What about small fractures? Or is there more to the story?

Enjoy the before and after!


Patient could tell something didn’t feel right, it hurt initially, and a small piece broke off, but, then, the pain temporarily subsided. There was meaningful decay into the dentin in the area where the chipping occured. We removed the old amalgam, the caries (decay), and restored with a composite. Recurrent decay with associated fracture: #19 – DOB

He wore through the cusp tips from grinding. I did not extend the outline of the filling into the areas of erosion on those cusp tips, as the patient’s grinding was largely historic from having very large tonsils in his youth. He did not have his tonsils out until 18 or 19-years-old. The airway disturbance, akin to Obstructive Sleep Apnea, caused associated bruxism. If we did extend the outline of the filling into those areas, the tooth would be very weak and would require a crown and would be at high risk of fracture.

Payment Plans, Crowns, Invisalign, Fee For Service, Insurance


When I acquired the practice of Sir Hal Moore, the practice did not have a program in place for payment plans. There are myriad reasons why payment plans can become problems for dental offices, which I will detail below. But, technology has come a long way since the days of having to mail in a check for a monthly payment plan.

“Finally a system that is secure and allows patients to say yes to the care they need.”

Payment plans

When we recently changed our credit card processing company, the new company was able to introduce us to the most modern platform, which uses technically savvy methods of safely storing and accessing financial information. I thought to myself, “Finally a system that is secure and allows patients to say yes to the care they need.” Now, patients who need Invisalign, or extensive restorative work, or root canals and crowns, or 4 quadrants of scaling and root planing can get the care they need.

The way our new system works allows us to securely store a patient’s credit card on our credit card processor’s (Best Card) secure site, where the numbers are immediately upon storage scrambled into a mix of numbers and letters, encrypted so that they cannot be viewed by us (or anyone else) again. This allows us to maintain PCI compliance. PCI compliance is our promise to protect your personal information as it relates to payments. I have explicitly told the staff that I do not want us physically writing down any credit card numbers on paper, nor do I want them stored on our computers in an unencrypted file. This longstanding office policy has meant that we did not have a feasible way to set up payment plans, as many patients would have liked. Until now.

Moving forward, we have a simple way to store and access the credit card of a patient’s choice and set up recurring billing, without having to write down the patient’s credit card and without exposing their financial information to would-be hackers. I have put together some sample documents showing our two main options as they exist today. We have a 4-pay option and a 10-pay option.


Let’s take an example where a patient has a severely broken tooth that needs a build-up and a crown. As of July 2018, the cost for the build-up is $294 and the crown is $1250. When teeth break unexpectedly, after chewing ice, a crouton, or biting into a fork, or after a period of undiscovered caries, a patient may not have had time to prepare financially for the immediate $1544 to fix their tooth. So, here is an example where a payment plan sample-crown-payment-plan-contract-2018 would allow that patient the flexibility to receive the care they need today and pay for it over the next 4 months.


Take an alternative scenario, a patient has decided they are finally ready to straighten their teeth. Historically, patients are required to pay for their desired Invisalign treatment completely up front. But, it might be a more approachable treatment if patients could start receiving treatment today and pay for it as we walk through the trays. Here is an example of what it looks like sample-invisalign-payment-plan-contract-2018 if a patient is ready to move forward and would like to make their Invisalign payments over the next 10 months. When we are completing a larger project like an Invisalign case, one thing many patients don’t know is that there is a significant lab fee. So, the initial payment made on day 1 would include the lab fee and small fee for carrying the payments over 10 months.

Fee For Service

Patients are likely better served in a fee for service delivery model where they are able to use their money for the procedures and services that they want. To help patients achieve this freedom and independence to apply their cashflow to the procedures they want without having to wait inordinate amounts of time (saving up) required a shift in my thinking. So, I believe that offering payment plans will attract new patients to the practice who don’t have insurance, but, still want to take care of their teeth. I have heard people ask, “What if I don’t have dental insurance?” So, I really had to start thinking about the reality that payment plans are the answer that allows those independent fee for service patients to say yes to treatment, and not have to pull teeth (extract teeth) that can otherwise be saved by crowns and root canals. It should also allow patients who want to replace a tooth with a dental implant to say yes.


