If You Have Insurance, Your Cleanings Are Free!

We know many dental patients find the ins & outs of dental insurance confusing, but if you have dental insurance the most important thing for you to know is that you get two free cleanings per year!

Nearly all dental insurance plans are set up for preventive care. Most insurance plan benefits cover two annual teeth cleanings (also referred to as hygiene or prophylaxis in clinical terms) at 100%, meaning you won’t pay anything out of pocket for your visit & the insurance company covers the cost of your annual cleanings. This is one of the ways that insurance companies & your dentist encourages you to prevent dental problems. By seeing the dentist for a cleaning every six months, which usually includes a brief exam, we can catch problems before they become painful, costly or both!

At a typical dental clinic, teeth cleanings are the most common reason patients come into the office. If your teeth are relatively healthy, you’ve avoided having a dental injury, & you haven’t chosen to have cosmetic dentistry, most of the time your visits to our office will not involve a financial transaction on your part at all. Because of this, we will bill your insurance for your cleaning, meaning each cleaning won’t cost you cash, but it will cost you one of your annually allotted teeth cleaning benefits from your dental plan.

In some very rare situations, your insurance company may request you pay a small out-of-pocket cost for your cleaning. However, this shouldn’t be a reason not to get your cleaning. The $10 copay you pay twice a year for your cleaning if you have this kind of insurance plan is small compared to the hundreds or thousands you might pay out of pocket if something goes wrong & you need a crown because you haven’t been going to the dentist!

We don’t want anything to stand between you & optimal dental health. That’s why we offer teeth cleaning appointments that fit your busy schedule. We strive to provide appointment times that don’t require you to take off work (or school). We’d much rather see you before or after work for your teeth cleaning than pulling you away from your obligations in the middle of the day. If you don’t already have your next 6-month teeth cleaning appointment scheduled, call us today so we can arrange it!

Take advantage of your teeth cleaning benefits! They’re made available to you to keep both your smile & your wallet healthy!

Be Sure to Use Your Dental Benefits Every Year

use insurance benefits to save money on dental careIf you have dental insurance, your insurance company provides you with a certain dental benefits each year. In case you’re not very familiar with insurance vocabulary, you can think of an insurance benefit as a dental service that the insurance company pays all or most of the cost of. Most dental plans cover the most common preventive services at 100%, meaning the insurance company pays 100% of the cost & you pay nothing.  But you should know, if you don’t use these benefits each year, they’re gone forever!

Why does it matter whether you use your benefits each year? For one thing, these benefits are provided as a way to help keep you healthy. That’s why preventive & diagnostic services such as exams & x-rays are usually covered at 100% by the insurance company. Even your free cleanings are a great opportunity for the dental hygienist or the dentist to detect potential problems. Think of it as an incentive to get your teeth checked out by the dentist twice per year.

The other advantage of using up your preventive benefits each year is that it can save you money. The healthier you stay & the earlier problems can be uncovered, the less both you & the insurance company will have to pay for more complex care in the future. For example, a cavity that is caught when it’s relatively small & minor will just result in a filling. A big cavity that has gone undetected for a long time until it started causing problems might result in a crown instead, which is a longer, more complex, & more expensive procedure.

Another reason to use up your dental benefits is if you encounter the need for more than one relatively major dental procedure in a single year. If you’ve been told you need a crown, rather than put off the treatment, if you get it done right away you’ll hit your deductible, the minimum you have to pay out-of-pocket before the insurance company starts helping pay for the cost of your care. But say a few months later you end up needing a root canal on a different tooth. If both treatments fall in the same calendar year, you only pay your deductible once. But if the two treatments fall in two different calendar years, you’ll pay your deductible each time. You’ll save money by completing your dental treatment sooner rather than later & using up your dental benefits!

We know dental insurance (or any insurance for that matter) can be confusing. If you have questions about your coverage, we will do our best to answer them. Our staff is trained to make the most of your dental benefits.

Community Calendar

Enjoy Sketching in the Gardens of Bayou Bend in Houston on Tuesday, August 29, 2017.

How to Choose a Toothbrush

Multicolor Toothbrushes

Humans have been using toothbrushes to remove food from teeth for thousands of years. Early toothbrushes were sticks with frayed ends, & later brushes were made from bone, wood or ivory & animal hairs. We have come a long way since then, & toothbrushes today are very effective at removing food & plaque & keeping your teeth & gums clean to prevent tooth decay.

Why Brush Your Teeth?

Brushing your teeth removes food & plaque, which is bacteria that eats away at your teeth & can build up & become tartar, a hardened form of plaque. Without daily brushing, plaque & tartar can build up, & the acids that they produce can erode your tooth enamel & irritate your gums. Brushing your teeth can help prevent cavities & gum disease, so be sure to brush every day! The ADA recommends brushing a minimum of twice a day (usually morning & before bed).

Types of Toothbrushes

There are two types of toothbrushes: manual & powered. Both types are equally effective at cleaning your teeth, but powered toothbrushes can be fun for children & easy to use for people who have trouble using manual toothbrushes. Use whichever type is easiest for you.

Bristles on toothbrushes vary in toughness, from soft to hard, & most dentists recommend using a soft-bristled toothbrush. Hard bristles can actually damage your enamel, irritate your gums & can contribute to tooth sensitivity!

No matter which type of toothbrush you use, you should brush twice a day for two minutes with a fluoride toothpaste & replace your toothbrush every 3-4 months, or whenever the bristles seem frayed. Many toothbrushes even have wear indicators in the bristles that will lose color or change color when the toothbrush needs to be replaced.

For recommendations on how to choose a toothbrush that is best for your smile, ask your dentist or dental hygienist. And remember, brushing at home is not enough to ensure your dental health. Be sure to visit the dentist at least every six months for your professional cleaning! We may even throw in a free toothbrush.

 

Community Calendar

Enjoy Sketching in the Gardens of Bayou Bend in Houston on Tuesday, August 29, 2017.