Information For Your Visit



Dental Insurance Information

The coverage provided by dental insurance varies widely between plans. In most cases, your employer will offer one or more plans. The contract established between your employer and insurance provider determines the type of coverage available to you. Dental insurance can be incredibly complex. Figuring out what your insurance plan actually covers can seem overwhelming and is often frustrating, but most dental offices are happy to help you fully understand your coverage.
A Variety ofDental Insurance Plans
There are many providers of dental insurance, all of which offer different levels of coverage. Some of the dental insurance plans on the market include:

  • Delta Dental®
  • Aetna™
  • Guardian™
  • Humana
  • MetLife®
  • CIGNA Dental

Ask your dentist which insurance providers they accept.

How Dental Insurance Works

By purchasing a dental insurance plan, you enter into a contract with the company. They agree to pay certain amounts for certain procedures and you assume responsibility for what they do not cover. Generally, the terms of your coverage are spelled out in the contract. Different plans approach coverage in different ways. Some require you to reach a deductible before paying anything, while others pay a percentage immediately. Understanding the different terms associated with your insurance plan can help you figure out your coverage.

Deductible
A deductible is a minimum amount of money you need to pay towards dental care before your plan coverage starts. Most plans do not require a deductible for diagnostic or preventive services.

Annual Maximum
Many plans have a cap on how much money they will pay for any given treatment during the year. Anything over that amount becomes your responsibility. For example, if your plan has a annual maximum of $2,000 and your dental expenses exceed $3,000, you have to pay the additional $1,000. In some cases, you can raise your annual maximum to better suit your needs. There is usually a separate lifetime maximum for orthodontics.

Least Expensive Alternative Treatment (LEAT)
If your plan has a LEAT clause, the company will only pay for the least expensive treatment available for any given condition.

Frequency Limitations
Some plans have limitations on how often they will cover a certain procedure. Generally, there is a set number of procedures permitted in a specific period. For example, most dental insurance plans will only cover two professional cleanings every 12 months, or one cleaning every six months.

Understanding Your Benefits

If you are confused about your coverage, you can ask the staff at your dentist’s office to help you or call your insurance provider directly. You can also ask your provider for an Explanation of Benefits (EOB) which lists the procedures your plan does and does not cover.

Making the Right Choice for You

When deciding whether to undergo a certain dental treatment, it is important to consider more than your insurance coverage. The least expensive treatment option may not be the right one for you. Be sure to discuss all aspects of your coverage and treatment plan with your dentist before making a decision.

 



Post-Operative Instructions

While recovering from oral surgery, it is important to carefully follow any post-operative instructions from your dentist. These directions can help speed healing and minimize the risk of complications, such as infection or dry socket. There are some general instructions which apply to most oral surgery procedures. Your doctor will likely provide you with specific oral surgery aftercare instructions before your procedure to help you prepare for the recovery process.

Immediately After Your Procedure

You will likely experience discomfort, swelling, and minor bleeding after oral surgery. For the first hour or so, you should keep gentle, but firm, pressure on the treatment area by biting on damp gauze to encourage the formation of a clot. If bleeding persists after the first hour or two, you can try biting on a damp tea bag for 20 to 30 minutes. To further speed healing and minimize discomfort, you should:

  • Use ice packs for the first 24 hours
  • Rinse lightly with a salt water mixture
  • Avoid smoking and chewing tobacco for at least 72 hours
  • Get lots of rest and limit physical activity for 24 to 48 hours
  • Elevate your head when you lie down
  • Stick to soft, cool foods which do not require extensive chewing
  • Take any medications your dentist prescribed, such as antibiotics or pain medication

Unless advised otherwise, you should continue taking your regularly scheduled medications as well. Keep in mind that antibiotics can interfere with birth control pills. You should refrain from consuming alcohol for the first few days after your procedure, especially if your dentist prescribes antibiotics.

If You Were Sedated...

It may take up to 24 hours for the medication to fully leave your system. During this time, there are a variety of activities you should avoid, including:

  • Driving
  • Operating heavy equipment
  • Working around machinery
  • Climbing ladders
  • Working at unsafe heights

You may feel nauseous for the first few hours after sedation. Nausea generally improves within four to six hours. Wait to eat until you feel hungry and try sipping small amounts of clear liquid to prevent dehydration.

Maintaining Your Oral Hygiene

It is crucial after oral surgery to follow a proper hygiene routine. Maintaining your oral hygiene can prevent an infection from developing. Your dentist may advise you to avoid brushing or flossing around the treatment area for a set amount of time after your procedure. You can use a prescription mouthwash or a salt water rinse to remove food particles until you can brush normally again.

Special Instructions for Certain Procedures

Many post-operative directions are specific to the surgery performed. The typical recovery symptoms can vary as well. There are some common instructions associated with certain procedures.

Tooth Extractions
If you have had a tooth extracted or undergone wisdom tooth removal, you should:

  • Not rinse or spit aggressively for 48 hours
  • Avoid using a straw
  • Avoid smoking or chewing tobacco
  • Expect minor swelling

Notify your dentist if bleeding persists or pain increases after three or four days. You should also let your doctor know if you continue to experience numbness after the first day. Severe throbbing pain in the area or persistent bad breath may signal a serious condition known as dry socket and require a trip to your dentist’s office for additional treatment.

