LAS VEGAS, NEVADA—Occasionally, we run across something online that we feel like we have to pass on like this topic about using Groupon discount offers to get Las Vegas pediatric orthodontic treatment.
“My short answer for people asking about whether or not they should use a Groupon deal for braces is no,” says Dr. David Alpan, a Las Vegas incognito braces provider. “The deals can be tempting because they offer steep discounts, but there is good reason to reconsider before buying.”
Groupon is a Chicago-based company launched in 2008 that offers coupons to its subscribers, often giving deep discounts—50 percent or more—on everything from restaurant meals to vacation spots to spa visits. Companies use Groupon and other similar sites in hope of bringing in new customers and converting them into repeat business.
Some dental offices and orthodontic practices are getting involved in the discounts too and offering a deal through Groupon on their services.
“At first glance, it looks like you’re getting Invisalign treatment or whatever the offer is at a great price that is significantly less than regular,” says Dr. Alpan, who is also a TMD dentist. “But we’re not talking about markdowns at a department store on last season’s merchandise. Orthodontic treatment is a service not a product, and the doctor you choose will have a big impact on your final results.”
If you read through the offer completely and carefully to review the limitations and qualifications, you may find that the offer only covers up to so long in treatment or a certain number of trays. It may not include retainers or check-up appointments during the retention phase of treatment.
“A good orthodontist works until the malocclusion is corrected, the bite is aligned and the patient has a smile to be proud of,” says Dr. Alpan. “Aesthetic Orthodontics is really an investment in your oral health and self-confidence, so it’s not a good idea to take your business to the lowest bidder.”
These discount medical services offers also come with possible state and federal legal issues as well as ethical ones. The American Dental Association legal division said in a press release about Groupon incentives that offering such discounts may violate certain ADA ethical rules, including the one prohibiting dentists from giving rebates and splitting fees.
“In some states, boards have begun banning the use of Groupons to discount professional services because of concerns about rebates, kickbacks and fee-splitting,” says Dr. Alpan, who offers orthodontics for children and adults.
Any medical provider should be researched, but it is very important to find out how much experience a doctor has using the type of orthodontic treatment and what their finished product looks like.
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