Dentists commonly talk with patients about avoiding sugary and acidic drinks to help reduce tooth decay. One of the most important concepts I stress to patients is that the frequency in which they have sugary drinks is extremely important.
How many of you will buy a 20 oz. soda from the convenience store and try to make that soda “last” for a long time? I am guilty of this behavior too. And, diet soda is not a safe alternative due to the amount of acid it contains. The problem for our teeth is that it takes our saliva about 20 minutes to wash the sugar and acid away from our teeth. So, if someone has a sip of soda one minute, then waits 10 minutes and has another sip, their teeth will feel like they are constantly sitting in soda.
This “sipping” problem is not limited to adults, nor is it limited to soda. Any liquid that has sugar or acid in it can contribute to decay. One of the toughest things for a dentist to deal with is something called “baby bottle decay” which occurs with very young children, typically ages 1-3. Baby bottle decay is almost always caused when a baby goes to bed with a bottle of milk in the crib. Since the baby has access to the bottle and wakes up several times throughout the night to get a drink of milk, these frequent sugar exposures will cause decay. This is similar in nature to an adult sipping on soda throughout the day.
School aged children are no different. I always caution parents to be mindful of what and HOW their child eats when they get home from school. If your child sips on a flavored drink between getting home from school and suppertime, you need to be aware of the risk of this. Even things like orange juice and apple juice contain sugar and acid. Encourage your child to have these drinks with meals instead of sipping on them in between meals. When having sugary drinks at meal time, it tends to decrease the effects due to increases in salivary flow.
I don’t expect my patients to ONLY drink water, that is unrealistic and who wants to live like that? BUT, you need to be smart with how you have different drinks. A good rule of thumb we stress at MCHD Dentistry is to drink water in between meals, and if you want to have a sugary or acidic drink, try to have those with meals.
Insurance companies are there to help you with the financial burden of dental procedures. However they seem to find loop holes in hopes that they don’t have to pay too much out of their pockets. This is where preauthorizations come in handy, and here at MCHD Dentistry we always send out preauthorizations in hopes to maximize insurance benefits.
Preauthorizations are important when it comes to procedures that are considered “major”, or cost $300.00 and up. There are a few other procedures that don’t fall into the “major” category, such as scaling and root planning, that should also be preauthorized.
Pre-authorization is a simple task that the billing manager takes care of. When a procedure, such as a crown or bridge, needs to be preauthorized she sends a letter and claim to the insurance company asking for them to let the office and the patient know how much of it they will cover and how much the patient is expected to cover. Sometimes an x-ray or several x-rays are needed for the preauthorization to be accepted, and sometimes periodontal charting is needed as well. All of these are sent with the preauthorization to help our case as to why the patient needs the procedure.
Insurance companies have 30 days from the time they receive the information to make a decision about the procedure that is being preauthorized. If you decide to schedule the procedure before you leave the office, this is the main reason we schedule the procedure out so far in advance: to make sure we have the preauthorization back in hand before starting the procedure.
Both the office and the patient will receive a copy of the preauthorization determination from the insurance company. This determination will state whether the procedure is going to be covered by the insurance, how much was asked of the insurance company, how much the insurance company SHOULD pay, and how much is the patient’s responsibility. Just because an insurance states they are going to pay a set amount, does not guarantee that this is the amount they actually pay, and then the patient is responsible for the remaining amount. Sometimes insurances state they will pay a certain amount, but didn’t have all current procedures that have already been done for the patient during that benefit period accounted for. This can adjust the amount the insurance pays if the patient has met their maximum or already met their deducible elsewhere. These are adjustments that we have to take into account when the actual procedure is being billed to the insurance company once it has been completed.
Preauthorizations are an important part of dental treatment for both the patient and the dental office. It allows the patient and the office to know how much the patient is going to have pay, and how much the dental office should not only be receiving but also how much they have to write off as well. If a dental office is a participating provider with an insurance company, they have to accept the fee that the insurance company states is a reasonable price for a procedure. This means that the patient is not allowed to be charged the difference between the dental office’s fee and the insurance’s fee.
Without a preauthorization, an insurance company has the right to deny payment for a procedure, even if it is stated in the patient’s insurance plan benefits that it is covered. The patient is then responsible for the full amount. So don’t go unauthorized and possibly have to pay the full amount! Make sure you’re major procedures are being preauthorized to help save you money.
I you have any questions about preauthorizations or your insurance in general, please contact our billing manager, Brittany Winland, either by phone: (304) 598-5108, or by e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org .
“Knee to Knee” is a technique used by dentists and dental hygienists when examining young patients. At MCHD Dentistry, we sometimes use this safe technique on children under the age of 3. Knee to knee allows our team at MCHD Dentistry to thoroughly and effectively examine your child’s teeth in a safe and secure manner.
Remember, your child should have their first dental visit on their first birthday. A child’s first visit to the dentist should be a fun and safe experience. At MCHD Dentistry, we always enjoy seeing children when they are 1 year old. It is a great opportunity to establish your child with our dental office and it gives the parents a chance to ask any questions they have about their child’s teeth.
