Yes, we will work with your dental coverage.

Dental insurance is a tricky subject. When looking at it from a patient’s point of view there is a good reason to pay a company to help with coverage for dental treatment. Dental insurance allows the patient to feel they can afford dental care. The person feels covered, taken care of, and protected. There is also a dark side when considering coverage for dental treatment. It is the business side of the insurance game. In the same way a used car salesman will exaggerate the positive points when you are looking at a car, such as the new tires and the spiffy spare tire in the trunk or the jack which is included, and will downplay the negative, possible past accidents, you should be prepared to ask questions to get the most of what you pay for. The insurance brokers are selling to a customer’s needs, not necessarily to satisfy a patient’s needs. A person’s expectations of what they have paid for can often leave a bad taste in their mouth when they show up at their dental office with their shiny, new dental insurance card and find out what their “benefits” are or are not.

The question, “Do you take my insurance?” can be too vague of a question when calling to search for a dentist. Why? Because most offices can and will accept benefits from any company that is providing coverage for its customers. Most offices will also file the dental claims for the services provided by the dentist. What you want to know is, “I am covered with Company X, is your doctor a preferred provider with that company?” Or, “Is Dr. X. contracted with Company X? I am looking to save money by using a network provider.” If your goal is to save money, don’t be afraid to say so. You are more likely to have your expectations met if you are clear in what you are seeking. Another possibility to consider is that your policy will dictate which dentist you use by withholding payment, unless you use a dentist contracted with that company. If you like the choice to be yours, be sure your policy allows you to choose your dentist.

Currently, the office where I spend my day, the dentist has decided to be contracted with one company. The question often comes up as to why the doctor is not signed up with more insurance companies. I will explain, you may not like what I have to say, but here it goes. He prefers to provide dentistry to his patients in a low-volume, less-rushed environment so that the he can spend quality time with each person. We want our patients to feel comfortable while they are here and that takes time and personal attention. The relaxing atmosphere can be lost when you are pushed to do more for less, which can happen depending on how many companies the dentist is contracted with.  This is due to the discounts and adjustments which are made when a provider becomes contracted with each company. Plus, a dental office patient load will most likely increase because insurance companies will promote their contracted providers. A contract can limit your choices, be sure you get what you pay for.

A great way to find a dentist is to ask around. If your company provides insurance there is a big probability that others in your workplace have found someone they trust, like, and the dental office works well with the insurance company which covers the company’s employees. Your friends and coworkers will often give you the low down on the office too. Such as sharing which is their favorite hygienist or dental assistant and the little things that make their dentist, “THE BEST!” We love inside referrals, because that shows that we are doing something right.

There is more to this story, so stay in touch and keep in mind that Knowledge is Power. The more you know about your individual dental insurance policy, the more empowered you become about your dental health.

Keep brushing!

It’s just a cleaning…..Uh, nope!

I hear this a lot from people when they want to reschedule their preventative recall appointments without the guilt.

“I need to move my appointment. It’s just a cleaning, right?”

It's just a cleaning, right? Nope, we need to check things out and make sure we keep you in tip-top shape.
It’s just a cleaning, right? Nope, we need to check things out and make sure we keep you in tip-top shape.

Is the Taj Mahal just a building? Of course not! Was Monet just a painter? You could look at it that way, but his efforts made him an artist. Is Disney World just a theme park? No, of course not because it’s the happiest place on Earth. These are just a few examples of places and things that have taken effort to become what they are known for today.

Let’s look at what happens during a preventative hygiene recall dental appointment.

 The steps may be different from here, but here we go.

One of the trained professionals, whether that be a dental assistant, hygienist, or dentist will review your medical history to be sure that any medical changes are noted. It is very important to keep your dental team informed as to what has been going on medically with you for the last 6 months. There may have been changes in your medication. Some people don’t understand how that could affect their dental health. Well, the changes in medication could cause changes in your mouth, such as dry mouth, which could  leave you more prone to decay and gum disease.  If you want the how and why a dry mouth is bad, add a comment. And what about surgeries? If you believe they don’t affect your mouth and your mouth can have an affect on those surgical areas, think again. If you have any type of joint replacement surgery, it is often recommended that you take an antibiotic before having dental treatment. This is to protect your heart from possible infection. You are an enclosed, all-inclusive, dynamic, one-of-a-kind machine and all parts affect the others.

Next you get to relax, lay back, and get ready to have someone taking care of you for the next hour or so. Bring headphones if you like to listen to music and if you are anxiety-prone be sure to ask for the nitrous oxide.

A thorough check of your mouth will begin. Each tooth is checked for decay (or cavities) and cracks, the pockets around your teeth are measured (have you been flossing or not?) and are there signs of cancer. CANCER-that is a big deal and it is a real reason to see the dentist regularly. If you participate in activities that put you at a higher risk for oral cancer, you really should see the dentist every 6 months.

We have all heard the risks-alcohol and tobacco use which includes smoking and smokeless tobacco. But there is a growing concern about the HPV or human papillomavirus. This is a virus that can cause warts and certain types of cancer. I am not an expert on this, but for more information and pictures visit www.oralcancerfoundation.com or search “HPV and oral cancer.” Again, I stress that if you have risk factors for oral cancer, stick to the 6 month recall visits to check for cancer during those visits. We as dental professionals are not here to judge your personal habits, but to do what we can to help you stay healthy.

