Smile! You don't need dental insurance

Total Wellness Dentistry opts for annual membership fees by eschewing insurance

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Total Wellness Dentistry (pictured left to right), Dr. Brent Zastrow, Raime Griffitts and DeAnna Fowles and opened last July and uses dental memberships to serve customers.

A Hayden dentist is hoping to flip the script on mainstream insurance payment methods with an unconventional approach that could dramatically increase access to dental care for North Idaho residents: The dental membership.

“I became a dentist to change people's lives for the better,” said Dr. Brent Zastrow. “In my fourth year of dental school I realized that high costs and limited insurance benefits are a significant barrier to getting dental care. If you have dental problems, your overall health and happiness can be affected. Affordability shouldn't be a barrier to seeing a dentist.”

Unfortunately, those roadblocks are very real. Roughy 47 percent of Idaho residents go without dental insurance. Often those with insurance find their coverage doesn't make ideal treatment affordable. As a result, many people avoid going to the dentist and neglect their teeth. Then when they do see a dentist, the problems are extensive and the price of treatment is overwhelming.

“People are afraid of what the dentist might find and how much it will cost,” said Dr. Zastrow. “Patients shouldn't have to choose between their health and putting food on the table. With our comprehensive membership, they don't have to. On average our patients save 67% when compared to traditional payment methods.”  With savings like that patients are finding a new way to smile.

Zastrow's payment approach is rare. He's one of the only dentists in North Idaho who doesn't accept dental insurance. Instead, he charges an initial membership fee of $1,500 for individuals and $2,500 for families. Annual renewals are significantly cheaper; $600 for an individual and $1000 for families. The membership fee covers all services provided in the office.

“There's no catch,” said Zastrow. “No caps, no limits, no waiting periods, no gotchas. I charge a flat membership fee plus the direct cost of lab fees. I am totally transparent with those costs, too.,”

The practice opened in July and is already a hit with patients.

“I was facing $21,000 worth of dental work,” said Tim Long, a Spokane resident. “I needed a ton of work. My insurance had a maximum limit of $1,500. And I pay between $500 and $600 annually for the privilege of having dental insurance. Facing such a substantial expense, I was looking for alternatives and I came across Total Wellness Dentistry.”

A self-described skeptic, Long drove to Dr. Zastrow's office and met with him to see if the deal was too good to be true. It wasn't.

“I was super impressed with Dr. Zastrow's knowledge and skill,” he said. “His proposal was better than my old dentist. I had the work done six weeks ago and I couldn't be happier.”

Zastrow also offers emergency dental services without requiring a patient buy the membership. The cost is $300 for care of a single tooth.

Zastrow is no stranger to North Idaho. He attended Coeur d'Alene High School and earned a degree in Aviation Science from Utah Valley University.  Later he went to the University of Kentucky and became a Doctor of Dental Medicine in 2013.

He joined the Navy and served as a dental officer, caring for Marines in South Carolina, North Carolina, and Virginia. Zastrow and his wife, Meagan, are raising their five children. In their spare time, they enjoy outdoor activities and youth sports.

For more information, visit https://www.ANewWayToSmile.com or call (208) 803-0263.



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