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fillings

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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Large Filling vs. Partial Crown (Onlay)

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Large Filling vs. Partial Crown (Onlay)

So you have a cavity, a broken tooth or an old leaking or breaking filling that requires attention. In my view, if the area of the tooth affected is greater than two thirds of the surface area of the tooth, then you have a choice to make: a plastic (aka composite) filling or a lab fabricated partial crown (also called onlays). A filling of this size is generally around $275. It is stacked in a jelly form into the tooth where it is then light cured to become hard. You can imagine that its strength, while incredible for the jelly-to-rock transformation, is somewhat limited as compared to a partial crown constructed outside of the mouth and then glued in place.

Partial crowns/onlays are fabricated with modern chemistry, under pressure and subjected to massive crystallization heat - outside of the mouth of course! Partial crowns cost $1100 and require only two hours to make start-to-finish. They can be done with no temporary filling if you are in a digital office like ours, or two weeks if a dentist sends out to a lab while the patient wears a temporary filling. If the problem area on your tooth is smaller than two thirds of the surface area of the tooth, then the modern composites offer great strength at that size, look great, flex like a natural tooth, and provide a unifying strength to the tooth due to its adhesive nature. But will a filling last if it is two thirds or greater? Maybe. And that’s where the decision rests. Let’s jump right into the main question.

Ask yourself if you mind the filling not lasting in order to save the money or if you would prefer to spend a little more to have something that will last longer. (Yes insurance covers both, just be sure to have great photos/xrays and maybe even a pre-authorization from your insurance company for an onlay).

If money were not a consideration, I would choose an onlay. I would choose a more flexible material such as Lava Ultimate if it was slightly smaller and on a premolar, or Emax if it was slightly larger and/or on a molar. That said, stopping decay or handling a problem immediately with a filling is much better than letting it go or blowing your budget on a single tooth if you have several teeth to work on. I’ve done large composites that last for years. It’s an especially common choice for students and people getting started or restarted in the workplace who just need to buy a little time. We monitor these large fillings closely. After a few years or in the event of breakage, often the patient is ready to graduate the filling to an onlay.

There is no right or wrong answer; just a risk-tolerance preference and financial comfort level assessment.

I hope this post helps you decide between a partial crown/onlay or a filling. If you have any questions, please feel free to comment below or contact our office.

Thank you for your interest.
Aron

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