My son just turned one year old and he had his first visit. It was a fun experience for him, me and my wife. Please watch this short video to see how the knee to knee technique was used for him.
Earlier this year, MCHD Dentistry had the pleasure of hosting a Lunch-and-Learn for our staff and employees of the Monongalia County Health Department. Our speaker was Dr. Matthew Bailey, Pharm. D, who spoke to us about Pharmaceutics.
Dr. Bailey talked to us about how the pharmacy can obtain prescriptions, the difference between an allergic reaction and an adverse drug event (ADE), and treatment for acute pain. The following is an overview of these topics.
First Dr. Bailey discussed how pharmacies obtain prescriptions, which are done in a number of different ways. The most common way is a written prescription. This is used mostly for controlled substances which are drugs that have some potential for abuse or dependency. Examples of controlled substances are Vicodin, codeine, Xanax and Lyrica.
Pharmacies also obtain prescriptions by phone and fax. Both of these methods require the doctor’s state license number and sometimes even their Drug Enforcement Administration number (DEA) so not just anyone can call or fax in a prescription, only people who work in that doctor’s office can call or fax in the prescription.
The last mode of obtaining a prescription for a pharmacist is by electronic prescribing. This method is becoming more popular with both doctors’ offices and pharmacies; it’s fast and easy. Most prescriptions can be sent electronically. Both the doctor and the pharmacy have to have an approved computer system for electronic prescriptions. Anyone in the office can send prescriptions to the pharmacy except for controlled substances, while only the prescribing doctor is capable of sending controlled substances.
Dr. Bailey then spoke to us about the difference between an allergic reaction and an adverse drug event, or an ADE. He explained to us that all allergic reactions are ADEs but not all ADEs are allergic reactions. When you think that you have an allergic reaction it is very important to describe to your doctor what actually happens. Adverse effects can be common and are expected. Some examples of an ADE are nausea, drowsiness and diarrhea; it is important to know that these are not allergic reactions, but adverse effects.
You should contact your health care provider or seek emergency care immediately if you are having any of the following allergy sign and symptoms:
· Hives or red, itchy patches
· Swollen, red, itchy rash
· Difficulty breathing
· Swelling in the face, tongue, lips, and/or throat
Another important fact to remember is that allergic reactions are not hereditary. The tendency to have an allergic reaction is hereditary, but specific allergic reactions are not. When answering allergic reaction questions, make sure that you are answering them based on what YOU have had an allergic reaction to, not what your relatives have had an allergic reaction to.
Lastly, Dr. Bailey spoke to us about treatment of acute pain, specifically in the dental office. Acute pain is a normal pain that warns that you’ve been hurt. It starts suddenly and usually doesn’t last long, such as a tooth ache. There are three different types of medications that he spoke to us about to help with acute pain: NSAIDs, Acetaminophen and Opioids or Opiates.
NSAIDs—nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs—are amongst the most common pain relievers. NSAIDs work on a chemical level by blocking the effects of special enzymes that play a key role in making prostaglandins. More simply put, prostaglandins help reduce swelling and pain. Examples of NSAIDs are aspirin, ibuprofen and naproxen.
Acetaminophen is another medication that can be taken for acute pain. The exact mechanism of action of it is not known, however, it too may reduce the production of prostaglandins causing less swelling and less pain. Acetaminophen relieves pain by altering a person’s perception of the pain. Acetaminophen also helps reduce fever through its action in the heat-regulating center of the brain. Examples of acetaminophen products are Tylenol and Panadol.
Opioids are drugs that are derived from opium. They are any agents that bind to protein molecules located on the membranes of some nerve cells that are found principally in the central nervous system and gastrointestinal tract, and elicits a response. Opioids are often prescribed to help calm patients because a low to moderate dose can provide feelings of intense joy and comfort, however a higher dose can cause respiratory depression, or slowed breathing, to the point of death. Common examples of opioids are morphine, codeine, buprenorphine, Vicodin and Percocet.
The information that Dr. Bailey gave to us during his presentation is not only helpful for the everyday setting in the dental office, but it is also very helpful for everyday home life. There are options for how a pharmacist can receive your prescription; all allergies are ADEs but not all ADEs are allergies and make sure you are giving your doctor YOUR allergic reactions not your relatives as allergies are not hereditary; and medications are a fascinating but serious topic. Make sure to speak with your doctor or pharmacist before taking any kind of medication because while they can be helpful, they can also be deadly, and if you have any medications questions, please don’t hesitate to contact your doctor or local pharmacist.
MCHD Dentistry would like to thank Dr. Bailey for all of this helpful information so that we may better take care of our patients. Thank you, Dr. Bailey!
Is there a dental topic you would like us to talk about? If your answer is not in the archives, send us a message and we will add it to our blog!
453 Van Voorhis Road
Morgantown, WV 26505