Complete Family Dentistry Blog - Waukesha , WI
Posts for: December, 2015
Most of us think of insurance as a means to protect us and our families from unforeseen loss. While that’s the general definition, some insurance plans — like dental — don’t quite work that way.
The typical dental plan actually works more like a discount coupon for dental services. Most are part of an employer-based benefit package and usually “fee-for-service”: the insurance company pays for part or sometimes the entire bill after your dental visit based on a fee schedule laid out in the policy.
A plan’s benefits depend on what the insurer offers to cover and what level of coverage your employer (or you) are willing to pay for. Typically, the more items covered under the policy, the higher the premium. Any deductibles (the amount you must pay out of pocket before receiving any plan benefits) can also affect the premium — the lower the deductible, the higher the premium.
The benefits may also be limited due to what a patient’s dentist charges for services. Most insurers pay benefits based on what they determine to be the “usual, customary and reasonable” (UCR) fee for a particular service. The dentist’s fees are most often higher, however, resulting in the patient paying a higher percentage of the bill.
Still, a dental plan can work to your financial advantage, especially if it’s employer-based with premiums paid by your employer. It may not be advantageous, however, if you’re paying the premiums. For example, a person without insurance might spend on average $200 a year for basic dental care (mostly preventative — checkups and cleanings), while a person with insurance may have those expenses covered, but are paying yearly premiums of $500 or more for the plan.
You should also consider one other factor: our first priority as dentists is to pursue the best course of treatment for your particular dental needs, which may not always align with what your policy covers. At the same time, we understand the limitations you may be under with your plan — we work in this world every day. We’ll certainly assist you in navigating the insurance waters to achieve the best care for what you can afford.
If you would like more information on dental insurance and other financial arrangements, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Dental Insurance 101.”
Crowns are a mainstay of cosmetic dentistry used to improve your smile’s appearance in a variety of situations. Not all crowns are alike, though — and the differences could affect your cost.
Crowns or caps are needed to cover remaining tooth structure which was previously damaged. Tooth decay and trauma are the major reasons for damage or loss of tooth structure that make crowns necessary. After preparing the remaining healthy tooth to fit into the new crown, we then make an impression mold of the tooth for a dental technician to use to create the new crown. It’s at this point where the road to your new smile can take different paths, both in construction and how much artistry goes in to your crown’s formation.
Porcelain crown construction falls into two general categories. The first category involves life-like porcelain fused to an inner core of metal. Because many older types of porcelain tend to be brittle and subject to breaking under pressure, metals are used to strengthen the crown. A fused crown can thus provide both durability and a life-like appearance.
In recent years, though, new dental materials have made the second category — all porcelain crowns — a viable option. Either lithium disilicate or zirconium oxide account for nearly two-thirds of crowns made today. Although research on their durability is relatively new, initial results have been encouraging, showing advanced all-ceramic crowns can tolerate forces comparable to porcelain fused to metal (PFM) crowns used in bridges.
On the downside, these newer materials may be more expensive than PFM crowns. Costs for manufacturing may also increase depending on how life-like the matching of color with other teeth you desire your crown to be. For example, individual teeth aren’t a uniform color — there are gradations of color that can vary from the tip of the tooth to the root. To capture these gradations in an individual crown requires a high level of artistry and time by the dental technician, which increases the final cost.
If you’re in need of a crown, it’s best to first make an appointment for a consultation to review your options, and to consider both your expectations and financial ability. Together we can determine what it will take to create a new look for your teeth that fits your expectations and your budget.
Sometimes the suggestion of "If you ignore something, it'll go away" is good advice to heed. When it comes to dealing with a toothache, however, this approach isn't advised by dental professionals, including the dentists at Complete Family Dentistry in Waukesha, Wisconsin. Many of our patients aren't thrilled to learn they need a root canal to treat their toothaches; this dental procedure has a long-standing stigma of being painful. Dr. Karen Jahamiak, Dr. Joel Jahamiak, and Dr. Cathleen Raz, your Waukesha dentists, want to dispel this rumor about root canals with the following information:
What is a root canal?
First, it's helpful to understand what exactly a root canal does for your dental health. Also called endodontic therapy, root canals are designed to clear away infection by removing the damaged inner tissues of a tooth. As the infection progresses, it can travel into the roots of the teeth, where the nerve endings are located. By clearing out these tissues, the nerves are no longer affected. However, this leaves the rest of the tooth vulnerable to breakage, so your Waukesha dentist completes the root canal by placing a strong rubber material inside the tooth and sealing it off with a porcelain crown.
Aren't root canals painful?
Like many other dental procedures, there used to be quite a bit of discomfort associated with treatments because of the lack of anesthesia and sophisticated equipment. Today, dental procedures, including root canals from your Waukesha dentist, are typically no more uncomfortable than having blood drawn thanks to a variety of sedatives, anesthetics and pain relievers. Prior to your root canal, and your dentist at Complete Family Dentistry can determine what regimen will best suit your needs.
If you're experiencing ongoing pain with your teeth, don't wait any longer. Contact Complete Family Dentistry in Waukesha, Wisconsin and learn more about how a root canal can fix your problem!