Important Info Regarding Office Policies & New Patient Paperwork
What to Expect
Welcome to your child’s “Dental Home”! Studies show that children with an established dental home are less likely to suffer tooth decay, have long-lasting and positive dental health. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) recommends that children receive their first dental visit at least six months after the appearance of the first tooth or by age one.
We encourage you to partner with us in making your first visit a comfortable and positive one. We encourage you to talk to your child beforehand, creating excitement and anticipation for a great experience. You’ll want to answer any questions your child may have and we encourage you to show your child age-appropriate children’s books on “going to the dentist”.
You should avoid using words that may cause fear, such as “drill”, “shot”, or “pain”. Often, a child’s fear of the dentist is a projection of their parent’s own fears. Our goal is to create an environment that avoids those negative feelings and allows your child to associate a warm and inviting experience with visiting the dentist.
We can’t wait to show you how much we care!
One way we help calm the nerves and anxiety of our smallest patients is by using the lap-to-lap technique. We have your child lay partially on your lap looking towards you during their examination, while your child’s head will be in the dentist’s lap. This will help ease anxiety and establish your child’s trust with the dentist because you are reinforcing that the dentist is helping them instead of hurting them.
We ask that parents and guardians read our office policies before their child’s visit. Simply select each topic below to expand that topic and learn more. Please don’t hesitate to let us know if you have any questions!
How are appointments scheduled?
The office attempts to schedule appointments at your convenience and when time is available. Preschool children should be seen in the morning because they are fresher and we can work more slowly with them for their comfort. School children with a lot of work to be done should be seen in the morning for the same reason. Dental appointments are an excused absence. Missing school can be kept to a minimum when regular dental care is continued.
Since appointed times are reserved exclusively for each patient we ask that you please notify our office 24 hours in advance of your scheduled appointment time if you are unable to keep your appointment. Another patient, who needs our care, could be scheduled if we have sufficient time to notify them. We realize that unexpected things can happen, but we ask for your assistance in this regard.
What about finances?
Payment for professional services is due at the time dental treatment is provided. Every effort will be made to provide a treatment plan which fits your timetable and budget, and gives your child the best possible care. We accept cash, personal checks, debit cards and most major credit cards.
What is your 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 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 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, only you do. 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 at no time guarantee what your insurance will or will not do with each claim. We also can not be 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 the insurance company.
Fact 2 – BENEFITS ARE NOT DETERMINED BY OUR OFFICE
You may have noticed that 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 simply is not accurate.
Insurance companies set their own schedules, and each company uses a different set of fees they consider allowable. These allowable fees may vary widely, 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 “allowable” fees are set by the insurance company so they can make a net 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 usual, customary, or reasonable (UCR) figure.
Fact 3 – DEDUCTIBLES & CO-PAYMENTS MUST BE CONSIDERED
When estimating dental benefits, deductibles and percentages must be considered. To illustrate, assume the fee for service 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 (paid by you), on average $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.
Do you allow parents to come back with their child during the dental visit?
We understand that visiting the dentist can be an anxious experience for little ones, that’s why we have an open policy in allowing one parent or guardian to stay with your child on the first visit. On future appointments, we highly suggest allowing your child to experience being examined under the careful and kind watch of our team. We have found that it can be easier on children when they are allowed to develop a relationship with the dentist and hygiene team without the presence of a parent. However, please know that we respect your concerns as a parent, and the choice of staying with your child is ultimately up to you. Importantly, for the safety of all children, we ask that any sibling or child not being treated please remain in the waiting area with a responsible adult.
New Patient Forms
For a smoother, faster new patient check-in experience, we ask that all parents or guardians print and complete our new patient paperwork before your child’s visit.