For good or bad, our phone rings off the hook from October through December with patients frantically trying to use up their dental insurance benefits before year end. It is true, most dental insurance coverage limits are capped and reset each Janauary. So how do you get the most out of your dental insurance before year end? Here are a few tips:
1. Use It or Loose It
All patients are aware they have dental benefits, about 80% know their annual benefit cap, about 50% use some of their dental benefits each year, and only 20% maximize their dental insurance. Per a recent study, about half of American's have dental insurance. The math is easy - only 10% of American's are maximizing their dental insurance? Are you one of them? If you don't use it by year end, you will loose it. Know your benefits and use them.
2. Know Your Dental Insurance Benefits
"Is this covered by my dental insurance" is the most common question patients ask when checking out. Of the 1,000 or so plans out there, we try out best to have a general idea of the varying coverages, but for the most part, here are some general rules of thumb that you should know:
- Cleanings, exams, and x-rays are generally 100% covered
- Fillings and periodontal treatment are usually 80% covered
- Crowns and root canals are mostly 50-70% covered
- Implants and whiteing are usually not covered
Your dental insurance payor will provide you with coverage levels and limits, usually on their website. We will point you in the right direction to know your benefits, but ultimately you need to know yourself the details of your plan so you can take advantage of it. We accept most dental insurances and will submit your insurance claim for you, saving you time.
3. Get Your Cleaning in October
I say October because it is only a few days away. What I am telling you is get your cleaning now, before its too late! And cleanings are usually FREE (a covered benefit). If you are one of the 20% that get a regular cleaning, great! If not, stop reading and call right now (617) 625-0543. Mention this blog and ask our patient coordinator to give you a 5% discount...tell them Rob said. And if you are so on the ball that you have already maximized your benefits, excellent! You can skip to #5. If you are out of benefits but are still in pain or need treatment, call us and we can help you arrange treatment financing.
4. Schedule Quality Treatment Immediately
It is an interesting fact that 70-80% of the time, any random patient in for a new patient appointment will need some form of dental treatment. That could be in the form of fillings, deep scaling, crowns, or even a root canal. It is likely that this is coorelated to the fact that only 20% of insured patients actually use their benefits. As good dentist's schedules get booked before year end, it is important that you get your needed treatment on the calendar - from a high quality dentist. Don't let those unused free insurance dollars go to waste. Remember, you have been paying for your insurance likely through payroll deductions - and those coverage dollars are yours!
5. Establish Good Dental Habits
For every $100 you pay in dental benefits, you receive $200-300 of dental treatment. For example, if you have $1,500 of annual coverage, you probably paid somewhere around $500 for those benefits. So why not be part of the 20% that uses your dental benefits. That will undoubtedly mean you are one of those getting your regular cleanings, brushing your teeth after meals, and flossing regularly. The dollars work in your favor.
Maximixe your dental benefits NOW and schedule an appointment today!
By Robert J. Linder
West Somerville Dental
124 College Avenue
Somerville, MA 02144
Is your dentist boring? Not these guys. Here are the Top 5 Funniest Dental scene's of all time.
5. Pink Panther Strikes Again (1976)
In this classic scene, Peter Sellers (aka "Inspector Clouseau") disguises as a dentist to perpetrate the castle of an evil spy and enjoys a little too much nitrous oxide along with his would be patient.
4. Lethal Weapon 4 (1998)
Joe Peschi starts the scene pretending to be a patient to break into a dental office to get information. Add Danny Glover, Mel Gibson, and Chris Rock and an over dose of laughing gas and a drill and you will roll out of your chair laughing.
3. Little Shop of Horrors (1986)
And the winner is...Steve Martin's "It's good to be a dentist" solo tied with the following scene with Bill Murray. Bill's famous line, "I think I need a root canal" will be quoted for years to come. Take a peek for yourself.
2. David After Dentist - Home Video
And taking home the Oscar in a category by itself. The funniest home dental video award goes to "David After Dentist," the most watched non-film home dental clip on the internet - sporting over 68 million views.
1. Tim Conway Dentist Skit - The Carol Burnet Show (1975)
This skit was sent in via FB yesterday and moves up to the number one spot on our list. Enjoy some classic and clean comedy from our early years...I believe I was 5 when this came out. Enjoy!
We hope you enjoyed these clips. Mention this blog when you schedule an appointment online at West Somerville Dental and we will give you a 5% discount off a dental implant, root canal, dental crown, denture, or teeth whitening from your #1 Somerville dentist. Bring a friend and get an additional 5% discount!
West Somerville Dental Associates
124 College Avenue
Somerville, MA 02144
Patients will often ask if it is cheaper to fly overseas for an implant or root canal. I lived in Brazil for five years and I have some credibility on this subject. They are surprised with my immediate answer, and asI explain it begins to make sense to them. Here is what I say.
