Dental Insurance? The truth that most don’t explain.

Insurance? Absolutely, we take it. We just don’t allow your insurance to dictate your diagnosis and treatment.

I hear too many friends and others around town express that they feel they’re getting the dental runaround- their questions aren’t answered, they’re pushed through so fast they wonder what’s going on, and they don’t even see the same doctor every time. This isn’t how dentistry should be. What most patients don’t realize is these problems stem from the office being insurance driven. Let me explain what I mean. Grab a cup of coffee, this is gonna be good!

Often times an employer will bring on a dental benefit from an dental insurance company as a perk of employment. If you want good employees, you better give them benefits, right? Well, these benefits cost the employer money. The good dental plans cost more, the crappy plans cost less. That’s just how it is. So the dental insurance companies form dental plans to pitch to the employers in certain areas, hoping for their business. Sadly, often what determines the plan the employer chooses is the cost, so often the crappy plans are the ones you get when you get hired. But it’s something- it’s definitely a benefit to help you pay for your dental care, which is great! It’s certainly better than nothing.

The issues with these lower cost plans is they reimburse the dentists much less than the higher cost plan. So a crown done on a low cost plan may get the dentist $500, whereas the same crown done on a high quality plan may get the dentist $1000. This is not uncommon. So what does that mean for the dentist and what does that mean for you, the patient? Well, the dentist who is a preferred provider for the low cost plan, has to see twice as many patients as the dentist who isn’t a preferred provider for that plan, just to make the same amount of money. These dentists have to work faster, much faster, in order to make a profit. And because they don’t get paid as much per procedure, they usually aren’t able to afford paying for higher quality staff, materials, and technology. The crowns I get from my lab from either California or here is Montana cost almost 4 times as much as a cheap crown I could get from a “mega-lab” or from China. This is just one small example. So for the dentist, life looks much different if he/she is in deep with the low cost plans as a preferred provider. The main difference is TIME. They don’t have the time to sit down with you for an hour and explain why you need $3000 of dental work. They simply can’t do it and still make a profit. How do I know this? Because this is how I used to work. For the first three years out of dental school that was my life. I had to work fast, I didn’t have time to sit and chat, and the insurance price I would get would dictate where I would send a crown to be made, what material I would use to do a filling, and in the end, how much I could pay my assistant. Hindsight is 20/20- it’s easy for me to see now how insurance companies dictated almost everything in my office.

Well…that’s not how I practice any more. I honestly don’t even think about insurance now; I’ve realized my patients are just that- MY patients, not the insurance companies. And who knows my patients best? I do. I no longer allow the insurance companies to have so much influence in my practice and between me and my patients.

So what does this mean for you, the patient? First, it means that you will be able to make decisions without the insurance company trying to make those decisions for you. Second, it means that you’ll get our full attention here. Because I don’t have to see as many patients, I’m not juggling 2-4 patients at one time. I see one patient, start to finish, and then see the next patient. And third, it means your treatment will be done by a highly trained doctor and staff, well researched and highly successful dental materials and technology, and get dental care that will last 15-20 years instead of 5-10 years.

Dr. Taylor

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