5 On Your Side

New need for PPE may show on dental bill as additional fee

Posted June 2, 2020 11:25 a.m. EDT
Updated June 2, 2020 5:07 p.m. EDT

— Your next trip to the dentist might cost a little more.

Several of you asked about a fee added to your recent visit, so 5 On Your Side's Monica Laliberte looked into it.

Dentists say it's a direct result of COVID-19, from added personal protection equipment to advanced air filtrations systems – considering what happens in the dentist's chair.

Dentist using drill

"We really kind of have to step up what we do to protect our patients and protect ourselves," said Dr. Hesham Baky with Triangle Family Dentistry in Morrisville.

Baky says some supply prices have more than doubled, and there's no option but to pass part of it along.

"Every week, the cost of everything we're buying is completely different," he said. "Last week, my masks were, 50 cents a mask. This week they're $1.20."

Increased prices and added fees are a trend happening nationwide.

There are streams of complaints online about so-called PPE fees, from $10, $15, $22 or more, depending on the practice.

5 On Your Side reached out to the North Carolina Dental Society. They told us that, with the American Dental Association, they "are working to encourage insurance companies to cover this additional cost."

Baky's practice charges an extra $10.

He says, so far, only one insurer they work with covers it, and their goal is to end the fee as soon as things begin to stabilize.

"We're hemorrhaging," Baky said as a small business owner. "Especially an industry like ours, where our costs are significantly higher than they were before, we have to kind of do what we can to help our patients out and for us to survive."

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