Insurance/ Financial Responsibilities

  • We accept most insurance plans. If you have any questions regarding your benefits, please   ask our staff prior to your visit.
  • Please bring your insurance information, along with any forms, with you to your appointment.
  • We ask that you pay your co-payment at each visit.
  • We offer payment arrangements; however these must be arranged in advance of treatment.

Due to the many changes in insurance policies, it is no longer an easy task to interpret each individual policy. Although we try to stay aware of the changes, it is not always possible. Therefore, it is your responsibility to know your individual coverage. Failing to do so will result in you, the patient, being responsible for all costs incurred. Please remember that your insurance policy is between you and your insurance company, not between the insurance company and the dentist. If for any reason insurance does not pay in a reasonable time, payment will be expected from the patient. Most importantly, we are here to help in any way we can, and look forward to meeting your dental needs. Again, welcome to our practice!

Understanding your dental benefits is not easy. There are as many different plans as there are contracts. Your employer has selected your plan and is ultimately responsible for how your contract is designed. Remember, whether your plan covers a major portion of your dental bill, or only a small amount, dental benefits are good for patients because they help pay for needed treatment.

It is important to know that each contract will specify what types of procedures are considered for benefits. Even if a procedure is medically and dentally necessary, it may be excluded from your contract. This does not mean that you do not need the procedure. It simply means that your plan will not consider the procedure for payment. For example, cosmetic procedures and implants are often excluded from a dental plan.

It is a mistake to let benefits be your sole consideration when you determine what you want to do about your dental condition.

Many patients have questions regarding their dental benefits. While the employee benefits coordinator where you work can best answer your questions, the following may help.

Insurance FAQ

What insurance companies are accepted?

Delta PPO, BCBS, Blue Care Network, Cigna, Guardian, Humana, United Healthcare, ADN and Dentemax Network.  We dont accept Medicaid or any HMO plans.

Why doesn't my insurance cover all the costs for my dental treatment?

The employer usually buys a plan based on the amount of the benefit and how much the premium costs per month. Most benefit plans are only designed to cover a portion of the total cost.

But my plan says that my exams and certain other procedures are covered 100%.

That 100% is usually what the insurance carrier allows as payment toward the procedure, not what your dentist or any other dentist in your area may actually charge. For example, say your dentist charges $80 for an examination (not counting x-rays). Your carrier may allow $60 as the 100% payment for that examination, leaving $20 for you to pay.

If my plan does not really cover any procedures at 100%, why does it say it will?

Benefit plan booklets are often difficult to understand. If any part of your plan is not clear to you or if you think something is wrong concerning what your plan covers, you should contact your Employee Benefits Coordinator or the Human Resource department where you work.

How does my insurance carrier come up with its allowed payments?

Many carriers refer to their allowed payments as UCR, which stands for usual, customary and reasonable. However, usual, customary and reasonable does not really mean exactly what it seems to mean. UCR is actually a listing of payments for all covered procedures negotiated by your employer and the insurance company. This listing is related to the cost of the premiums and there you are located in your city and state. Your employer has likely selected an allowed payment or UCR payment that corresponds to the premium cost they desire. UCR payments could be more accurately called negotiated payments.

Since the payments are negotiated, does this mean that there s always a balance left for me to pay?

Typically there is always a portion that is not covered by your benefit plan.

If I always have a balance to pay, what good is my insurance?

Even a benefit plan that does not cover a large portion of the cost of needed dentistry pays something. Any amount covered reduces what you have to pay out of pocket. It helps!

I received an Explanation of Benefits from my insurance carrier that says my dental bill exceeded the usual and customary. Does this mean that my dentist is charging more than he/she should?

Remember that what insurance carriers call usual and customary is really just what your employer and the insurance company have negotiated as the amount that will be paid toward your treatment. It is usually less and frequently much less than what any dentist in your area might actually charge for a dental procedure. It does not mean that your dentist is charging too much.

Is there an annual maximum on my benefits?

Yes. Maximums limit what a carrier will cover each year on your plan. Should you exceed your yearly maximum, you will be responsible for paying the dentist the balance for the services you had done.  We make every effort to make sure you dont go over, however, outstanding claims may prohibit us from having an accurate balance at the time services are rendered. It is your responsibility to notify us if you had treatments done in another office or with a specialist.

Why do some benefit plans require me to select a dentist from a list?

Usually the dentists on the list have agreed to a contract with the benefit plan. These contracts have restrictions and requirements. If you choose a dentist on the list, you typically will pay less toward your dental care than if you choose a dentist not on the list. If your dentist is not on the list, this does not mean that something is wrong with the dentist or the office.

 

Why won't my insurance pay anything toward some procedures, such as x-rays, cleanings, and gum treatments?

Your plan contract specifies how many of certain types of procedures it will consider annually. It limits the number of x-rays, cleanings, and gum treatments it will cover because these are the types of treatments that many people need to have frequently.

I know that my insurance plan doesn't go into effect until next month. Why won't my dentist do my treatment today, but send in the claim next month so that the insurance will pay?