Dental Implant Cost - US ($1,800 to $2,200)
You will spend about $3,000 to have a dental implant placed in Brazil or Mexico compared to $2,000 in the US. The material cost alone to a doctor for a good dental implant and abutment is about $500; this is for a solid titanium implant from Biomet 3i, Nobel Biocare, or Straumann. Other products exist but are of significantly less quality and may not osseointegrate into the bone as well.
Now add on digital radiography. A good dentist will take not only a periapical x-ray, but a panoramic x-ray and in some cases a 3-D imaging and bone density scanning of the dental implant area. These x-rays are vital to avoiding nerves and maximizing bone usage during implant placement.
A good doctor (from any country) will spend three or more appointments before an implant is finished. This includes the consult, dental imaging, the implant placement, the post operative check, uncovering the implant and taking crown impressions, and the final placement of the implant abutment and crown. Each appointment requires materials and staffing time. Anyone telling you differently is using sub-standard materials or is cutting out steps.
Out of pocket, you may pay at the low end $1,500 for an implant from a high volume producer (watch for cheap implants) or pay around $3,000 at the high end. There are some practices that will charge more, but there are no real discernable medical benefits in the form of quality or product. Assuming one can get the implant locally, a good implant in the US runs around $2,250 including the abutment. The implant crown is separate.
Dental Implant Cost - Mexico ($3,000)
Surprised at the cost of an implant in Mexico? I would think so. You can find on the internet dental implants in Brazil, India, or Mexico for as low as $500 per implant. So let me explain why they actually cost you more.
In Business School they talk about hidden costs. These are the costs that one must incur to get a product or service. For implants, these costs are often twice that of the procedure. First, look at travel. I am in Boston and the average airfare to Mexico is about $500, to Brazil even higher. Once in Mexico, transportation will cost at least $50, and food and lodging upwards of $250, assuming you will be there two days. Factor in now the cost of lost revenue from work; missing two days, could cost you another $200 or more. Now multiply this by two, which is bare minimum amount of trips you will need to have your implant placed according to the standards of the American Dental Association. What is the motivation for that dentist to follow up on your care if you live in another country and may likely never return? Zero! Add it all up, and your total out of pocket cost is higher than having the implant done in the US - are you amazed yet?
- Implants in the US are less expensive than implants internationally.
- Quality implants matter.
- Beware of the hidden costs of foreign treatment.
- Do not dismiss follow up care.
Let me end with this. My sister-in-law needed a root canal and I could have done it for her, but instead I suggested she have it done locally. Why, because I care about my sister-in-law. I saw the x-rays and I knew she would need to have multiple visits, and the cost for her to fly out and see me would have exceeded her cost to have it done locally. By staying local, she would get the best quality of care. And that, to me, is good dentistry.
Click here to read about quality dental implants, including an animated video on dental implant placement. Or save a trip to Mexico and schedule your complimentry West Somerville dental implant consultation today. We want to be your Somerville dentist.
David R. Steuer, DMD, MMSc.
The Harvard School of Dental Medicine, 1999-2002
Dental Specialists of Maine, 2002 to Present
It is official, adults can get braces and still be cool and famous! Tom did it in 2002, at 40 years of age, in between filming Minority Report and The Last Samurai. Compare his smile in Jerry Maguire to his new pearly whites in Valkyrie - not bad Tom, who's your Somerville dentist!
We'll I am certainly not Tom Cruise, though I think my wife wishes I am, but I too am 40 and I am sporting some shiny metal braces myself. Granted, I did select white brackets to hide what bling I could, and as long as I don't eat Indian food, the color tends to remain white.
So why did I not chose Invisalign if I am so concerned with my smile - I was also not a candidate based on the way my teeth needed to move. I didn't just get braces for my smile. The biggest reason was to get my bite aligned so I would stop cracking my teeth. And it's working - after 24 months I can already tell a major difference in my contacts. A pearly white smile will be an add on to my new ability to bit into a steak or an apple.
And its not just the men that are doing it. Famous No Doubt lead singer Gwen Stephani shocked her fans in 1999 when she posed for this metalic smile. No she did not go to a Somerville Dentist, more likely someone in Hollywood.
More and more adults are opting for braces to impove their smile and bite. The way braces are priced, they are really very affordable. One upfront cost to get the brackets on followed by 12-24 months of small payments. It's not a bad way to go and you can solve a lot of dental problems by fixing your bite. And if Invisalign works for you, even better!
At West Somerville Dental, we do not provide orthodontic services, but we work with an orthodontic genious. In my opinion, Dr. Mo Rizkallah (Dr. Riz) is the best Somerville Orthodontist in town - litterally a few blocks down. He not only takes care of me, but my kids and my friends. In fact, one of my best friends (mid 40's) got his braces on today and he reported around 6pm that all was well.
Dr. Riz works directly with our Somerville dentist, Dr. Alvi and our Prosthodontist, Dr. Mediouni to treatment plan our cases - which is the best practice for cooperative orthodontics and prosthodontic care. Visit Dr. Riz's website at www.veryniceteeth.com to schedule your Complimentry Orthodontic Exam. Tell him Rob from West Somerville Dental sent you and they will roll out the red carpet.