What drives decision making? Incentives. We have a growing number of patients whose insurance is covering fewer and fewer procedures. What is happening is that insurance companies are finding new ways to deflect costs onto their consumers, our patients. Take an example where a patient sits down into our dental chair and the insurance company has brought tricks from their medical insurance business and brought it over into dental insurance. Deductibles. When I started practicing 10-years ago, 2008, deductibles in dental insurance were unheard of; the primary reason you did not hear about deductibles is because insurers were not in the business of balking at paying their 50% of $400 for 2 fillings. But, little by little, they try to fool patients by showing them charts of all the things they cover at 80%, 50%, 100%, all the while avoiding paying their share, requiring narratives for simple procedures like single crowns. When an insurance company demands a narrative, they effectively delay payment and hope that many doctors and patients will simply give up, ending with the patient paying for a procedure that they have coverage for or the the doctor writing off significant portions of work that has already been completed and delivered.

The point I am making is that insurance companies incentives are not well aligned with patients. The result of this failing to connect on incentives has driven many patients to abandon their dental insurance altogether. A patient should not pay premiums month after month for years only to find out 5 years later, (when they are finally ready to use it to pay for a crown,) that they don’t qualify for the service. Even though the patients have paid into the system, the money they have paid in is not readily accessible and available to use for the procedures they actually want.

Insurance rarely* pays for sedation, regardless of whether it is conscious sedation (level 1 sedation), general anesthesia, or inhalation sedation with nitrous oxide (commonly “laughing gas.”) My front office staff member says it is a miracle if they pay for sedation (*because it is almost never.) They don’t pay for sedation regardless of the procedure, even if it is being used for the extraction of wisdom teeth.

Closing Thoughts

Austin, TX is a beautiful place to live. It is a beautiful place to practice dentistry. It is not getting any cheaper to live here. I met a man at Fresh Plus the other day who said he is “just barely hanging on,” referring to the ever ballooning costs of living here. These growing trends toward insurance avoiding their contractual responsibilities to patients, cost of living increases, and patients finding it hard to say yes to necessary treatment caused me to rethink my willingness to set up payment plans. So, I am making it known that we are here to help patients receive the care they need.

Special Offer for Invisalign for the month of April, 2018

Special Offer for Invisalign for the month of April, 2018


Have you always wanted straight teeth but did not want to be a “metal mouth?” We have the solution for you, INVISALIGN. In under an hour Dr. Mobley can take pictures and impressions of your mouth and write a treatment plan. Within a few short weeks you will have custom made clear trays with an individualized plan for moving your teeth. You will get the benefits of straight teeth without the ugly metal and wires.

  • Full Case $5610
  • April promo $4610
  • (Treatment estimated to last over 6 months)

  • Express Case $4610
  • April promo $4000
  • (Treatment estimated to last 3-6 months)

All Invisalign patients MUST be free of cavities and receive ongoing cleanings, either at our office or another office. The best smiles are healthy smiles.

Wait no longer to get the smile you deserve! Invisalign promo will run until April 30th 2018.

CYBER WEEK Special: Professional Whitening In-office $200 off

CYBER WEEK Special: Professional Whitening In-office $200 off

Normally, $500 for 1-hour In-office Whitening, we are running a cyber week special, for $300.

  1. Go to the Pay Now page. Enter the information for the person paying for it, under First Name Last Name Billing Address, City, State, Zip Code, Country, Phone Number, and Email, all of these top fields should match the credit card billing information.
  2. In the space for Invoice Number/ Chart Number, type “CYBERWEEK” Under the space for Po Number/ Patient Name, type the name of the person who will be using the in-office whitening.
  3. In the space for amount, enter $300.

We will email you a certificate for the gifted In-office Whitening.

We never run a special, so get it before it runs out.