State laws regulate these issues. It is insurance fraud to change the dates of service on a claim. Both the patient and the dentist can be prosecuted.


 

Infants

Infants should be seen by our office after the first six months of age, and at least by the child's first birthday. By this time, the baby's first teeth, or primary teeth, are beginning to erupt and it is a critical time to spot any problems before they become big concerns.

Conditions like gum irritation and thumb-sucking could create problems later on. Babies who suck their thumbs may be setting the stage for malformed teeth and bite relationships.

Another problem that can be spotted early is a condition called "baby bottle tooth decay," which is caused by sugary substances in breast milk and some juices, which combine with saliva to form pools inside the baby's mouth.

If left untreated, this can lead to premature decay of your baby's future primary teeth, which can later hamper the proper formation of permanent teeth.

One of the best ways to avoid baby bottle tooth decay is to not allow your baby to nurse on a bottle while going to sleep. Avoid dipping pacifiers in sweet substances such as honey, because this only encourages early decay in the baby's mouth. Encouraging your young child to drink from a cup as early as possible will also help stave off the problems associated with baby bottle tooth decay.

Teething, Pacifiers and Thumb-Sucking

Teething is a sign that your child's gums are sore. This is perfectly normal. You can help relieve this by allowing the baby to suck on a teething ring, or gently rubbing your baby's gums with the back of a small spoon, a piece of wet gauze, or even your finger.

For babies under the age of 4, teething rings and pacifiers can be safely used to facilitate the child's oral needs for relieving gum pain and for suckling. After the age of 4, pacifiers are generally discouraged because they may interfere with the development of your child's teeth.

Moreover, thumb-sucking should be strongly discouraged because it can lead to malformed teeth that become crooked and crowded.

Primary and Permanent Teeth

Every child grows 20 primary teeth, usually by the age of 3. These teeth are gradually replaced by the age of 12 or so with a full set of 28 permanent teeth, and later on, four molars called "wisdom teeth."

It is essential that a child's primary teeth are healthy, because their development sets the stage for permanent teeth. If primary teeth become diseased or do not grow in properly, chances are greater that their permanent replacements will suffer the same fate. For example, poorly formed primary teeth that don't erupt properly could crowd out spaces reserved for other teeth. Space maintainers can sometimes be used to correct this condition, if it is spotted early enough.

Brushing

Babies' gums and teeth can be gently cleaned with special infant toothbrushes that fit over your finger. Water is suitable in lieu of toothpaste (because the baby may swallow the toothpaste). Parents are advised to avoid fluoride toothpastes on children under the age of 2.

Primary teeth can be cleansed with child-sized, soft-bristled toothbrushes. Remember to use small portions of toothpaste (a pea-sized portion is suitable), and teach your child to spit out, not swallow, the toothpaste when finished.

Fluoride

Fluoride is generally present in most public drinking water systems. If you are unsure about your community's water and its fluoride content, or learn that it has an unacceptable level of fluoride in it, there are fluoride supplements your dentist can prescribe. Your child may not be getting enough fluoride just by using fluoride toothpaste.

Toothaches

Toothaches can be common in young children. Sometimes, toothaches are caused by erupting teeth, but they also could indicate a serious problem.

You can safely relieve a small child's toothache without the aid of medication by rinsing the mouth with a solution of warm water and table salt. If the pain doesn't subside, acetaminophen may be used. If such medications don't help, contact your dentist immediately.

Injuries

You can help your child prevent oral injuries by closely supervising him during play and not allowing the child to put foreign objects in the mouth.

For younger children involved in physical activities and sports, mouth guards are strongly encouraged, and can prevent a whole host of injuries to the teeth, gums, lips and other oral structures.

Mouth guards are generally small plastic appliances that safely fit around your child's teeth. Many mouth guards are soft and pliable when opened, and mold to the child's teeth when first inserted.

If the tooth has been knocked out, try to place the tooth back in its socket while waiting to see our office.  Remember to hold the dislocated tooth by the crown—not the root. If you cannot relocate the tooth, place it in a container of cold milk, saline or the victim's own saliva. Place the tooth in the solution.

First, rinse the mouth of any blood or other debris and place a cold cloth or compress on the cheek near the injury. This will keep down swelling.

For a fractured tooth, it is best to rinse with warm water and again, apply a cold pack or compress. Ibuprofen may be used to help keep down swelling.

If the tooth fracture is minor, the tooth can be sanded or if necessary, restored by the dentist if the pulp is not severely damaged.

If a child's primary tooth has been loosened by an injury or an emerging permanent tooth, try getting the child to gently bite down on an apple or piece of caramel; in some cases, the tooth will easily separate from the gum.

Irritation caused by retainers or braces can sometimes be relieved by placing a tiny piece of cotton or gauze on the tip of the wire or other protruding object. If an injury occurs from a piece of the retainer or braces lodging into a soft tissue, contact our office immediately and avoid dislodging it yourself.

Sealants

Sealants fill in the little ridges on the chewing part of your teeth to protect and seal the tooth from food and plaque. The application is easy to apply and typically last for several years.


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