The Pensak Houghton Dentistry staff is happy to answer your questions about our practice and services. If you don’t find the answer to your question, please call us or send an email.
No. This is an important question and deserves a direct and complete response.
We find dealing directly with insurance companies for payment interferes with the proper type of relationship we’d like to have with you. We are primarily interested in your dental and general health. Your insurance company is primarily interested in their bottom line. Proof of this is the fact that most insurance companies will still not reimburse for non-metal fillings because they cost more even though they have been the standard of care in Calgary for over 20 years. Also, when dental insurance was first widely introduced over 40 years ago, the annual limits were typically $1,000. Today they’re still about the same. In 1980 dollars, that equates to around $130. Who benefits from that?
Dealing with insurers directly interferes with our ability to focus primarily on health instead of finances. There are many people who will never come to see us because of this policy. We only want to treat patients who care less about what their insurance covers than their quality of care. We respect your coverage though, and will make every effort to help you get reimbursed as much and as quickly as is possible.
Additionally, insurance almost never covers the full amount of our fees – even if your coverage is 100%. That’s because payments are based on 100% of the insurance fee schedule, which amazingly is often still based on usual and customary fees from 1997! If we got paid directly we would have to send a statement to virtually every single patient we treat, often for amounts less than $10! This administrative task is overwhelming and causes two things. It drives up the cost of running our business, which ultimately causes more expense for our patients, and it takes our time away from dealing with you efficiently.
Taking assignment works well in offices that function based on high volume. They keep fees under control because they see a lot of patients every day and hire extra staff just to deal with insurance. That’s the opposite of how this practice operates. We don’t want to see a lot of patients; we want to spoil the ones we do see with individualized attention and care. If you are inclined to choose your dentist based on their billing policy – rather than on who they are, what they know and how you’re treated – you’re probably not right for this office.
No. Not since 1995. In fact, we love to get rid of them. Not because they’re poisoning you – at least that’s extremely unlikely. Regardless of what you may have read on the Internet or in Reader’s Digest, they are not toxic except in extremely rare cases – according to every medical study ever conducted and the World Health Organization anyway. We like to get rid of them because they’re ugly, and because they reduce the longevity of your teeth.
No, we’re not really that type of clinic. We have some very limited evening hours available, but are really just a Monday to Friday operation. However, our regular patients know that they can call us anytime, including at home on weekends, if an emergency occurs.
The term “impacted” applies to a tooth that has not fully erupted. A tooth may become impacted because of crowding or malposition. Third molars (wisdom teeth) are most likely to become impacted.
Impacted teeth require removal for any one of several potential problems. The most common problem associated with impacted teeth is infection and the resultant pain and swelling. These infections tend to recur until the impacted tooth is removed. Impacted teeth can cause damage by promoting decay or by eroding the roots of adjacent teeth. An erupting wisdom tooth may cause some crowding by pushing on the roots of existing teeth.
We recommend that impacted wisdom teeth be removed between the ages of 14 and 22 years. Surgery is technically easier, and patients recover much more quickly when they are younger. What is a relatively minor operation at 20 can become more difficult in patients over 40. The risk of complications increases with age, and the healing process is slower.
A dental implant is a synthetic root made of titanium that serves as a replacement for the root of a missing natural tooth. The implant is placed in the upper or lower jaw and allowed to fuse with the bone. A replacement tooth can then be fabricated on this platform. Dental implants can be used to replace a single lost tooth or many missing teeth. Implants look, feel and function like natural teeth. Dental implants are a proven restorative option with a long clinical history. Dental implants preserve the integrity of the facial structure and reduce the inconvenience associated with tooth loss.
Anyone who is missing one or more of their teeth due to injury, disease, or decay may be a candidate for dental implants. If one, a few, or all teeth are missing, dental implants in conjunction with a crown or bridge can replace those teeth. Occasionally, older patients express concern that their age may prevent them from enjoying the benefits that dental implants offer. However, health is more of a determining factor than age. If you’re healthy enough to have a tooth extracted, you’re probably healthy enough to receive dental implants.
Yes, there will be some discomfort for the first few days but most patients report that they were much more comfortable following the procedure than they had anticipated. Implants are placed in a very gentle fashion and care is taken to preserve the various tissues involved. IV sedation and/or local anesthesia are used to eliminate any discomfort at the time of the procedure.
Use the convenience of our online form to book your next appointment.
We’ll follow-up with you to set a date and time once we have your phone number.