From The Administrative Team
From the desk of Rob: Office Manager / Financial Coordinator
Paying or financing dental treatment along with dealing with your insurance can often be the most difficult and "painful" part of your dental visit. I will use my knowledge, experience and training to make the financial part of your dental visit as smooth as possible.
Dental claims are submitted to your insurance as a courtesy for you. If you ever need assistance in dealing with your insurance, have questions about your insurance, payments or account balance, I am here to assist you and answer any question to the best of my ability.
Understanding Dental Insurance
You have probably heard these terms before, I hope that the following definitions help to clarify what they mean:
When a dentist is "in-network", it means they have signed a contract with that specific insurance company and have contracted and agreed to accept the fees set by the insurance company and percentages paid by the individual group plans. The patient is then billed for any balance.
Dr. Carothers is currently "In-Network" with the following insurance companies.
MODA (former ODS) / Delta Dental and MetLife.
Even if we are not "in-network" with your insurance company, we can still send in claims for treatment; they will generally pay insurance benefits, often at a lower percentage. Please make sure your plan pays for "out-of-network" providers.
The cost of dental care has significantly risen over the years, but the maximum levels of what insurance companies will cover has remained the same since the late 1960's. Some plans offer higher maximums than others, but that is decided upon by whatever plan your employer decides to purchase.
LEAST EXPENSIVE ALTERNATE TREATMENT
It is possible that your dental insurance will only pay the reduced fee of treatment, whether or not it is the most clinically appropriate treatment for you to have. For example, at Dr. Carothers' office we use only white fillings. We don't place metal fillings in peoples' mouths (we don't even carry the amalgam product in our office). Although insurance won't prevent you from having the white fillings, they may only pay for a metal filling benefit because it is a lower cost. However, discounted treatment is not necessarily what is best for YOU. It is important to remember that although there may be some out-of-pocket cost involved, you should make your dental choices based on what is dentally best for you in the long run.
Although you may have dental insurance, your plan may not cover certain procedures. That doesn't mean that those procedures aren't necessary, it only means that insurance doesn't want to pay for certain things based upon their own reasoning. Rely on the confidence that you have in your dental team to decide what type of treatment you should have. Dr. Carothers will let you know if there are options, alternative choices or if a diagnosed procedure treatment can be postponed. Don't allow insurance to dictate anything that could cause later problems for you dentally.
Addressing Dental Anxieties
from the desk of Becky / Scheduling Coordinator
Have you ever asked yourself the following questions?
“Why am I anxious in the dental office?”
People are anxious about going to the dentist for different reasons, including worrying about the effectiveness of localized anesthetic and feeling like the dentist is rushed or is neglecting your concerns. Other factors include anticipation of pain, the cost of the procedure, past experiences, and even the sterile smell of the dental office. Interrupting the normal day’s routine to visit the dentist also is a factor in general anxiety.
“What can the Office Coordinator do to relieve my anxiety?”
I’m hard at work, taking steps to reduce your anxiety before you ever step foot in the dental office. During our initial telephone conversation I will gather all pertinent information regarding your needs and concerns to ensure your time in our office is streamlined and comfortable. Once I’ve collected all pertinent information from you to help make your visit as pleasant as possible, I will explain your appointment to you and answer all questions, hopefully eliminating any surprises at your visit. Upon completion of your appointment, it may be necessary to schedule for a second, or even a series of appointments. All of your appointment information is given to me prior to your exiting out to the reception area, making it quick and easy for you to schedule a time for your next visit.
“Will canceling my appointment at the last minute make me feel better?”
Although canceling your scheduled appointment at the last minute or just not showing up for it may
give you a sense of instant relief, it doesn’t solve your dental anxiety. Don’t forget ----- you will still
eventually need to come in to see the dentist. Also, bear in mind that the appointment slot that then
goes unfilled could have been given to another patient in need had we had ample notification.
“What can I do to relieve dental anxiety?”
Knowledge is the greatest defense against anxiety. Avoiding caffeine before a dental appointment can make you less anxious. Eating high-protein foods produces a calming effect, unlike sugary foods. During the procedure, focus on breathing regularly and slowly. When you are nervous you tend to hold your breath, which decreases oxygen levels and further increases feelings of panic. If you have specific fears, talk to the doctor or one of the chair-side assistants.