If you are looking for the perfect Christmas gift, you can give this to a family member or friend.

If a friend or family member comes in who is not yet a patient, as long as they have a home office where they have been seen within the past 12 months, they are eligible to do in-office whitening. If a person does not have a home office, but, wishes to redeem the whitening, we would strongly encourage them to get a cleaning, x-rays, and exam before moving forward with whitening. Otherwise, a person would need to sign a waiver that states that they understand that we cannot be held responsible for underlying caries, periodontal disease, or any other conditions, without a comprehensive exam. If a person who is redeeming the gift would rather use the money toward a cleaning, x-rays, and exam, then, the $300 will spend like cash and would cover a new patient visit (including cleaning, x-rays, and exam) assuming that the patient does not have periodontal disease. If the person using the gift certificate would rather have bleach trays made for at home bleaching and whitening, they can apply their credit to that, which would normally be $500, and it will completely satisfy the cost for whitening trays with 3 tubes of whitening gel. They will not owe $200, but instead will receive the same consideration, and the $300 gift will serve as complete payment.

If you have any questions about this promotion, call our office at 512-454-2744

This promotion will run from 11/29/17 through 12/15/17.

Friday and Saturday are now open: Dr. Mobley has arrived!

Dear Patients,

I have exciting news. The McFarlane Dental team is growing. We are adding Dr. Megan Mobley. This will allow us to continue to meet the growing demand for services at our office. It will also allow patients to be seen on Fridays and Saturdays. I want to give Dr. Mobley a chance to introduce herself. (Sincerely, Dr. Russell McFarlane)

My name is Dr. Megan Mobley and I am thrilled to be joining Dr. McFarlane’s amazing team. I am a native of Lake Jackson, Texas, located just south of Houston along the Gulf Coast.  After completing my undergraduate studies at Texas A&M University, I attended The Ostrow School of Dentistry at The University of Southern California in Los Angeles. After graduating with my Doctorate in Dental Surgery, my husband and I decided to move back to Texas and call Austin home.

It was while I was in high school that my destiny was set for me to one day become a dentist. I was involved in an unfortunate accident that resulted to the loss of my two front teeth. From this traumatic experience I was blessed to receive quality dental work that gave me the passion to help others in the same way I was. Not only do I possess the passion to do beautiful dentistry but I also empathize with the pain, fear and self-confidence that go hand in hand.

I am lucky to say I married my high school sweetheart and we have one beautiful daughter. We also have a fur child (Molly) that we adopted while attending Texas A&M University. When I am not in the office, I enjoy traveling, cooking, baking, wine tasting, home remodeling, eating at new restaurants and most of all, spending time with my family.

I have many professional passions, and I always strive for perfection but there are two I put at the top of my long list. First is converting a terrified patient that has lost hope in good dental care into a patient for life. I specialize in treating adults and children with dental anxiety by providing a caring and relaxing experience. One way I achieve this is by offering different options for sedation including nitrous oxide and oral sedation. The second is creating beautiful cosmetic dentistry by using techniques I have acquired through years of practice and continuing education. My mission is to provide the best possible dentistry while keeping the highest standard of ethics.

I am eager to meet you and continue the tradition of excellence, treating you with the same quality and passion you’ve come to expect from this amazing practice.



Dr. Megan Mobley


Guatemala, Here We Come!

Viva Guatemala!

With great excitement, I told the staff in December that I am headed back to Guatemala. I asked the critical question: “Who is coming with me?”

Last time we went as a team, Prema and Lisa joined the group. This time around Jena is coming on the trip. We have a team of around 80 people, including: dentists, a hygienist, hygiene students, and dental students.

I have been down to Central and South America many times to share the gift of dentistry with patients who need the care. We are excited to live out the mission of taking care of patients. We are responsible to take care of all the lost sheep, marginalized, poor, orphans, and widows. The Guatemala trip focuses on the community of San Raymundo, and we will serve primarily children.

We are thrilled to be going and we would ask that you pray for our work. Pray for the families we will meet. Send us your encouragement.