PALM BEACH COUNTY, Fla. - A Palm Beach County dental office is offering implants, invisible braces, cleanings, fillings, crowns, veneers, etc. -- and it will not cost patients a penny.
The offer comes on the heels of a national study that showed nearly 34 million Americans are not getting proper dental care.
The offices of Dr. Miriam Rubano are offering dental services at no cost; instead Dr. Rubano's patients are successfully bartering for dental procedures.
The concept has proven successful for Dr. Rubano. In the past several months, much of her West Palm Beach office has been renovated by patients who cannot afford dental care, but can offer their carpentry and woodworking skills. At a time when dental care costs can be very high, Rubano called this a "win-win situation" for her three Palm Beach County offices and for people in need of dental care.
"Everything you see in (the) office, the molding, the flooring - it's all done via bartering," said Rubano.
Building contractor Michael Fanelli renovated much of Rubano's office. In return, he had a dental crown put on, an oral bridge put in and is planning to get veneers.
"As long as you need their services and vice versa, it works out well," he said. Fanelli has done enough work in Rubano's office that even his wife was able to get clear braces at no cost.
A report issued by the Institute of Medicine and the National Research Council showed that 62 percent of retirees did not have dental insurance in 2006. The study also found that millions of children and older people do not get dental checks because they cannot afford it. A lack of dental care can lead to a number health problems including heart disease, diabetes and respiratory illness.
Dr. Rubano's offices in West Palm Beach, North Palm Beach and Boca Raton are open to bartering for dental care. Her staff is willing to accept a range of bartering services including "house cleaning, babysitting, handyman work, lawn maintenance, cleaning, car washing, power washing," Rubano said. The office can be reached here with serious bartering inquiries.
Dr. Rubano said she pays taxes on these bartering deals, has an accountant, and transactions are documented. "I needed all this work in the office, so instead of me paying out of pocket for it, I paid with my services," she said.