Dentists have overheads of 60% or more and asking them to reduce fees by 25%-50% or more can make it difficult for them to make a profit. In what probably is the best case scenario, a patient can be fortunate and find a dentist whose practice is not busy enough to keep his appointment book full and is using the discount plan to fill his empty appointment slots. In this case, the dentist is using the plan as an advertisement of his or her practice and as a way of recruiting new patients. Treating patients from the plan may not be highly profitable, but may help a dentist cover his fixed overhead.
From a patient's point of view these plans may seem like a huge bargain and are tempting to patients in search of affordable dentistry. The obvious problem is that choosing a dentist from a list of "low bidders" is probably not the best way of choosing a dentist,contractor or any type of service provider. Also, all the value of any savings will be negated, if this choice leads to dental treatments or restorations that do not work out well.
A far better method of choosing a dentist is "word of mouth" (pardon this corny pun). Getting a recommendation from a satisfied patient, or another doctor is more likely to lead to a positive dental experience than choosing from a list of discount dentists.