Monthly Archives: April 2018

The Scoop on Dental Insurances

Dental Insurance can be very confusing to navigate. Many feel that health insurance and dental insurance should work the same, but nothing is further from the truth. In this week’s article, we attempt to provide you with information so that you may better understand how your dental insurance works.


Dental plans typically include a deductible, most likely in the range of $25-50. A deductible is the amount that a member is required to pay before insurance benefits kick in. For example, if an individual deductible is $50, that member is required to pay for the first $50 of dental care before taking advantage of dental insurance. In most plans, but not all, deductibles are waived for Diagnostic & Preventive services. Why? Well, insurance companies want members to go to the dentist and get checked out and prevent major issues. Makes sense, right?

Plan Maximum

Additionally, plans will include a maximum payment, usually just called a maximum. The maximum is the highest dollar amount that a dental plan will cover in a given amount of time for an individual member. With an annual maximum of $1500, the dental plan will cover up to $1500 of dental services per person, per year.

Service classes

The next important concept you’ll want to make sure you understand are dental insurance service classes and how they differ from one another. The term service classes refers to the four broad categories of dental care, which are usually covered at different levels by dental insurance. These categories are:

    Diagnostic & preventative
  • Basic services
  • Major services
  • Ortho

Diagnostic & Preventative: For many people, the majority of visits to the dentist will fall under the category of diagnostic & preventative, so let’s go over that first. Diagnostic & preventative covers many of the services a person receives during a routine visit to the dentist. Exams and cleanings are almost always included in diagnostic & preventative, and basic x-rays usually fall into this category as well. Diagnostic & preventative is typically covered at 100%, and often does not require the deductible to be met (but read the fine print!).

Basic Services: If you’ve ever seen a dentist for anything other than a routine cleaning and check-up, chances are you’ve received some form of basic service. Services such as fillings, basic gum disease treatment, extractions and sometimes root canals are typically included under basic services. Basic services are usually covered at 80 or even 90%, meaning a member could pay as little as 10% of the cost.

Major services: This service level covers more complicated procedures, such as complex oral surgeries, dentures, implants, and crowns. Coverage for major services is typically more limited, but if major services are a priority, you can find a dental plan with coverage at up to 60%.

Orthodontics: If you had braces as a teenager or are the parent of a teen with braces, this category is probably (too) familiar to you. Ortho refers to braces associated treatments, and when it is included, is typically covered at 50%. The caveat here is that ortho often includes an age limit of 19, meaning that people over 19 years old are not eligible for orthodontic coverage.

Keep in mind that the descriptions above can differ depending on individual plan design. For instance, fillings are typically included in basic services but are sometimes considered major services, and basic x-rays are usually considered diagnostic & preventative but fall under basic services in some plans

And there you have it! If you’ve made it this far, you should be able to look over a dental plan and understand the majority of what’s going on. There’s still more to dive into, but we’ll save that for next time.

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Dental Anxiety? Fear or Phobia?

Many people are very hesitant about seeking preventative and restorative dental care. Much of the hesitation you may feel could come from a fear or even a phobia. Learning to face your fears head-on can be very important to your overall health, not to mention your dental health. At Compass Dental we specialize in treating patients with dental anxieties. Call today and stop putting off your overall dental care. Read the article below. It may help you understand your dental apprehension and overcome it once and for all…

Till next week…..

10 Tips for Overcoming Dental Fear

A certain extent of apprehension is normal before going to the dentist, or any doctor for that matter. But if your anxiety affects your oral health and prevent you from going to the dentist, you may be experiencing dental fear, anxiety, or phobia.

Current estimates reveal that between 5-8% of Americans avoid dentists out of fear. Meanwhile, 20% are anxious to the point that they will only seek dental treatment only when necessary.

Dental anxiety, fear, or phobia are usually triggered by certain events or experiences, and some of these are:

Loss of control – Some patients feel like they’re losing control when they lie on a dental chair and find it overwhelming when a dentist hover above their heads and probe inside their mouths. They typically associate the feeling with helplessness or being trapped.

Pain – Most people dread going to the dentist out of fear of pain, especially those who have a low pain threshold. Embarrassment – Some patients feel ashamed or embarrassed when dentists look inside their mouths and examine their gums and teeth. Discomfort can also result from the little distance between a patient and dentist during treatment.

Past Experience – Most people develop dental fears due to a bad experience in the past. If a previous treatment was painful or resulted to complications, a patient may develop trepidation about going to the dentist again.

Dental Anxiety, Fear, and Phobia: Knowing the Difference

Dental anxiety, fear, and phobia are similar in a sense that they all have something to do with apprehensions about going to the dentist. However, they differ to some extent.

Dental anxiety refers to being uneasy or worried about something unknown. Most patients experience this to a certain degree, especially if they’re about to undergo a treatment for the first time. Meanwhile, fear is a reaction to a known danger, which can be brought about by a bad experience in the past. It can also result to a fight-or-flight reaction.

Dental phobia, on the other hand, is a more intense feeling of fear or dread. People who have it are typically panic-stricken and will do anything to avoid dental visits and treatments. Typically, dental phobics only visit dentists and seek treatment when their condition becomes overwhelming.

Dental anxiety, fear, and phobia not just result to poor oral health, but also affect a person’s well-being. In fact, they can pave way for other health problems, low self-esteem, or self doubt.

Overcoming Dental Fears There are ways to overcome any apprehensions you may have about going to the dentist. Here are ten ways to help you do so.

