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Dentistry today is much less difficult for patients than just a short time ago. A lot is heard about "painless dentistry". Sometimes the reality is that the part of modern dentistry that is most painful is finding a way to pay for it! New technologies and materials and skills don't come inexpensively. Where simple patchwork repairs were the norm not long ago, we expect more today. We expect more sophisticated treatment options and more natural-looking solutions to our dental problems. That's a lot different from yesterday's big, black, ugly fillings, or loose, uncomfortable, removable bridges for missing teeth, or caps that don't begin to match the teeth next to them or look real.....
Instead of accepting the idea that we will lose all our teeth by middle age ( "middle age" keeps changing to a bigger number...but that's another story), we expect to keep essentially all our teeth for a long, productive, healthy, and attractive, functional life. And we expect our teeth to add to our appearance and feel as natural as possible.
Well, the good news is that it is a realistic expectation for most of us. The bad news is that for some of us fighting nature will take a sizable effort utilizing "State of the Art" technologies. And that usually means it's going to be more expensive !
What Can You Do?
Well, the best thing you can do is to do whatever you can do yourself to work with nature to keep your teeth and gums healthy. That means regular, conscientious brushing and flossing at home, reasonable diet, and regular dental cleanings and exams to keep your teeth and gums healthier and better looking. And if something is going wrong, the sooner it is found the easier it is to treat and the less costly treatment will be. We will work with you to try to maximize your preventive efforts.
Unfortunately, that having been done, if you are like most of us you will still have the need for treatment from time to time.
If you are fortunate enough to have plenty of money and you have run out of ideas about how to spend it, or if you have one of the very rare really good dental insurance plans you obviously have no problem paying for dentistry. But then, you probably wouldn't be reading this, either.
Most of us need to find a way to work out expenses, like dental care, that come up usually unexpectedly. And because our lives and finances are so differently organized, we have different needs regarding the handling of the finances.
Because we have different financial needs, I have tried to create realistic options for my patients when it comes to the painful part of treatment...paying for it!
The problem that has developed is that the kind of open ended billing that was commonplace in healthcare not many years ago ( "...this is what you owe...pay what you can each month until it's paid, OK?") no longer works. Aside from the dramatically changed business costs of running a professional office, there are enough people who take advantage of that system to ruin it for everybody else. They just ignore their bill or take unreasonably long to pay it off. Could you imagine walking out of Bloomie's or Sears, telling the salesperson, "don't worry, I'll pay for these soon...I'm good for it"? Well, we in healthcare used to do that. The amazing thing is that it used to work out OK for everybody! It stopped working a while ago...
Dental Insurance is better than no dental insurance, but often not a whole lot better, however. If you have insurance we will
help you get reimbursed and help to file your claim forms. While every insurance says it will pay "X" % of Usual, Customary and Reasonable charges, each insurance company has it's own idea of what "UCR" fees are. They also have many stalling and avoiding tactics to reduce, avoid, or delay reimbursements.
Dental treatment must be paid at the time of treatment whether you have insurance or not. If you need considerable treatment, we can often do a "Pre-determination of Benefits". When we do that, the insurance will tell us what they will probably reimburse you and what your net cost will probably be (after reimbursement). You need to be aware that pre- determinations are usually -but not always - accurate...
No Insurance or Partial Insurance ?
When you have a significant balance to pay we can offer several ways to assist you.
Pay as You Go
The simplest, most often used, and most straight-forward approach is to pay as treatment is rendered. If you are having fillings done you would pay the whole cost of each visit at the end of each visit. If you let us know ahead of time what you are comfortable with financially, we can try to plan your treatment to stay within your budget for each visit. If you are having a more complex procedure done which will take two visits, then you would be responsible for one-half of the cost at each visit.
A Five Per-cent No-billing Discount
For treatment costs above twenty five hundred dollars, and taking more than one appointment, you can save us
time and overhead expenses by paying the entire bill at the first appointment of that treatment.
By reducing our bookkeeping and billing, and freeing us to do other things that we would rather spend our time on, like working with the people we serve, we are happy to pass that savings on to you in the form of an instant five per-cent discount off the total bill that you will be paying. But it must be done at the first of a series of related appointments.
Interest-Free Twelve Month Payment Plan
For amounts of five-hundred dollars and more, we can usually arrange a three to twelve month payment plan depending on the amount. ...at zero interest ! Have I caught your attention? It's true. Zero interest! Let us know you would like to utilize this plan and we can probably set it up for you within half an hour - before your visit is over ! We will need a little additional information since this plan is administered outside of our office.
We work with CareCredit. We can help you apply or you can click the following link and apply or get more information online.
Payment at Your Own Schedule
In addition to cash and checks, we accept Visa, Mastercard, Discover and American Express. While charge cards all charge interest , you do get one free month and then you can spread payments out to meet your own needs.
Just Plain Can't Afford it ?
If the cost of private dental care is just plain not possible for you right now, then what can you do?
Whether you have dental insurance or are among the 100 million Americans without it, you may be eligible for FREE or LOW-Cost dental exams and treatment.
Nearly all dental schools provide services by dentist-supervised students for a fraction of the cost of private office care. Find a dental school online by going to www.ada.org and click on "Dental Schools".
For federally funded programs, visit www.hih.gov and click on "Finding Dental Care". If you are disabled, contact the National Foundation of Dentistry for the Handicapped at www.nfdh.org or call 303-534-5360.
Let's talk about it....!
This pamphlet was written in the hope that it will increase understanding about a topic that seems important from time to time. Obviously it is only a part of the whole story, so if you have questions after reading this please do not hesitate to ask or call. Also, if there is a topic that you think would be helpful, please suggest it.
HOME TOPICS / INFO ABOUT DR.GOLDMAN TO EMAIL ME CONTACT OFFICE
Michael Goldman DDS
3815 East-West Highway
Chevy Chase, Maryland 20815
More info about the following is available if you select "topics".
Holism in dentistry is an approach to dental treatment, primarily caring for patients' health and safety from both a conventional as well as "alternative healthcare" point of view. It is sometimes called "biological" dentistry or "biocompatible" dentistry. In it's fullest sense, I believe it acknowledges and deals with the mind, body and spirit of the patient, not just his or her "teeth". See Topics / Info.....
Cosmetic dentistry is about doing quality , esthetic dentistry in a way that looks natural to begin with, and furthermore, can even improve one's attractiveness through techniques such as bonding, bleaching, veneers, caps, implants and more. It can be like "instant orthodontics" in correcting crooked, twisted or misplaced teeth in many instances. Dark or misshapen teeth can be restored. Smiles that lack youthful vigor or beauty can be revitalized! See Topics / Info..Bleaching, veneers, bonding, caps, bridges, and implants are cosmetic dentistry treatments that are also discussed in Cosmetic Dentistry, and more...located in the Bethesda, Chevy Chase, Maryland 20815 area near Washington DC.