THE UNTOLD FACTS ABOUT DENTAL INSURANCE
Do not let the lack of dental insurance keep you from visiting the dentist! Many times patients can actually save money in the long run without dental insurance. Our practice works with our patient’s to prioritize treatment to address dental problems in a timely and effective manner. Dental insurance is not like medical insurance! Dental insurance has a yearly maximum which it will pay on each patient. This amount is typically $1000 – $1500 per year. To put this in perspective, in 1970’s when dental insurance started the maximum was $1000. Inflation has caused expenses in all of our lives to increase dramatically over the years, yet dental insurance still pays at the same rate of over 40 years ago.
Dental insurance also has fee tables for reimbursement for each procedure. These tables are basically profit tables for the dental insurance company and have no pertinent relation to fees in your area. The dental insurance company also has waiting periods before benefits for many procedures can be reimbursed. These waiting periods are typically many months to sometimes a year. Dental insurance plans have exclusions for some procedures. In many cases if you are already missing a tooth prior to enrolling in your current plan, the coverage will not pay to replace the tooth. The dental insurance plan may also not cover many necessary procedures (e.g. bite adjustments, wear problems, implants, and more frequent cleanings to treat gum disease).
Many cheap dental plans are sold with closed panel participation (i.e. HMO’s and PPO’s). These plans limit your choice of dentists to those on your plan. They are basically contracts between dentists and dental insurance companies to cover your care. These types of practices typically have two types of care in their practice: 1) high quality private pay patients and 2) dental plan patients where materials and systems have to be compromised to meet the reduced fees of the plan. Closed panel dental practices typically are high volume and you may not see the same dentist during your treatment visits. Also, you need to be aware that some procedures may be performed to maximize your insurance benefits.
Our commitment to you is that we will only do what is necessary to help you obtain ideal dental health. We base your treatment on your dental needs and not your dental insurance or wallet. We work with patients to prioritize treatment to meet your needs and work within your budget. The bottom line is that if you have dental insurance as a benefit from your employer, then it will help to discount dental fees. If you are paying personally for dental insurance, then you will want to do the math to see if it makes sense to continue to pay the premiums after you meet the deductibles, co-pays, and annual maximum allowance. If you are purchasing dental insurance, you will also want to have freedom of choice of which dentists you may see in your plan. If you are going to base your dental health totally on dental insurance, remember that dental insurance cares more about their bottom line then your dental health.
WHAT STORY DOES YOUR SMILE TELL?
Every smile tells a story! If you are not happy with the story your smile tells, then it is time to consider a smile make-over. Cosmetic dentistry offers a variety of options to improve the appearance of your teeth and smile. Sometimes a simple whitening procedure can dramatically change dull, dark teeth to a brighter more youthful appearance. Broken teeth, worn edges, and stained, old fillings and crowns can keep you from feeling confident about your smile. In these cases, cosmetic dentistry can restore years of wear and tear to your teeth.
Whitening procedures are most economical cosmetic dentistry treatment. Our practice can evaluate your smile to determine if a whitening procedure will benefit to you. Existing dental fillings and crowns can compromise the success of whitening. Our practice offers tray whitening and laser whitening procedures. Tray whitening involves wearing custom bleaching trays at home for one week to brighten teeth. Impressions are taken in our office to fabricate bleaching trays and the optimum bleaching solution is prescribed based on a number of factors. Laser whitening provides immediate brighter teeth in about one hour in our office. The results of both types of whitening are maintained with touch-up trays used approximately once a month.
Cosmetic dentistry can dramatically change the appearance of your teeth and smile. Old worn teeth can be revitalized with ceramic veneers and crowns. The appearance of the surrounding gum tissue also can be altered with a laser to make teeth look more natural. The number of teeth treated to improve a smile varies with each person. Smile make-overs utilize cutting-edge technology to make a smile look years younger.
Ceramic veneers can improve your smile with thin ceramic facings bonded to the front of your teeth. Veneers allow us to conserve tooth structure to keep your teeth strong. Existing crowns can now be updated with more natural all-ceramic crowns. Sometimes simply replacing an old crown is all that is necessary to improve your smile.
