Finding the right doctor to perform your cosmetic dental surgery can be tricky. These days, it is extremely difficult to discern those you can trust from those you can’t. There are countless services claiming to work with patients’ insurance companies and to cover the costs of any pre and post-surgery necessities. However, the fact of the matter is there are far too many of these companies and practices out there that want nothing more than to get as much money out of you as they can. Being that dental implant procedures are already extremely costly on the patient, it is imperative to analyze each and every office you contact to avoid hidden fees and shoddy practices. If you are someone in need of cosmetic dental services and are actively researching providers online, be wary of one major shark circling the patient shoal of fish. Cosmetic Dentistry Grants is a company that markets itself as a provider of cosmetic and dental implant care at a highly reduced price. They claim to be advancing their mission through their community gift-giving program which they say provides up to one million dollars in funding grants every year to the patients who elect to use their services. While all of this sounds fine and encouraging, it is important to use the utmost caution when considering contacting Cosmetic Dentistry Grants.
The necessary thing to keep in mind here is that (CDG) Cosmetic Dentistry Grants is essentially a patient referral program. Before you are able to speak to a doctor one-on-one, you will have to consult a representative from CDG. This consultation, unbeknownst to users, will cost you two hundred dollars – and this is prior to your information being given to a doctor or a doctor’s information being given to you. So, before you are even able to speak to anyone of value, you’re already two hundred dollars in the hole. This is not a fee that will be reimbursed upon deciding to go through CDG; this is money that you will never see again.
The eligibility requirements to receive services from CDG are said to be the same as those at any other oral surgery practice. The patient needs to have a mouth that is in need of a procedure, as well as a mouth that is healthy and structurally sound enough to withstand a procedure. In order to determine suitability, CDG says they will provide a free oral health assessment done by a local certified dental practitioner. However, there have been many public reports by dissatisfied users of CDG stating that they were later hit with consultation fees from the practitioner they visited, on top of the two hundred dollars they already threw away just to consult with a company representative. Then, upon successful completion of this “free oral health assessment,” they say that the dental practitioner who conducted the assessment will then recommend you for inclusion in the CDG program and start to tailor a treatment program that best suits your needs.
Here’s where they really get you. If you’re not a fan of the doctor CDG has set you up with to have your oral health assessment done then that’s just too bad; he or she is going to be the one in charge of your procedure. You can’t request a different doctor or ask for a representative to arrange another oral health assessment elsewhere. All you can do at this point is cancel your services altogether. If you even attempt to introduce a practitioner outside of their network, CDG retains the right to revoke your grant at any time.
So how does the awarding of the grant itself work? All allocated grants are said to be given as partial grants. This means that they are awarded on a per capita, percentile basis and are distributed proportionally. This proportional distribution is dependent on the following factors: the number of applicants in the pool, the predicted value of each recommended treatment plan, and the total amount of money currently in circulation. If you qualify for a partial grant, you will receive notification thirty to sixty days following approval (though many unhappy clients say it has taken significantly longer than that). If you choose, you are then entitled to begin treatment right away, but treatment cannot be done outside of the three-month post-approval window. There is also one more step that needs to be taken: you must submit a signed affidavit, along with a thank-you letter, to the CDG staff in order to confirm your acceptance.
You will never see this grant money for yourself; payment is made directly from CDG to the dental office performing the surgery. CDG places the responsibility on the practice to reimburse the necessary funds to the patient. Basically, once they’ve handed over the money to the dental office, there is no saying whether or not you’ll be fairly reimbursed. This is unfortunately a risk that far too many people have taken with their money; the out-of-pocket repercussions associated with a dishonest dentist in these cases are extremely damaging, especially for a cosmetic procedure.