1. Recognize your Fears. To better understand your feelings and address them, you need to come into terms with your anxiety or fear of going to the dentist. Write your fears down, so that you can talk about them better. Listing your fears will not just help you recognize them, but also aid your dentist in explaining what’s causing your anxiety or phobia and helping you deal with it.

2. Find the Right Dentist. A big part of overcoming your dental fears is choosing the right dental center to work with. Look up local listings and ask family and friends for Reviews. Focus your search on dentists who specialize in treating anxious or fearful patients.

Once you narrowed down choices, start calling each of them. Observe how the staff talks to you. Are they accommodating? Do they sound dismissive? Did the dentist return your call? If you’re comfortable talking with them on the phone, you can schedule a visit to get a feel of the place and meet the dentist in person.

On your visit, take note of the place’s atmosphere and surroundings. If it’s clean and you feel relaxed, then that’s a good sign it’s a clinic that can address not just your oral problems but also your anxiety.

While it’s comforting to hear phrases like, “There’s nothing you should worry about,” or “It’s going to be different with us,” keep in mind that a good dentist will not say those things. Instead, the right dentist will offer assurance through an understanding of your fears without making you feel judged.

3. Communicate your Fears and Anxiety. The foundation of any good relationship is communication. Early on, even before you set an appointment with a dentist, it’s best to be vocal about your apprehensions, fears, and anxiety. This way, you’re giving the dentist a way to gauge your situation and tailor an action plan suited for your needs. In most cases, dentists would devise cues and signals if you want to take breaks or stop the treatment if you get uncomfortable.

4. Determine Ways to Gradually Reduce your Fears. For people with dental fear, visits should not just be about getting a procedure done, it should be about creating a good experience, so that any fear or anxiety can be reduced. The right doctor will not rush you into treatment if you’re uncomfortable

As you work with a dentist, see if you can begin with milder treatments, so that you can ease into sitting on that dental chair and having your dentist look inside your mouth. Once you’re ready, you can proceed to more advanced treatments.

5. Bring a Companion During Appointments. Having someone with you on a dental appointment, may it be a friend or family member, can offer an extra layer of support and assurance. If possible, see if your loved one can still keep you company even during a procedure.

TIP: Go with someone who doesn’t have any fears about going to the dentists. More so, schedule the appointment in the morning, so that you can spend less time dwelling on your apprehensions.

6. See if Sedatives are Appropriate. Sedation can be administered to keep a patient calm and relaxed during treatment. Some sedatives include local anesthetic, nitrous oxide, and oral or IV sedation. Discuss with your dentist if sedatives are advisable, and if so, which one will work best for you.

7. Practice Relaxation Techniques. Relaxation exercises can help you stay calm during treatment. One of the ways you can relax is through controlled breathing, which involves taking a big breath and letting it out very slowly. This will help relax your muscle and slow your heartbeat.

8. Use Distractions. Distractions can help divert your attention during treatment. Some of the ways to take your mind off the procedure are listening to music, fiddling with a stress ball, and counting to yourself. Meanwhile, you can also watch a funny video or a feel-good clip to help you relax before appointments.

9. Seek the Help of a Psychologist. If your fear is so intense and none of the tips mentioned above worked for you, consider consulting a psychologist. Psychologists specialize in addressing phobias including dental fear.

10. Reward Yourself. Once you overcome your dental fear or make milestones like finishing a particular dental treatment, reward yourself. Buy something nice or do something fun like going on a weekend getaway. Doing so will help you relate dental visits with fun activities.

Keep in Mind Dental treatments are way more advanced now as compared to a few years back. In fact, there are ways to do things with as minimal pain as possible—from the administration of anesthesia to surgery. More so, dentists recognize that people have apprehensions about going to them, so they continue to strive in providing a comfortable and reassuring atmosphere for patients.

A dental visit is not as dreadful as you think, because its goal is to keep your oral health in check. If you’re trying to overcome your anxiety or fear, keep the ten tips discussed to make your appointment as comfortable as possible.

Have a great day!

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Tooth restoration in the Modern Dental Office

Fillings vary in complexity and material. Some are direct fillings, placed “directly” in a cavity, although others are indirect, wherein an impression of the tooth is taken and a custom filling is created to fit around it. If your dentist suggests a tooth restoration, knowing what’s available can help you make the best choice for your mouth.

You might think of amalgam fillings for teeth as a classic option. According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), dentists have been using this type of filling for more than 150 years. As the name suggests, amalgam fillings are made up of a mixture of metals. They typically contain about 50 percent mercury, along with tin, copper, silver or zinc. Compared to other types, amalgam fillings have a few things going for them: They are the least pricey option, and they’re also very strong and long-lasting.

Amalgam fillings aren’t without drawbacks, though. They’re silver in color to start and tend to become darker with time, meaning they are a fairly conspicuous item when you open your mouth.

A composite tooth filling, typically made of powdered glass and acrylic resin, offers a few advantages over an amalgam filling. For one, the filling can be shaded to match the color of a person’s existing teeth, making it much less visible. As more people want natural-looking smiles, composite fillings have become increasingly popular.

When it comes to dental fillings, you can do much worse than gold. It’s one of the most durable and long-lasting options, with the ADA noting that it can remain effective for more than two decades. Of course, that durability comes at a price, as gold fillings are among the most expensive. They’re usually indirect fillings, as well, so you’ll need to spend more time in a dentist’s chair to receive one.

Porcelain fillings are similar to gold. They are a form of indirect filling, usually require more than one visit to the dentist and tend to be pricey. However, they’re also different from gold fillings in a few important way: On the one hand, they are much more fragile. On the other, they look like actual teeth and can help you maintain a natural appearance.

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