SmilesByGlerum News

Karen Glerum DDS

Smiles by Glerum News – December 2013

December 1st, 2013

2013 Insurance Benefit

Dear Patients,

Time flies…we are almost through 2013. The end of the year will be upon us before we know it; and with the end of the year comes the end of your yearly dental insurance benefits.

Did you know that each year insurance companies make millions of dollars off patients who forgo necessary and preventive dental care? Many individuals who are paying for dental insurance do not realize that their plans provide coverage up to a certain dollar amount annually. Consequently, some patients are not scheduling the dental treatment they need, deserve, and have insurance to cover. Thus, the insurance revenues allocated to pay dental claims on many patients are never used, and, unfortunately, those dollars cannot be carried over year-to-year. The bottom line: What the patient does not use they lose. Clearly, it pays in many ways to schedule the preventive care or other dental treatment that you need.

We want to make sure that you take full advantage of any remaining benefits your family might have. Many times you may be able to save money by completing your treatment before year’s end and avoid having to pay a new deductible next year.

We are here to help you secure the insurance coverage available to you on every dental procedure you schedule. Give us a call today, and together let’s make sure you are in excellent dental health. We look forward to seeing you again and sharing some of the many innovative means we now have available to provide you with superior dental health care.

If you have any questions about how much actual coverage remains on your insurance benefits, please call our office so that we can check on that for you. At that time, we can schedule you at the earliest available appointment to ensure you take full advantage of all the insurance benefits you pay for.

Please call or email us to make an appointment before the end of the year. We are scheduling November and December appointments at this time.

Please don’t wait until the last minute! Our schedule usually fills very quickly in the last quarter of the year.

Xylitol: The Tooth Friendly Sweetener

Xylitol is a white crystalline substance that looks and taste like sugar. It is found naturally and can be extracted from birch, raspberries, plums, corn and mushrooms. Technically it is not a sugar but a sugar alcohol that is sometimes called wood sugar or birch sugar. Our bodies produce up to 15mg everyday as part of normal metabolism.

The great benefit of Xylitol in preventing tooth decay was “discovered” in Finland in the early 1970’s. Streptococcus Mutans, bacteria found in the mouth, produces toxins and acids that can dissolve teeth when foods with refined sugar [sucrose] are eaten.

Xylitol is not fermented by oral bacterial, so it cannot cause cavities [caries]. It works its magic on many levels.

  • It inhibits the growth of cavity-producing bacteria S. Mutans and lactobacilli. The number of these acid-producing bacteria may fall as much as 90%
  • It prevents the transmission of S. Mutans from mother to child
  • It reduces the adhesion of plaque to your teeth
  • It stimulates salivary flow creating a greater buffer capacity against acids and aiding remineralization of your teeth

Therapeutically, Xylitol is added to chewing gum or candy. The dosage is critical. To receive tooth decay prevention benefits, you must receive 6-10 grams of Xylitol per day. When reading the label of a Xylitol containing product, Xylitol should be the first sugar listed and, ideally, the only sugar component. To be effective, the Xylitol gum must be utilized several times a day over long periods – 6 months, 1 year and 2 years.

Xylitol is also to added to some oral hygiene products such as toothpastes, mouthwashes, floss, fluoride supplements.

Chewing Xylitol gum after meals is a great alternative when brushing or flossing is not an option. Anybody who is at high risk for dental decay such as people with dry mouths or those with exposed tooth root surfaces should consider this decay prevention therapy.

On a precautionary note – excessive chewing could lead to headaches and/or pain in the TMJ joint near your ear. Don’t over do it!

Call our office for product recommendations.

Does My Dental Insurance Pay?

If you have dental insurance coverage, like most people, you want to know how much of the treatment will be covered and how much out-of-pocket expense will I have?

Most dental benefit plans arise from an agreement between an insurance company and a plan sponsor [employer or union]. There are literally hundreds of plans with endless variables concerning limitations, exclusions, deductibles, annual of lifetime maximum benefits, co-payments and fee schedules. If you have changed jobs, your new plan may not have any resemblance to your old one.

If you are being offered a plan, ask if there are several plans from which to choose. Beside yourself, who in the family will be covered? See if the plan you choose covers pre-existing conditions. If the plan is provided by your union or employer, is there any direct cost to you? If so, how much? Compare this with what you understand the benefits of the program to be.

If you already have dental insurance, we need you to bring in specific information for us to give you the best advice as to your coverage. We must have your insurance policy and ID number. Most important, bring your benefits booklet. If you don’t have one, call your employer or insurance company and request it.

Once we read the benefits book, we can project a general idea for what services and treatment are covered and the percentage of reimbursement. Many third party payers request a “predetermination of benefits” on treatment plans. We can submit the proper form and appropriate records to the insurance company. They will return it with the accepted, allowable treatment and the exact amount of coverage.

Once we have reviewed your plan, we should be able to answer most of your questions. Some plans will only allow the least expensive way to treat a problem, regardless of your choice or our recommendation. We would hope that you don’t base your dental needs and oral health solely on what benefits your plan allows. Our office will be happy to discuss a variety of financial arrangements that will make it possible to receive the treatment you need, while maximizing your insurance benefits.



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