How are Appointments Scheduled?
Our office attempts to schedule appointments at your convenience. Preschool children should be seen in the morning because they are more awake, and we can work more slowly with them for their comfort. School children with a lot of homework should be seen in the morning for the same reason. Dental appointments are an excused absence, and missing school can be minimal when regular dental care is scheduled.
Since appointed times are reserved for each patient, we ask that you please notify our office at least 48 hours in advance of your scheduled appointment time if you must cancel. Another patient could be scheduled if we have sufficient time to notify them. We realize that unexpected things happen, but we ask for your assistance in this regard.
It is important that parents realize that their scheduled appointment time has been specifically reserved for them, and that your child’s oral and general health are of utmost importance. Not showing up for an appointment or giving less than 48 hours’ notice for a cancellation robs us of an opportunity to see another child in that place who may have a toothache, infection, or other serious dental problem. Each failed appointment will be evaluated individually but may incur a $50 charge prior to rescheduling the appointment. Multiple broken appointments may cause your child to be dismissed from our Pediatric Dental office. For our families with multiple children, we try to make it convenient to you by scheduling the children all at similar times. A failed appointment by multiple children may incur a missed appointment charge for each child. Additionally, further appointments may be rescheduled on separate days/times. We understand that things come up in life that are unavoidable, but we ask that you contact us regarding any inability to arrive on time for an appointment. We respect your time by running “on time” to the best of our ability so that you may not have to wait for your appointment. Please respect our time by coming to your scheduled appointment and being on time.
Do I stay with my child during the visit?
We like parents to accompany their children throughout the dental experience. This includes cleanings and restorative care visits. It allows parents to witness the services we perform while helping to provide positive support and encouragement for their kids throughout the appointment. We caution against discussing negative dental/medical experiences that the parent has experienced, as this may cause their child to be anxious and less receptive in accepting the dental care. We ask parents to refrain from using anxiety producing words like “shot’, “hurt”, “needle”, “pull”, etc. around their children. These words, although harmless sounding to the parent, can cause anxiety in children and make treatment more difficult. Although we often allow siblings to join each other in treatment areas while having joint “check- up” appointments, we do not have siblings accompany a child who is having fillings, extractions, or other more extensive care that may cause anxiety. Parents are encouraged to leave siblings at school or home with a caregiver for these more involved appointments. We always invite parents to ask any questions they may have regarding their child’s dental care. Discretion may dictate that the conversation take place privately, away from the child.
What about Finances?
Payment for dental services is due at the time that treatment is provided. Every effort will be made to provide a treatment plan that gives your child the best possible care, and fits into your timetable and budget. We accept cash, personal checks, debit cards and most major credit cards. We also accept Care Credit as a patient financing option.
Our Office Policy Regarding Dental Insurance
If we have received all of your insurance information on the day of the appointment, we will be happy to file your claim for you. You must be familiar with your insurance benefits, as we will collect from you the estimated amount insurance is not expected to pay. By law, your insurance company is required to pay each claim within 30 days of receipt. We file all insurance electronically, so your insurance company will receive each claim within days of the treatment. You are responsible for any balance on your account after 30 days, whether insurance has paid for it or not. If you have not paid your balance within 60 days, a re-billing fee of 1.5% will be added to your account each month until the outstanding balance is paid. We will be glad to send a refund to you if your insurance pays us.
PLEASE UNDERSTAND that we file dental insurance as a courtesy to our patients. We do not have a contract with your insurance company. We are not responsible for how your insurance company handles its claims, or for what benefits they pay on a claim. We can only assist you in estimating your portion of the cost of treatment. We do not guarantee what your insurance will or will not do with each claim. We are not responsible for any errors in filing your insurance. Once again, we file claims as a courtesy to you.
Fact 1 - NO INSURANCE PAYS 100% OF ALL PROCEDURES
Dental insurance is meant to be an aid in receiving dental care. Many patients think that their insurance pays 90-100% of all dental fees - this is not true. Most plans only pay between 50-80% of the average total fee. Some pay more, some pay less. The percentage paid is usually determined by how much you or your employer has paid for coverage, or the type of contract your employer has set up with your insurance company.
Fact 2 - BENEFITS ARE NOT DETERMINED BY OUR OFFICE
Sometimes your dental insurer reimburses you or the dentist at a lower rate than the dentist's actual fee. Frequently, insurance companies state that the reimbursement was reduced because your dentist's fee has exceeded the usual, customary, or reasonable fee ("UCR") used by the company.
A statement such as this gives the impression that any fee greater than the amount paid by the insurance company is unreasonable, or well above what most dentists in the area charge for a certain service. This can be very misleading and is not accurate.
Insurance companies set their own schedules, and each company uses a different set of fees they consider reasonable. These reasonable fees may vary, because each company collects fee information from claims it processes. The insurance company then takes this data and arbitrarily chooses a level they call the "allowable" UCR Fee. Frequently, this data can be three to five years old and these fees are set by the insurance company so they can net a 20-30% profit.
Unfortunately, insurance companies imply that your dentist is overcharging, rather than say that they are underpaying, or that their benefits are low. In general, the less expensive insurance policy will use a lower reasonable (UCR) figure.
Fact 3 - DEDUCTIBLES & CO-PAYMENTS MUST BE CONSIDERED
When estimating dental benefits, deductibles and percentages must be considered. To illustrate, assume a service fee is $150.00. Assuming that the insurance company allows $150.00 as its usual and customary (UCR) fee, we can figure out what benefits will be paid. First, a deductible averages $50, is subtracted, leaving $100.00. The plan then pays 80% for this particular procedure. The insurance company will then pay 80% of $100.00, or $80.00. Out of a $150.00 fee they will pay an estimated $80.00 leaving a remaining portion of $70.00 (to be paid by the patient). Of course, if the UCR is less than $150.00, or your plan pays only at 50%, then the insurance benefits will also be significantly less.
MOST IMPORTANTLY, please keep us informed of any insurance changes such as policy name, insurance company address, or a change of employment.