Dr. Willey has trained extensively in cosmetic dentistry in the United States and Brazil. He has also lectured on cosmetic dentistry to his colleagues for the Florida Dental Association. Dr.Willey utilizes the latest up-to-date materials and procedures to change smiles. A thorough cosmetic consultation can determine which procedure will improve the appearance of your smile. You are never too old to have cosmetic procedures to brighten your smile. Our practice offers a complimentary cosmetic consultation to discuss your options to allow you to smile with confidence and feel younger!
WHY DO I NEED TO SEE A DENTAL SPECIALIST?
The quarterback for your favorite football team cannot play every position to the highest skill level. It is impossible for the quarterback to become a great passer and at the same time become a great tackler and kicker and receiver! The same analogy is true in dentistry. The requirements for a general dentist to become proficient in every aspect of dentistry are not feasible with regards to the investment in time and technology.
Patients frequently want to know why Dr. Willey refers them to a dental specialist for periodontal (gum) disease, endodontic (root canal treatment) issues, orthodontics (braces/Invisalign), implant placement, and removal of third molars (wisdom teeth). Dr. Willey feels that his patients should receive the optimum care for their dental problems. With all of the advances in technology and treatment for dental problems, it is impossible for Dr. Willey to be up to date and proficient in every aspect of dental treatment. Dr. Willey specializes in developing treatment plans to insure that his patients obtain optimum dental health with the best outcome. Each treatment plan utilizes the best treatment approach to insure excellence and comfort. Dr. Willey directs his patients to a specialist when he feels that the patient will receive the best care to insure the best prognosis.
Studies show that the success rates for many procedures from root canals to implants to braces are dramatically higher when a dental specialist provides treatment. The specialists that Dr. Willey uses are up to date on the most advanced procedures and are able to handle complications should they arise. The specialists are not limited on their treatment approaches. Our specialists utilize microscopes and imaging which most general dentists do not have available. This technology improves the outcomes for dental treatment for root canals, implants, and periodontal disease. Also, a general dentist who advertises Invisalign usually does not do conventional braces. There are times when Invisalign is not the best treatment for orthodontic issues.
Dr. Willey strives to provide the best restorative care to insure a beautiful smile and comfortable, healthy teeth. He will recommend a dental specialist when he feels that your dental health will benefit from their treatment. Dr. Willey will be happy to discuss why he is referring you to a specific specialist.
Radiographs (X-rays) are necessary to provide Dr. Willey and his staff valuable information to properly diagnose and treat your dental problems. Our practice utilizes Dexis digital radiography. This technology allows us to reduce your exposure to radiation by 50%! Dexis radiography allows our practice to see images immediately so we can determine if a different view of a patient’s teeth is needed to aid in diagnosis.
The new digital radiography is friendly to the environment since it eliminates chemicals from our practice and eliminates paper copies. This technology also saves you time in the dental chair. Our practice routinely exposes bitewing radiographs once a year at one of your preventive visits. The bitewing radiographs allow our practice to compare the status of teeth, supporting bone, and decay from year-to-year. Our practice recommends a full series of radiographs every 5-7 years. Dr. Willey will recommend an appropriate interval for full series of radiographs depending on your decay and periodontal (gum) disease susceptibility.
With digital radiography, we are also able to e-mail high definition x-rays to specialists and to Northern dentists for our winter patients. Our staff and Dr. Willey will be happy to answer any questions or concerns about radiographs. We strive to minimize your exposure to radiation but still obtain valuable information to detect problems before they become major issues.
Dentistry is entering a new and exciting era of technology. Our practice has utilized lasers in patient treatment for 20 years. We recently incorporated a new Biolase iPlus Laser into our treatment. This new laser allows us to treat many cavities without anesthesia. It also can be used to treat periodontal (gum) disease without traditional gum surgery. We also can perform surgical procedures, such as biopsies and tooth removal, with less bleeding and post-operative discomfort. In the future you will likely experience this new laser in many aspects of your care in our office. The iPlus helps our practice to provide an even higher level of excellence in our treatment.
We were one of the first offices to utilize e-mail and text communications to verify appointments. As these services develop, we strive to improve our communications with our patients. You will notice a change from our past provider to GURU. This service will provide you with reminders of your appointments. In addition, you will receive information about important dental issues and treatment we recommended. Please contact our office if you have questions or suggestions to improve our communication with you.