It all started with a plate of nachos. I bit down. Crunch! Immediately I knew I had broken a tooth. I made an appointment with my dentist and found out I had broken off half of a molar. He temporarily fixed the tooth by bonding a large filling to the existing tooth. I was told I would need to return and have that tooth fitted for a crown. When I asked about the cost for the service I got worried. I had little to no room in my budget to pay for it. So what did I do? I put if off. I put it off for three years. Big Mistake! Avoidance will not make it go away.
After three years I finally decided to return to my dentist because the physical pain began to outweigh the financial pain. To make a long story short I ended up having several cavities, gum recession and that nacho burdened tooth needed a lot more work than just a crown. I was even told I may need a root canal due to years of neglect. I knew I had to get the work done and so I did. It ended up costing me quite a lot of money, time and pain. Through the process I kept thinking “If only I had just followed through with the original treatment I could have saved myself more than half the costs.”
Note to self...Don’t neglect your oral health.
Hello, my name is Jeff and I work in the Patient Accounts department here at Dental Associates of Walpole. The above story you just read is a true story about me and my “one time” fear of going to the dentist due to costs. It should not be that way. We are here to help! Below I list a few tips and the different ways you can educate yourself so that you can move forward confidently in both your financial commitment and your chosen treatment.
- Know your Treatment Plan: It’s very important to know your treatment plan and to prioritize your treatment. Your dentist will do this but don’t hesitate to ask them about all your options. Often times, there is more than one way to treat the problem. Our goal is to provide the best oral care while offering the flexibility of options to best fit your needs. Talk to your dentist with any questions or concerns you may have.
- Know your Dental Insurance: Now that you agree on the importance of treatment, you should definitely understand your dental insurance. I can’t stress this enough. Having a dialogue with your insurance company is critical. The insurance company is your best resource for helping you understand what services are covered and what are not. Many different factors contribute to how much or how little your insurance will pay. Factors such as “In Network” vs “Out of Network”, deductibles, frequencies, annual maximums, age limits, waiting periods, non-covered services and many more may affect your out of pocket expense for treatment. Additionally, you can ask our front desk about getting a pre-treatment estimate from your insurance company for your upcoming services. I highly recommend our patients contact their insurance company with any questions prior to treatment. They will be able to explain your benefits and covered costs.
- Making Payment & Setting Up Options: No one ever likes paying bills. I get it. But it is important that payments and or payment arrangements are made in a timely manner. We are here to help you with that. At Dental Associates of Walpole, we offer multiple payment options that work best for you. We offer interest free payment options in house as well as interest free, extended payment options (prior approval) from third party vendors such as Care Credit and Lending Club. Please don’t hesitate to call us with any questions regarding billing and setting up payment options. We have employees dedicated to working through the finance part with you so call us if you need assistance.
One note of advice...Don’t ever let your insurance company dictate your treatment.
Our dentists genuinely want to help and provide you with the best oral care. Treatment is proposed for optimal oral health, not proposed to drive you away. It’s to make you healthy. If you choose to delay treatment based on insurance coverage you may end up with the same financial and oral burden that I went through. Trust me when I tell you, that you really do not want to go that route.
Our mission is to make sure that you have the best experience possible at Dental Associates of Walpole and we want you to feel confident and informed when it comes to treatment and billing. I hope some of these tips helped. We appreciate your continued patronage and we hope you have a wonderful holiday season! Who wants nachos?
By Jeff Vangel - Patient Accounts