Dental Insurance: It's only part of the answer

Posted by Dr. Edward Magida | Filed under , , ,

Congratulations! You just landed that dream job you've been after for the past year. You get a car allowance, secretary, fancy office, cell phone and corporate credit card. Of course you'll also get medical and dental insurance. Medical insurance you've always had, but dental coverage is something new to you.
Let me give you a short course in dental insurance.

First of all, dental insurance started in the late 1950's. Back then the average maximum benefit was $1,000. Of course, the premium wasn't very high. And, a person could get a lot of dental treatment done for $1,000, 40 years ago.

The problem is that now, in the year 2000, most benefit maximums on average are still $1,000. If you need a couple of fillings and maybe a crown, your total fee could easily surpass that.

And, while this dinosaur of a figure, $1,000, has not changed, insurance premiums and dental fees are much higher than years before.

What's this all mean? It means that dental insurance should be looked at as a supplement. It is not all encompassing, but can be used to help pay for regular dental exams and hygiene visits. It's there to help pay for part of dental treatment fees.

I can't tell you how many people say they are not going to have a necessary procedure done because they are out of benefits. Or worse, a person finds out that crowns or bridges are not covered, and since they've been told their dental insurance is "the best" available, decide that because the procedure in not covered by their insurance company, it is not needed. (Ironically what the insurance company will pay for is the extraction of that tooth when it rots away.)

Do not let your insurance dictate what treatment you get. If something is not covered, that does not mean it is not needed. It just means that the policy you have does not have that kind of coverage. Look for better insurance and/or accept the fact that you are responsible for the most part, for the condition of your mouth.

Ask questions about the coverage available. If there is only one plan available at your place of employment ask why.

Dental insurance is not like medical insurance. Medical procedures can become very complex and extremely costly and potentially run into six figures for long standing illnesses or accidents. There is nothing in dentistry that even comes close to that potential. That's the reason for a lower benefit limit, and anyone with the need for any treatment that's more than just the basic, is going to incur out of pocket expenses.

With all the latest advances in cosmetic dental procedures, many people are upset to learn that insurance policies pay for very few of them. Insurance companies could care less that the poor appearance of a person's teeth keeps them from smiling.

Fortunately, many dental offices have established payment plans for people who need or want major dental work done. Many people are investing in their smiles because they know the payback will be phenomenal. To see the look on someone's face once they feel comfortable smiling again is priceless. It makes going to work a lot of fun.

Patients might consider financing dental treatment... why not?

Posted by Dr. Edward Magida | Filed under , , ,

We live in a world where just about everything can be financed and paid for over time. Cars, houses, school tuition, you name it and it can be financed if need be.

Credit card offers pile up in my mailbox daily and I sleep easier at night knowing that the new sofa I just ordered wo';t have any payment due until we vote for the next president. While one must be careful not to rack up payments on frivolous things, there is one area where this type of financing can make a big difference in a person's quality of life.

I'm referring to dental treatment financing.

With this in place, a persons' dental treatment can be paid out over time and no longer do a lot of patients need to put off or cancel treatment, either needed or desired, because of a lack of funds.

Suppose you have one or more teeth that are in need of fairly extensive treatment. Maybe you finally want to replace that upper right molar that has been missing for a few years. Perhaps now that you finally lost those 50 pounds, you want to finish the makeover and get smile enhancing porcelain veneers.
Many people need or want treatment but find their pocketbooks are not quite in sync.

Well, many dental offices offer ways to pay for the procedures over time. One way that's popular is to pay for the treatment interest free for 6-12 months. Another way is to pay over several years at a reduced interest rate.

In our office, many people take advantage of these programs and are able to get their dental treatment done when they want to. Instead of having to save up for a long time, or maybe wait for a tax refund, all the while hoping the car doesn't unexpectedly need repairs, you can get dental work done when you want to.

Quality dental work does cost money; there is no question about that. However, you should consider it a good investment. If it is not done in a timely basis, sometimes it could end up costing you more in the long run. Having another option available to pay for things is something you might want to ask your dentist about.

Dentistry... ENJOY!!

Posted by Dr. Edward Magida | Filed under , , ,

Over the years, I have found there to be a sort of universal saying that goes along with anything pertaining to food or eating. It used to be that I noticed it when I frequented Chinese restaurants. I would place my family's order, usually ordering way more than we needed for that meal so we could take home the rest for the next day, and then I would dig into the noodles on the table. Upon the waitpersons' arrival and serving our feast, he or she would always, and I mean always, upon placing the last dish, say "enjoy". Enjoy... as if the kitchen staff had gone out of their way to make all this food only for my family that night. Enjoy.... just hearing it being said after our meal was served made me feel great, like royalty.

Nowadays, it seems like I hear it being said all the time. Whenever we eat out, the server emphatically states "enjoy", before departing our table. I would like to think that the establishment is proud of the food they serve and are grateful that we want to spend our hard earned money there. I feel like my presence is recognized by this saying..."enjoy". Recently, while buying groceries at a local supermarket I had the same type of encounter. After loading all the goodies into my cart, the cashier looked up and stated a sincere "enjoy". The interesting thing is that now some of the individual food manufacturers are placing this on their foodstuffs. I was opening a can of peaches for a snack when I noticed that it said on the top of the can "Enjoy by 7/9/04". By this point I'm sure all of you are wondering why a dentist is writing all this stuff. Well, there is a reason for my madness, so to speak.

I stated before that the saying "enjoy" goes with things associated with food and eating. While it is possible to eat some foods without teeth, having them surely improves the process. I would like to group all kinds of things dentists see and do on a daily basis into one sentence, and then follow things with my new favorite word. For the person who finally gets the willpower to have all his hurting teeth taken care of... for the person who finally finds out that replacing your missing teeth makes your life better... for the person who has lost her self esteem because of an accident that knocked her front teeth out, and has finally decided to get some implants and crowns to get her beautiful smile back... to the elderly person in a nursing home whose denture keeps dropping out and has finally decided to have a new one made...to the people that have all their life not smiled a lot because they had teeth that were too dark or crooked or chipped or any combination of these, and have finally had a beautiful set of porcelain veneers or crowns placed... ENJOY!!!