So give yourself a reason to smile again and get those braces on! And if you're looking for a great Somerville dental practice, give us a call or register online for an appointment.
West Somerville Dental
iDental Kids proudly presents their very first video production, "How to Brush Your Teeth", filmed on location at West Somerville Dental.
The girls (9) and (7) wrote the script and identified the props. Little brother (5) played the patient. Baby sister (3) wandered the office pushing buttons. Dad filmed. Not only did they girls produce a great three minute "show" as they call it, but they are very funny and had a great time dancing - little brother was a good sport. We put the wrong domain on the sign, it should read smilesomerville.com.
The tooth brushing and flossing training paid off tonight when my (3) year old ran into the bathroom shouting "I need to brush my teeth" as I tried to get her to bed. I could have done without the four feet of floss on the floor and blue toothpaste on the new carpet, but who cares about carpet anyway! Good habits will last a lifetime.
We hope your kids will enjoy their first trips to the dentist after watching this entertaining short Somerville Dentist clip. And yes, we can get you the Sonicare toothbrushes for kids and adults at a great discount price - as we are a premier provider and get deals.
Thanks kids for a very fun labor day movie making party! And to all those who watched, click the link below and you can receive 5% off your next dental appointment when you schedule online.
By Robert Linder
Home Movie Producer
Father of Five
Dental Office Director
As a favor for a friend, we are posting this link to a questionnaire for DENTISTS ONLY about practice advisory services. The results of these questions could shape the future of the dental industry. West Somerville Dental is excited to play a tiny part of helping improve dentistry and increase the quality of care and patient satisfaction.
Thank you for your participation. If you have further questions about this survey, please send us your information and we will pass your questions along to the survey maker.
I am often asked by my patients what the best treatment option is when a tooth is at risk - a root canal or a tooth extraction and dental implant.
As an Endodontist who does both, I will tell you that it is always best to try and save the natural tooth (via root canal), and if you can't, then it is generally best to extract that tooth, preserve the socket with bone graft, and after a healing period, to place a dental implant and a restorative crown. By focusing on the tooth at risk, you will avoid damaging adjacent teeth with dental bridges (however sometimes a bridge may be a good option). Let me explain.
When my office phone rings, it is usually a dentist calling with a questionable tooth. Can the tooth be saved? The majority of the time, the crown of the tooth is decayed or we see a cracked tooth below the gum line. In severe cases, the decay has penetrated beyond the enamel and dentin and into the pulp of the tooth (the portion that is "alive" with blood flow).
At this point, I have to determine if I can remove the root of the tooth and keep the tooth structure, filling the root and capping the tooth with a dental crown. It is a complex process, which requires the use of a dental microscope and advanced dental instruments. But not every tooth can be saved.
Thanks to modern advances in dental technology, we can extract a failed tooth and fill the socket with regenerative material and replace the missing tooth
with a dental implant.
Bone grafting is done at the time the failed tooth is extracted. Based on the surrounding bone and tissue, the healing process takes anywhere from 4-12 weeks. Bone grafting is statistically effective in preparing the tooth area for a dental implant. In some cases, the dental implant can be placed with or without bone grafting at the time the tooth is extracted.
Once the bone has been prepared, the dental implant can be placed. Varying sizes of dental implants allow for placement in most areas of the mouth. The process time for dental implant placement includes three visits over a period of 3-6 months.
This includes dental imaging, tooth extraction and bone grafting, the placement of the implant , healing time, and the placement of the dental crown.
A good dentist will be in direct contact with the specialist performing the procedure - to ensure maximum results. In some cases both the dentist and the specialist (Endodontist, Periodontist, Prosthodontist) are in the same practice, but not always.
When having a root canal performed, a tooth extracted, bone grafted, a dental implant placed, all with an esthetic crown, it is worth searching out the best dentist in town, even if it costs a little bit more than you may expect.
And for those of you who are a little nervous about treatment, ask about sedation dentistry. Most top dental offices will offer some form of sedation dentistry to calm the nerves.
Now that you have made it this far, I would hope you walk away with the following lasting impressions:
- Root canals preserve the natural tooth
- Dental implants replace missing teeth naturally
- Sedation dentistry is a good thing
- Better doctors have better results - saving you money in the long run - so select your dentist wisely
If you have any questions, please give us a call at (617) 625-0543 and mention this article and we will set up a complimentary consultation with a root canal or dental implant dentist. Or click below to request your appointment online and receive the complimentary consultation plus 5% off any future dental treatment (including implant placement - a $100 value).
And lastly, love your dentist, and love your smile!
By David R. Steuer, DMD, MMSc.
Endodontics, Implantology, and Dental Surgery
Dr. David R. Steuer received his Certificate of Endodontics from the Harvard School of Dental Medicine and his Doctor of Dental Medicine from the University of Louisville School of Dental Medicine. Dr. Steuer is a noted lecturer on the topics of Endodontics and Implantology. He is the Managning Partner of West Somerville Dental and Dental Specialists of Maine.