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dental crown

Visiting Soulsmile: Your Questions Answered

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Visiting Soulsmile: Your Questions Answered

ashland dental office

Hello and happy summer! We hope everyone has been enjoying the weather here in the Rogue Valley. We're particularly fond of afternoons at Emigrant Lake. Coming from the crowded state of California, we are always surprised at how few people are out on the lake, even in the middle of summer. Oh well - more fun for us!

We've noticed that we get asked a lot of the same questions by prospective patients when they first call in. We thought we'd gather a list to answer them in a blog. 

Do you accept ______ insurance?

The easy answer is that we accept any insurance that allows you to choose your own dentist. My advice to friends and family when they have questions about their dental insurance is to request a copy of their benefits and become familiar with them. It is surprising how many patients are never given a copy of their benefits! Unfortunately, there are HUNDREDS of dental plans out there and they change yearly. A dental office will usually know the basics of your plan, but knowing the nuances yourself can answer a lot of questions. Most likely, you're looking for a section of your benefits titled "Out of Network". A lot of people are surprised to find that going to an out-of-network dentist may only cost them $20 more, but can mean a HUGE difference in the quality of care they receive. 

Currently, we are IN network with Delta (aka Moda), Regence (aka Blue Cross Blue Shield) and Cigna. However, there are even some plans within those companies where they do not let you choose your own provider. So check out your benefits for the best answers! Feel free to ask us your questions too. 

How much does _______ cost?

We are as transparent with costs for our services as possible and are certainly able to give you an estimate. The only problem is, without seeing what's going on in your mouth, its hard to know exactly what you need. Here are some common services we get asked about:

  • A crown is usually $1,100. But in some cases, the tooth has worn down enough or has had a root canal and needs a $200 build up too. This is so the crown has something to secure it to.
  • Fillings cost between about $100-300 depending on how many surfaces it needs to cover.
  • Invisalign is $4700.
  • A cleaning is $111. Unless you have periodontal disease and need a deeper cleaning called Periodontal Maintenance, that is $160. 

Sometimes the best price to ask about is your initial exam (we usually run great specials!). From there we can see what you need and discuss costs. There are ways to work within any budget!

Do you offer payment plans?

Yes! We work with a third party service called CareCredit. They allow you to finance healthcare service, similar to using a credit card. They even offer no interest plans if its paid off within a certain time frame, usually a year. You can learn more or even apply on their website. We can also help you with the process in our office.

What will happen at the first visit?

First, you'll be greeted by our friendly team. Then, you'll be seated in our conference room to fill out welcome forms. We've had them laminated to eliminate paper waste. They are scanned into our computer when we're done and then erased for the next guest. You'll then be escorted to a treatment room by one of our awesome dental assistants. There, they'll take records. Most commonly this consists of not only xrays, but also digital images. Patients love that high resolution photography allows us to show you what we see. This way you can make more informed decisions about your dental care. Our assistants are highly trained and will often start the conversation about your dental health - if anything is bothering you, what they are seeing, your goals for your oral health, etc. Dr. Kivel will then do an in depth oral examination and review of records. He will present a comprehensive overview of your teeth and gums and if there is any recommended treatment. The main goal of this appointment is to give you any information you might want to know about your mouth, but most importantly - find out what you want and how we can help. Sometimes this means nothing at all! Other times, it means simply addressing any obvious decay or how your smile can look its best. It really is all up to the patient and what they want. 

I just need a cleaning. Can I make an appointment for that only?

The state of Oregon actually requires that dentists perform an oral exam on a patient before assuming care for them. It makes sense! How can we even provide the best type of cleaning for a patient before we know what they need? So at Soulsmile, you'll first have an exam with Dr. Kivel and his assistants to see how things are going before booking a cleaning with our fantastic hygienists. 

Do you offer consultations or second opinions?

Yes and yes! Anyone with more general questions about bigger treatment plans, cosmetics, treatment proposed by another dentist, etc, is welcome to come in to meet Dr. Kivel and an assistant for a free 15 minute consultation. This type of appointment is also useful for patients with dental anxiety who simply want to meet the team and check out the office before making their first appointment. 

Have any other questions? You can contact us directly or leave it in the comments if you'd like us to add it to the blog article. Thanks for your interest in Soulsmile. 

 

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Crowns vs. Partial Crowns (Onlays)

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Crowns vs. Partial Crowns (Onlays)

Last week, we got Dr. Kivel to sit down and give us his thoughts on a common dental question, "Should I get a crown or an onlay?". Here, he explains the differences and what factors may influence your decision. Take it away, Dr. Kivel!

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So you've got a tooth with a fracture or decay that requires something larger and stronger than a filling.  Maybe the term “crown” sounds familiar or is something you’ve had performed in the past.  But now you are being given the choice of doing a partial crown or what is often called an onlay.  How do you decide?

In the past, when a patient had a big structural problem with a tooth it meant that the dentist was likely going to shape the tooth to resemble an upside down paper cup to then glue on a strong restoration that would replace the shaved down “crown” of the tooth.  This unfortunate sacrifice of healthy tooth structure was required to give the “crown” something to hold onto.  The crown also tended to go all the way to the gumline, often causing irritation and sometimes resulting in recession.  Lastly, by shaving the tooth down, there was always the risk of aggravating the nerve inside of the tooth, maybe even causing a root canal.  A crown is still an excellent choice, and maybe the only choice in circumstances where most or all of the tooth needs to be replaced.

Modern materials and adhesives have given us dentists the ability to focus on replacing just the part of the tooth that is experiencing a problem with a partial crown, often termed an onlay.  In other words, we don’t have to shape a tooth into a little nub to put a large crown over it.  Instead, a replacement piece is fabricated out of an ultra strong material and is then “bonded” to the tooth.  It is a fairly technical procedure, but with experience, great isolation technique (no saliva!) and preferably with same-day CAD/CAM capabilities (using a computer to make crowns in the dentist's own office), it is a common approach and good alternative to a conventional crown.  The uncommon, but possible, drawback is that a partial crown may be more vulnerable to fracture or breaking off.  But with all the healthy tooth structure of the tooth saved, it merely needs to be replaced.

Crowns and partial crowns cost the same in most offices.  They are also usually made of the same material, the most popular being the tooth colored and incredibly strong “emax”.

Choosing between a crown and onlay can come down to answering the following question.  

What is more important to you:

1.  having a restoration that has a stronger likelihood of lasting longer (crown), or

2.  having a restoration that is as minimally invasive, tooth-conserving as possible (partial crown/onlay)?

When asked what I would do if I were faced with the choice of a partial crown/onlay or full coverage crown, I would choose a partial crown/onlay every time.

I hope this blog helped you decide between a crown and an partial crown/onlay.  If you have any questions, please reach out to us or stop in!  

Thanks for your interest,
Aron
 

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