6 Ways to Keep Your Smile Bright for the Holidays

Hermey the ElfIt’s that time of year again! Hermey, Santa’s Elf, who aspires to become a dentist, has offered a few suggestions along with the ADA for keeping that smile bright for the holidays:

  1. For those of us with unused dental benefits for the year, it’s still not too late to take advantage. If  you need treatment, or if it’s been more than 6 months since your last cleaning, call today to get an appointment before the end of the year.
  2. Consider “Smile Friendly” stocking stuffers. Tooth brushes, floss, and tooth paste make great stocking stuffers! You might also consider the gift of an electric toothbrush. Most of the stores have great deals at this time of year. We also have rebate coupons for some of the more popular brushes here at the office!
  3. Hum a Christmas Carol or any song of your choice while brushing. We’re supposed to brush for 2 minutes and most songs are about 2 minutes long. (Most people don’t brush for 2 minutes unless they are using an electric toothbrush with a built-in timer!) And don’t forget to floss in between all the teeth at least once a day.
  4. Don’t open gifts with your teeth (or otherwise use them as tools). Most of the chipped front teeth I encounter are the result of some unintended use, i.e. biting fingernails, chewing ice, etc.
  5. For whiter teeth, you can use over the counter toothpastes or whitening strips, but for best results, have it done in the office. The toothpastes whiten mostly by using abrasives, which ultimately wear the enamel away. This can leave teeth actually looking gray or darker from the exposing the underlying tooth structure.
  6. Stick to your routine! With all the holiday parties and sweet treats, don’t deviate from your normal home care routine. Brush and floss regularly to keep the Grinch at bay!

I’d be more than happy to address any of your concerns regarding the health of your teeth, or provide you with rebate coupons on electric toothbrushes during your next visit. Don’t hesitate to contact me or the staff at my office, Dr. Laurence H. Stone, DDS, any time at 215-230-7667.

Happy Holidays!

Dental Insurance vs. Direct Reimbursement. Why you need to understand the difference.

Even before the specter of the Affordable Care Act we’ve often been asked questions about dental insurance and why we don’t participate or why a plan doesn’t pay for this or that. It’s really not that complicated. Dental insurance is a rigged game and I refuse to play. No insurance company has ever lost a dime on a dental insurance policy. Insurance is for catastrophic events: i.e. hurricane Katrina, a $100,000 triple by-pass, your home burns down, etc. There simply is no catastrophic downside in dentistry! Therefore…no need for insurance. Same for eye glass coverage.

What people should want, where possible, is a dental benefit program. The answer for this is Direct Reimbursement.

Never heard of it? That’s because there’s no money to be made from it. No money for insurance companies, brokers, or sales people!

How does it work? Simple. You or your employer set aside a certain amount of money each year depending on a predetermined limit of coverage and the patient can:

  1. See any dentist of their choosing (there are no participating/non-participating dentists)
  2. Have any procedures done that are needed (there are no covered/non-covered services)
  3. Pay the dentist his or her regular fee.
  4. Present your paid receipt to your employer who will write you a check, up to the predetermined limit for the year.

The benefits to the employer are great too:

  1. The employer gets the same tax write off that they would for an insurance program
  2. You get the same benefit for less or a better benefit for the same amount of money set aside. (Typically the average benefit with a dental insurance plan is 65 cents for each premium dollar paid. The rest is the insurance company’s costs and profits!)
  3. If there’s money left at the end of the year…the employer keeps it! It’s their money! (When’s the last time you heard about an insurance premium being refunded?)

Need more information? Just call or e-mail my office or the American Dental Association. We would be happy to help you or your accountant set up a Direct Reimbursement Program for your place of employment!