FAQ 2017-07-20T15:24:29+00:00

Frequently Asked Questions

Front Office Questions

Each insurance plan is different since coverage depends on the specific plan your Employer provides.  Traditionally, insurance only covers a percentage of the fee, and each plan may cover a different percentage.  Our computer tracks payments for each Plan and then uses this database to estimate a co-pay for patients with the same Plan.  The contract for insurance benefits is always between the Employer and the Insurance Company.  We pledge to work with you to receive the maximum benefit allowed, but we have no control over any benefits, and the responsibility for the entire fee remains with you.  For benefits less than 100%, we cannot legally forgive the balance.

We will complete and submit your insurance claim.  If we can determine your deductible and/or co-pay based on our database, we ask for your co-pay at the time of treatment.  If we cannot estimate your co-pay, we will wait for the insurance benefit payment and bill you for the outstanding balance.  Please note that medical and dental insurance works differently, and dental insurance rarely has a predetermined co-pay per visit.

Generally, payment is due when services are rendered. We always attempt to have a Treatment Plan and discuss fees before we begin treatment, and during that discussion, we can establish payment arrangements.

Once we agree on a treatment plan, we can estimate fees and insurance benefits. Regardless of insurance coverage, for many larger patient balances, we offer a no-finance charge payment plan.  We also offer discounts for full payment (either cash/check or credit card) of the entire patient balance at the start of the treatment.  Unfortunately, we cannot offer senior discounts or reduced fees to non-insured patients.  For your convenience, we accept cash, checks, VISA, MasterCard, and Discover.

No.  Please schedule an appointment to allow us to properly diagnose your condition, discuss your treatment options, and allow sufficient time for treatment. Just as importantly, we cannot infringe on already scheduled patient’s time.

It is always a good idea to have a complete diagnosis and treatment plan before any treatment is performed, and that will always be our recommendation. You may need to make decisions regarding types of treatments, e.g. crown or large restorations, root canal treatment or extraction, implant/bridge/removable partial, etc., and those decisions should not be made in haste, may require consultation with family, or involve financial considerations. Etc. Additionally, it is impossible to schedule an appropriate amount of time if we do not know what the treatment will be. However, if decisions are straight forward and time permits, we can consider restoring a tooth at the initial visit.

Traditional Insurance Plans allow you to choose your dental provider, whereas Network Plans provide you with a list of “In-Network” or “Preferred” providers to receive the maximum benefits. Some Network plans allow you to choose a “Non-Network” provider, but at reduced benefits compared to an “In-Network” provider.

For all Plans, the percentage of the fee paid is determined by the contract between your employer and the insurance company. We have no control over that percentage, and if the percentage is less than 100%, we cannot by law, forgive the balance. We pledge to work with you to maximize your benefits and to resolve any problems, but the responsibility for the entire fee always remains with you.

Network Plans establish their own discounted fee schedules, and then pay their percentage of the discounted fee. All providers on the list use the same fee schedule, and each insurance company has their own unique fee schedule developed to reflect the premiums paid by the employers.

For example, your employer can decide to purchase coverage at 70% of a prevailing fee instead of 90% of the prevailing fee in exchange for a reduced premium payment. We make our decision to join a specific Network based on the individual insurance company requirements for our office, and therefore do not participate in all Plans.

Insurance companies continually add/drop groups and make alliances with other insurance companies, so determining which insurance companies we are in-network with at any time is difficult to address in this space. We will do our best to answer your insurance questions by phone when you call for your appointment.

We do not accept Medicare Advantage or Medicaid/CareSource Plans.

Clinical Questions

The value of regular periodic examinations is that problems can be discovered early before they become uncomfortable and more expensive to treat.  Additionally, the health of your gums and supporting bone is just as important as your teeth.  Periodic professional cleaning is the best way help prevent gum (periodontal) disease and gain feedback on your maintenance routine.  Traditionally, check-ups and cleanings are scheduled every 6 months, but more frequent cleanings may be recommended.

Flossing mechanically cleans plaque from between your teeth where brushing doesn’t reach.  This decreases your chances of cavities between the teeth and helps prevent gum disease from starting between your teeth.  Floss once a day.  Floss types include unwaxed, waxed, tape, and silicone coated.  In general, waxed floss will shred less than unwaxed if your teeth have many restorations between them, but it feels thicker.  Silicone coated floss seems to slide easiest and also shreds less.

We recommend only soft bristle toothbrushes and any toothpaste with the American Dental Association Seal of Approval.  The seal means that the toothpaste has the proper amount of fluoride and is not too abrasive.  The brand of toothbrush is not as important as how the brush feels in your hand and fits in your mouth, that it has soft bristles, and that you brush gently under the gum line.  Similarly, as long as the toothpaste has the ADA Seal, your choice depends on personal preference for taste and consistency (gel, paste, etc.).  Toothpaste made especially for sensitive teeth does help many people with sensitivity to cold, and “anti-tartar” toothpaste does make tartar easier to remove for patients who routinely develop heavy tartar build-up.

You can do a good or poor job with either.  Both should have soft bristles and both should be used in a gentle circular motion at the gum line to clean the area between the tooth and gum.  Use all toothbrushes for 3 minutes, at lease twice a day.  For patients with arthritis or those of us a little lazy, electric toothbrushes may seem easier.

Bleaching treatment uses a form of peroxide to whiten the enamel layer of teeth.  Please note that restorations will not bleach and therefore may not match your teeth after bleaching.  Bleaching does not appear to harm teeth.  Pregnant women should not bleach their teeth.  Sensitivity during the bleaching gel application is the most common side effect.  The whitening effect remains for a substantial time period but naturally individual result vary and cannot be predicted beforehand.  Exposing whitened teeth to stains such as tea, smoking, wine, coffee, etc., will darken them again.

Dental sealants are most often applied to the biting surface of newly erupted adult molars.  They are a preventive procedure used to seal the grooves to keep out plaque and bacteria before any decay can begin.  The procedure is non-invasive and requires no anesthesia.  Sealant fees are less than restoration fees and some dental insurance companies do cover sealants.

We use composite “white” filling material because we can “bond” or glue composite to tooth.  This allows us to remove less tooth material because the preparation does not need to be shaped to mechanically hold the filling.  Silver amalgam filling material does contain mercury, but is safe to use because the mercury is chemically bound to other elements in the final restoration.  In some rare instances, composite fillings cannot be placed and we still use silver amalgam.

The loss of a tooth can have many consequences including shifting of adjacent or opposing teeth, more stress on the remaining teeth, and more treatment and expense to replace the tooth.  Therefore, if a broken down or painful tooth can be saved, it is preferable and less expensive to removing and replacing it.

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