As aforementioned, the displeased users of Cosmetic Dentistry Grants have not been shy about sharing their personal nightmares on a variety of public forum-like platforms. One woman, in particular, shared her terrible experience of having applied for a twenty-thousand-dollar grant and only being given $1,600 toward her treatment – a treatment that cost thirty thousand dollars overall. Being that it was a cosmetic procedure, she was forced to pay the remainder out-of-pocket. She was completely unaware that she was only going to be reimbursed about five percent of her total procedure costs. Otherwise, she would not have elected to go through with the surgery. She was originally told by the presidents of CDG, Paula Velasco and Lola Snidman, that once her name was pulled for the partial grant, it would go back in for a final draw. This obviously never happened, being that she ended up paying much more than she had signed up for. She called Velasco and Snidman out on their dishonesty, and they only proceeded with further dishonesty, claiming that they had never made that promise to her. This unhappy customer also revealed that Snidman is married to one of the dentists in CDG’s network, opening discussion around the possibility that Snidman’s husband receives more cases than the other dentists in the program. She concluded her post by stating that she would have gladly taken legal action against them if she had the money to do so.
Another discontented customer from Los Angeles, CA stated that she had applied for a grant and had received a call confirming her acceptance on her voicemail. She left a message back, and meanwhile got another call saying that if she did not contact them, her file would be pulled and her grant would be revoked. When she was finally able to speak to someone, the “representative” (likely Velasco, being that she is usually reported to be answering the phone) asked her if she had any money to pay for her procedure. This was before she had even been given any one-on-one information regarding how the grant program exactly works. She then replied to the question, stating that she was under the impression that she was supposed to receive a quote from her dentist prior to sorting out her personal finances. Upon hanging up with Velasco, she received an email informing her that her file had been pulled and her funds had been nullified.
In addition to these two complaints, there are plenty more online by other unhappy customers stating that they have never received calls or emails back from CDG and that they had to consistently push to finally get a response from Velasco or Snidman. Many said they were reaching out for weeks before they were able to speak to either of them through any medium. When they finally did get in contact with either of the women, they were only told that their application had been denied. Additionally, prospective patients were turned off when they called the 1-800 number only to find out that Velasco was answering that phone number, as well – no operator, no call directory service.
With all of this information now being taken into consideration, there is one final, most important point that needs to be made. Velasco, Snidman, and anybody else who may or may not be on the CDG team fail to refer any of their clients to an actual oral surgeon or prosthodontist. All patients are sent to a dental office. There are very few dentists with a dual certification in dentistry and oral surgery; nine times out of ten, a patient will be referred to an oral surgeon by their dentist. General dentists do not have the training and/or the legal certifications giving them permission to perform these surgeries. Many people settle for having it done with their dentist, and many dentists even falsely market themselves as dual dentists/oral surgeons. This is not only illegal on the dentist’s part, but also extremely dangerous for a patient. These kinds of procedures can result in serious infection and disease if the surgery is improperly executed and pre/post-surgery precautions are not taken. So, it is crucial that patients in need of oral surgery visit the proper professional and not just that dentist who also thinks he’s a surgeon. The fact that CDG is blatantly referring patients to the improper professionals for these cases is extremely unethical, negligent, and dangerous.
Here at Trust Implants, you will not have to worry about any of the aforementioned occurrences. We are a trustworthy oral surgery center led by Dr. John Willardsen, a specialist in all types of dental implant surgery and prosthodontics with many years of education, training, and personal experience under his belt. We have taken over shut-down practices that left countless oral surgery cases behind and treated each and every single one of them. We are a leader in the dental implant space; we provide the pest pre, intra, and post surgical care to ensure an overall positive and rewarding experience.
It is important for consumers to remember that they get what they pay for. There have been many reports of cases where complications have come post-surgery due to the use of lower-quality materials, such as plastics and non-biocompatible metals. The bone and tissue rejects these over time, and the result is serious infection and even periodontal necrosis. In contrast, Trust Implants conducts all of their implant surgeries using titanium and zirconium materials. These are guaranteed to be biocompatible, thus avoiding infection, disease, and other complications.
Additionally, Trust Implants is willing to work with patients to come up with a payment solution that is most suitable for them – no unanswered phone calls, no hidden fees, and no scams.
The importance of choosing the right professional for your oral surgery or prosthodontic needs is clear. With the presence of online scammers as high as it’s ever been, it is crucial to practice caution when deciding where to get your procedures done. We know you will not regret choosing Trust Implants as your dental implant center to give you top quality service with no hidden fees.
To read more about Dr. Willardsen and the services provided by Trust Implants, check out our list of services we offer to all of our patients.