The “cleaning” or dental prophylaxis time of the visit happens when the hygienist will begin to physically remove any debris, buildup, and stain from the teeth. If flossing is not one of your routine habits, this is the time when it will show. “She made my gums bleed.” Uh, no that is not true. The bacteria living and thriving in the pockets around your teeth are helping to make your gums bleed. BLEEDING=INFECTION The bacteria and their community are being disrupted and cleared away. A point to remember: The more time you spend at home on your maintaining your teeth and gums, the less time you will need to see your dentist’s chair.  If you want to blame something for the bleeding, blame the bacteria. If you want to blame someone for the bleeding, name your bacteria. There are tons of other ways we could go with the cleaning portion, like discussing all the difficult-to-impossible to remove stains the hard-working hygienist has to break a wrist in trying to remove without the use of a chisel and also the debris left behind due to years of not having a cleaning, but I will keep those stories for another time. Cleaning is cleaning and when someone else is doing the cleaning, we have a tendency to diminish the efforts involved. If you want to limit the time our professionals are in your mouth, spend more time in your mouth at home.

Okay, next is to check the health of the teeth. “My teeth are fine, nothing hurts.” That may be true, but it is the underlying problems that we are trying to catch before they become BIG, PAINFUL problems. I would think this concept would be appreciated, but the cost of treatment often trumps our efforts to take care of small issues when they are small. Here is a simple formula for dental treatment: A filling will cost less than a crown. A crown will cost less than a root canal and crown. And they all tend to cost less than pulling a tooth and replacing with an implant and restoring the implant with a crown.

What other issues are addressed during the preventative recall and evaluation appointment? Well, the issue of bad breath does come up occasionally. What causes bad breath? It may indicate a deeper problem like a sinus infection or GERD, but bacteria is usually is the culprit. The bacteria can be in the bleeding pockets or they could be living and thriving in the cavity you have decided not take care of “until it bothers you.” While you are waiting for the tooth to hurt enough to cause you pain and suffering, the bacteria could be causing your breath to become, well kinda rank. The bacteria are working on breaking down the tooth structure causing the tooth to decay and breakdown. If you have ever gotten to savor the smell of a compost pile on a day when the temp is 98.6 degrees, then you may have an idea of what smells could be produced from that cavity in your mouth. I would never tell someone that their breath is baaaddddd, but I sure am thinking it as I put my head down and turn away. Would you like a mint?

Another home for bacteria is the tongue. How many people really scrape their tongues daily? I do, but I’ve seen too much stuff not to do that daily. I offer you a challenge. Take your fingernail (Gross, I know but hang with me.) and scrape it across your tongue…….What did you find? Would you like to share. I did not think so, but for those that want to share, please do so for the rest of us. That stuff, my friends, is a blanket of bacteria. Enough said.

Remember to brush or scrape your tongue
This is a person’s tongue that has the coating which would benefit from a tongue scraping. Notice the thick coating on top of the tongue. Bacteria…bacteria….bacteria.

Okay, so now your preventative recall and evaluation appointment is winding down. The fun is coming to an end. We have discussed your recent medical history, checked for oral cancer and gum disease, scraped the debris off the teeth, polished them to a bright & shiny state, and discussed the finding of any necessary dental treatment you need to schedule for next. Topical fluoride is an option, which I suggest taking when you can after having the teeth polished. Any questions you have thought about while lying there with your mouth open can and should be discussed before you leave they room. We definitely do not want you to leave unless you fully understand what has happened during your appointment and you have a chance to ask questions. Remember: Knowledge is power.

So I ask, is it “just a cleaning”? It doesn’t sound that way to me.

www.edmonddds.com

Welcome to our little corner of dentistry!

Dental office to the those seeking a caring, non-hurried environment for dental treatment.
Dental office to the those seeking a caring, non-hurried environment for dental treatment.

What a wonderful way to reach out and be involved with our patients and others! We are able to address concerns and questions that we encounter on a daily basis. The goal is to bring forth answers to questions that people often forget to ask until after they have left the office. Our hope is to educate, and maybe even entertain, while we are navigating to the answers you search.

A dental office visit can be a VERY scary adventure for some people, uncomfortable in the very least. BUT….our aim is to help you help yourself. Our team of trained dental professionals are here to help you in your quest for a happy, healthy mouth and smile. We have armed ourselves with some of the latest technologies to provide you with a road map to wellness. Our tools of the trade we have available in our office are used together with our education and experience to help provide you with the information you need to make educated choices about your dental health.

For some people the scariest part of visiting their friendly dental team is the financial part of the visit. But the dollar amounts associated with dentistry are only part of the full picture. Insurance companies and the policies they negotiate with their customers are often below standards to pay for the optimum, long-term treatment for their customers. Often the insurance language needs translation so our patients understand the benefits they have paid for with these companies. We hope to adequately address questions and concerns about insurance in the future.

I have said that we view ourselves as part of a team to help you help yourself to a happy, health mouth. I want to be clear that this does not mean that we will be expected to show up at your house or workplace to brush and floss your teeth for you. Nor does it mean that we will be able to sugar-coat some dental truths so that they are not painful or uncomfortable to hear or read. With knowledge you have power and that is an awesome first step, wouldn’t you agree? We look forward to hearing your concerns and questions in the future. This will help us to know what you want to know.
Thank you for your time and I look forward to the adventure!

http://www.edmonddds.com/