists are facing additional financial woes because of decreases in appointments, stemming from patients who do not feel safe returning to dental offices yet and the need to space out appointments to avoid crowding waiting rooms.

Rishi Desai, the director of operations and finance at Austin, Texas-based dental chain Swish Dental, told NBC News his practices were paying $6 for a box of 20 masks before the pandemic but that price is now $6 for a single mask. His offices are operating at about half capacity, and he is reluctant to decrease staff wages.

"We are not making money off this. This is just to sustain us so we are not bleeding out cash," Mr. Desai told NBC News.

The American Dental Association has approved dentists to add infection control fees as long as they make patients aware of it before their visit.

More articles on dental:
Dental care picks up; still at 27% of pre-pandemic volume
New York dentists can reopen June 1
ADA releases COVID-19 hazard assessment guide

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