Earlier this month we celebrated National Dental Hygienists Appreciation Week and spotlighted our 3 superstar hygienists, Maria, Rocio, and Darby!
So what does a dental hygienist do? . . . So much more than "just clean teeth!" Dental hygienists are trained to:
Remove bacteria-filled plaque and tartar from the mouth
Administer fluoride treatments
Assess a patient's oral health and report to the dentist
Complete chart notes and clinical documentation
Educate patients about their oral health
What does it take to become a dental hygienist? . . . In the state of Texas, a registered dental hygienist completes a 2 or 4 year degree in dental hygiene studies - including biology, chemistry, and pharmacology - and then must pass a state board licensing exam. Hygienists are also required to complete continuing education every year to maintain their licensure. This equips the hygiene team to be fantastic oral health educators!
What kind of experience can my child expect with a pediatric trained dental hygienist? . . . At Children's Dental Centre of Irving, our top priorities are keeping kids cavity-free and creating positive dental memories! Hygienists who are trained to work with kids have multiple techniques and strategies to keep the visit positive and upbeat. They are also enthusiastic about patient education and enjoy encouraging children to take part in their oral health care at home.
Staying up to date with regular 6 month dental check-ups is a key element in building healthy habits for life! If your family is due for dental check-ups, please give us a call today at 214-484-3199 or book online.
The quality of our sleep has a major impact on a child's overall health and development!
Is Your Child Getting Enough Sleep?
What About Sleep Quality?
Quality sleep = restful sleep. When sleeping quality is poor, you may notice:
Pauses, gasps, or snorting when breathing while asleep
Restless sleeping or sleeping in unusual positions
Hard time waking your child in the morning
Child is sleepy and/or inattentive during the day
Why is Sleep Health Important to Your Pediatric Dental Specialist?
Sleeping habits can affect your oral health! Your pediatric dental specialist may ask you questions about your child's sleeping habits, tonsils, and medical history at your child's check up. This may seem unrelated to their dental health, but habits like mouth-breathing, snoring, and grinding/clenching can put your child at a higher-than-normal risk for cavities!
Not only does sleep affect your child's oral health, but the structures inside the mouth, nose, and throat can affect your child's sleep! Our pediatric dental specialist regularly screen for signs of Obstructive Sleep Apnea, tongue posture, and other factors that could negatively affect your child's growth and development. We frequently coordinate referrals to pediatricians and/or an ENT specialists for follow up on concern areas.
Please keep in mind that this post is a general overview of sleep health and there are other risk factors and symptoms that can be associated with sleep disorders, oral health, and overall bodily well-being. Visit your pediatric dental specialist and your pediatrician regularly to discuss your child's specific medical and dental needs.
Traditionally, our hygienists spend the month of February visiting local preschools and daycares performing fun and engaging "Tooth Talks" to teach kids how to keep their smiles healthy and strong, but COVID-19 social-distancing precautions have prevented us from visiting this year. So we got creative and put together this fun kid's video that can be enjoyed all year round!
How well do you understand your insurance benefits? Navigating the language and rules of dental insurance can be confusing for both patients and providers! Let's take a look at some insurance basics to help you understand your plan and get the most out of your benefits:
Insurance has a language all its own. Understanding the vocabulary will help with reading your benefits booklet and explanations of benefits.
Explanation of Benefits (EOB) - This is a written summary sent to the provider and to the patient after a claim is processed. It shows what was charged to your insurance, what was covered or denied, and the patient's estimated copays.
Frequency Limitations - Some procedures are subject to frequency limitations, meaning your plan will only cover this procedure a specific number of times in a certain time period. For example, your plan may allow exams once every 6 months or 2 in a 12 month period.
Downgrading - Also known as "alternate benefit." When a claim is submitted, insurance will look to see if a less costly procedure could have been performed as an alternative to what was done, and will then pay the benefits of the lesser procedure, leaving a balance that becomes the patient's responsibility. Insurance commonly downgrades what they consider cosmetic procedures, like white fillings (downgraded to silver).
Deductible - This is the required patient out-of-pocket payment before your insurance coverage kicks in. When a deductible applies to a procedure, it does not mean that your insurance doesn't cover it. Example: If you have a $50 deductible on your plan and you need a $200 filling, you must pay $50 before your plan will cover their percentage of the crown. If insurance covers 50%, that means insurance is estimated to pay $75 ($200 - $50 deductible = $150, 50% of $150 is $75). Once a deductible is met for your plan period, you don't have to pay it again until your plan year renews.
Copay - This is your out-of-pocket cost per procedure. If insurance covers something at 80%, your copay is the remaining 20%. Copays vary by procedure type, frequencies, limitations, and are affected by the deductible.
Now that you're familiar with the verbiage, let's talk about some common misconceptions. . .
Myth: Paying for dental insurance means you shouldn't have to pay out of pocket at the dentist'soffice. TRUTH:Dental insurance functions like a maintenance package for your oral health that helps to offset the cost of basic dental care. It's not designed to cover everything 100%. Most plans have built-in deductibles, co-pays, coverage percentages, and limitations that account for the patient's out-of-pocket expenses. This is called cost-sharing.
Myth: If insurance doesn't cover it, then I probably don't need it. TRUTH: Your doctor is looking out for YOUR unique health needs and will make recommendations in your best interest. Insurance plans are built to cover common procedures for large groups of people. It's reasonable to expect that many people of the same group will have differing medical needs. Furthermore, your doctor's decisions are guided by current research and recommendations from professional organizations such as the American Dental Academy and the American Board of Pediatric Dentistry, which may not be taken into consideration by your employer or insurance carrier when building your plan.
Myth: If I paid my copay at the time of my appointment, then I shouldn't get any bills from my dentist in the mail later. TRUTH: Insurance does not provide a guarantee of payment, ever. The insurance professionals in the dental office will provide as best an estimate as they can based on the limited information that the insurance company provides, however, there are many factors out of your dentist's control that can affect how your claim is processed. A few examples include: if you or your dependents have pending claims in another office or have history in another office during the same plan period, downgrading clauses, and deductibles.
Do you have more questions? The best way to learn more about your insurance is to contact the company directly. Most plans offer web portals with detailed plan information and articles to help you read your EOBs, view claims, and find a provider near you. Or call the customer hotline to speak with a representative.