Dental Implants
After dental implant placement surgery, you will likely experience swelling and bruising, as well as sensitivity to cold. These symptoms should resolve on their own within a few days. During the initial healing period, you should avoid:

  • Ice, ice cream, cold drinks, and solids, if they are causing discomfort
  • Sticky or hard foods
  • Applying pressure to the implant with your tongue or fingers

If numbness persists after the first day, notify your dentist. You should also contact the office if bleeding persists or pain increases after three days. If your implant or restoration feels loose, let your dentist know.

Bone Grafting
After a bone graft procedure, keep in mind that the grafting material can move during the healing period. You should not rinse or spit aggressively for at least seven days. Additionally, avoid pressing on the treatment area with your tongue or fingers. Pulling or lifting your lip to look at your sutures can put unnecessary pressure on the area and tear the stitches, so be gentle with the area until the sutures dissolve or your dentist removes them.

Persistent pain, swelling, or bleeding can all indicate a complication.
You may feel small granules around the area for the first several days. This sensation is no cause for alarm. However, if a suture falls out within the first three days or you feel an extensive amount of granules, notify your doctor immediately. Your bandage should also stay firmly in place for the first three days. If not, your dentist needs to replace it.

Sinus Lifts
A sinus lift is a delicate procedure. Your dentist may recommend you use antihistamines or a decongestant to alleviate pressure in the area during healing. For the first two weeks, do not blow your nose or sniff forcefully. You should also avoid going swimming or sitting in a hot tub. In addition, you should:

  • Avoid smoking or chewing tobacco
  • Sneeze with your mouth open to minimize pressure on the sinus area
  • Avoid using a straw or spitting forcefully
  • Take all medications as directed, including the nasal spray
  • Avoid pulling or lifting your lip to look at sutures

Minor bleeding from your nose is not uncommon after a sinus lift and should pass quickly. You may also notice small granules in your mouth for the first few days. This is normal. However, if you feel them in your nose, notify your dentist right away.

When to Contact Your Doctor
In general, you should contact your dentist’s office if you feel something is not right. Persistent pain, swelling, or bleeding can all indicate a complication. If you develop a fever, you may have an infection that requires additional care. Your dentist will provide more specific instructions on what to do after your procedure.

 



Pre-Operative Instructions

Following pre-operative instructions is important to ensure a smooth procedure and an easy recovery process. Pre-op instructions for dental surgery differ depending on which procedure you are undergoing and the type of sedation or anesthesia you will receive. Some oral surgery procedures are performed using only local anesthetic, while others involve intravenous (IV) sedation. Following these general guidelines is usually a good place to start. Your dentist can provide you with more specific instructions related to your individual procedure.
Inform Your Doctor of Any Health Concerns

If you have a significant medical issue, such as diabetes or heart disease, you should inform your dentist or surgeon in advance of your procedure. Some patients require antibiotics before undergoing surgery, such as those with artificial heart valves or a joint replacement. Notify your dentist or surgeon of any changes to your health before your procedure.

You should also provide a list of any medications you take regularly, including blood thinners and insulin. Some medications can interfere with healing and your doctor may need to adjust your dosage prior to treatment.

Notify your dentist or surgeon of any changes to your health before your procedure. Do not ignore seemingly minor issues, such as a head or chest cold. Your doctor may recommend changing your appointment until your symptoms pass.

Preparing for Surgery

To prepare for oral surgery, you should:

  • Wear loose fitting, comfortable clothing and a sleeveless or short sleeved shirt.
  • Remove contact lenses, jewelry, and watches.
  • Wear flat-soled shoes that support your ankles.
  • Remove fingernail polish.
  • Avoid alcohol and smoking for 24 hours before surgery.

Immediately before your surgery, you should brush your teeth and rinse your mouth thoroughly to help prevent infection. It is also recommendable to use the bathroom about half an hour before your procedure. For a smooth, calm recovery, it is a good idea to have ice packs and any medications already at home and prepare soft, easy-to-chew food, such as cottage cheese, yogurt, and pudding, in advance.

Special Instructions for Sedation

For patients who are only receiving local anesthetic, the process of preparing for oral surgery is simple. You do not need to worry about eating beforehand or having a ride home. However, for sedation dentistry, there are additional directions to ensure a safe procedure.

Oral Conscious Sedation
If you opt for oral conscious sedation, your dentist or surgeon will likely provide you with a medication to take before your procedure. Be sure to take the medication at the prescribed time with a small amount of water. In some cases, your doctor may recommend you avoid eating for a set amount of time before the appointment. You should arrange for someone to take you to and from your appointment. They may need to stay with you for a few hours after you return home and help you with some basic tasks. Carefully following all direction from your doctor can help ensure a successful dental procedure and an easy recovery process.

IV Sedation
Do not eat or drink anything, including water, for at least six hours before your surgery appointment. If you need to take medications, drink no more than half a glass of water.
You will need someone to drive you to and from your appointment. It may take up to 24 hours for the anesthesia administered during IV sedation to fade from your system entirely, so the individual who brings you to your appointment should expect to stay with you until the day after your procedure.

Follow All Instructions

During your consultation prior to your procedure, your dentist or surgeon will discuss all medications and pre-operative instructions with you. They will likely also give you post-operative instructions to help you prepare for the recovery process. Carefully following all direction from your doctor can help ensure a successful dental procedure and an easy recovery process.