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Dr. Funke is a professional contributor in one of our local Rochester magazines. You can see his contributions also posted here. Let us know if you have any areas you would like to learn or hear more about!

Will My Insurance Cover it? – January 2024

We all are required to have and carry car insurance to drive on public roads. This is intended to protect the owner driver as well as other drivers in the event of an accident. Our car insurance is intended to cover catastrophic events and have deductibles that must first be paid by the owner driver.

Now, what happens to our insurance premiums?

Our insurance premiums are put into a large pot of money that we all hope we never have to use. Plans have deductibles intended to discourage use of the system unless there are major events that take place and also have caps (vehicle is totaled). Insurance does not cover things like routine maintenance (oil changes, brake changes, fluid changes, wiper blade changes, etc.) or things like tire changes.

How does this relate to “dental insurance” and coverage?

There are many similarities and differences between dental insurance and car insurance – even medical insurance. A major similarity is that there is a large pot that money is put into. There are individuals that oversee how that money is used and dispersed – they charge a fee for this. This fee goes to the CEOs and other employees of the insurance company – thus decreasing the total amount that can be paid for patient services. Companies work to make sure that the numbers favor the house – they want their end of year bonus! One way of guaranteeing that the numbers will make sense is that there is a maximum that the dental insurance companies will allow any individual to take out of the system in any given year – VERY different from medical insurance. Think of dental insurance as a coupon book! The dental insurance companies will also limit services provided and say they are “not covered” or have waiting periods to make sure that you have paid what they deem enough into the system before taking money out.

In many ways, paying dental insurance premiums is betting against oneself. If more money goes out of the system than in then it simply does not work – meaning “the house always wins”. Participation in an insurance plan may make sense if the premium was subsidized by an outside source (employer). This would decrease the amount the patient would be paying for the premium – thus decreasing the risk while keeping the reward the same.

Another thing to keep in mind is that the insurance companies will try to limit the services provided by having contracted (“in-network”) offices that have agreed to the rules the dental insurance companies have put in place. But the thing is, companies often pay out a similar amount even for non-contracted offices.

This makes one stop to think if paying for “dental insurance” makes sense or “will my insurance cover this?” are the right questions to ask.

Maybe one could create and manage their own “dental insurance plan” by placing money in their own pot and be the one to decide how and where it is used?

Technology in Dentistry – Fall 2023

The world around us is filled with new technologies that are changing and evolving. Everything from our vehicles we drive with hands free, smart watches we wear, and phones we keep in our pockets. These technologies are helping make our lives easier and better than ever before. Did you know the same can be said for technology in dentistry and your experience in the dental chair?

Not long ago it was a dreadful sound when your dentist would tell you that a crown would be helpful to fix a broken or fractured tooth. You would need to schedule multiple appointments involving uncomfortable “goop” in your mouth, a fragile temporary crown that may break or come off, a long two week wait for the permanent crown to be made by an outside lab, and then a need for another appointment and time away from work and family……

Now there is technology that allows for getting a dental crown to be a much more comfortable and convenient process. The process is typically completed in under a two hour time frame and in a single appointment – don’t worry, patients don’t have to hold their mouth open that whole time!

Utilizing CEREC technology allows for impressions to be made with a camera to digitally compute and create a model of the teeth within the computer program. These digital models are more accurate with less distortion than traditional stone models – they are much more comfortable too! The computer is then used by the dentist to design the new crown and send it to a milling machine to be made. Typically it will take anywhere from 8-12 minutes for the crown to be milled out – always a great time for a break for the patient! The crown is tried in the patient’s mouth and modifications made prior to being characterized to match the neighboring teeth. It is put in the oven for a short time of approximately 15 minutes – another great time for a break for the patient! The crown is then cemented into place, cleaned, made sure the bite is comfortable, and patient on their way! See – we told you patients aren’t open that whole time! Not so bad anymore!

Digital impressions with CEREC can also be utilized in many other applications as well including fabrication of dental sleep/snore appliances, TMD/TMJ appliances, clear braces, dental implants, larger cosmetic cases, as well as other removable appliances. All of these applications are utilized at Med City Dental to help improve your health and smile.

With improvements in technology all around us, there should also be improvements and utilization of technology in your experience at the dental office. The Med City Dental team is dedicated to implementing new and better technologies to help make your experience in the dental chair easier and better than before! Give us a call if you are looking for a better dental experience that is keeping up with the advances in technology around us!

Scott A. Funke, DDS, FAGD