Wednesday, July 24, 2013


Sick of looking at that gap caused by having lost a tooth years ago?  You have two excellent options.  First of all, nothing can take the place of a healthy natural tooth.  The next best solution, knowing what I know, you can't beat a dental implant.  A dental implant is a titanium (same as used in hip and knee replacements) cylinder that is surgically placed in the upper or lower jaw.  It is a freestanding unit, meaning it is not connected to any teeth.  Your jawbone actually fuses to the titanium metal, making it actually stronger than your natural tooth.  The beauty of this implant is because, being metal, it is NEVER susceptible to decay.  Furthermore, it is more resilient to gum disease, since it doesn't develop the same "pocketing" as natural teeth.  A crown or cap is then placed over the implant, and you have a strong, stable and comfortable tooth, allowing you to bite and chew naturally.  A dental implant looks good, feels good and lasts a long time.

The second way to fill in your missing tooth is known as a bridge.  A bridge utilizes the two natural teeth on either side of the space where your missing tooth was extracted.  A bridge depends on the health and strength of these two supporting teeth.  Therefore, a dentist needs to determine whether these two teeth have solid bone support and have good tooth structure and no gum disease.  A bridge is then fabricated by placing a crown over the two natural teeth on either side of the missing tooth and connecting a replacement tooth to these crowns therefore bridging the gap.  It is then "permanently" cemented over the natural two teeth.  Today, these bridges can be fabricated from a stunningly beautiful and strong material called zirconium.  No metal is used in the fabricating process, producing a lifelike and natural restoration.  The advances in dentistry are AMAZING!!!

Wednesday, July 17, 2013


We all love top-ten lists, so here you go!

1.  Fight cancer.  Every hour in the U.S., a person dies from oral cancer.  Only a dentist can do a thorough oral exam and catch the signs of oral cancer early.  Please, leave this diagnosis to the professionals and don't forget that physicians don't substitute for a dentist for this diagnosis.

2.  Maintain your teeth and bones.  A dentist will help enable you to keep your teeth longer.  Maintaining the bony ridges that support the teeth is important for the health of your teeth.  Plus, if you've lost teeth, this leaves the possibility of implant placement in the future.

3.  Have a whiter and more dazzling smile.  This is pretty obvious, right?  A visit to the dentist can remove the common causes of staining.  Plus, if you choose, you can take it a step further and go for whitening treatments as well.

4.  To set good standards for your children.  Having children see the dentist early on in their life allows them to develop a positive attitude toward dentists, prevent future fears from forming, as well as other important issues.  Orthodontic issues can be settled early, sealants can be placed, and early decay can be detected.  Sadly, by the time children are in third grade, 50-70% of children have at least one cavity.

5.  Periodontal diseases (gum disease or pyria) can be prevented.  Regular dental cleanings can prevent this serious gum disease from starting or spreading to other places.

6.  If periodontal or gum diseases start, they can be treated.  Why is this so important?  Because they are time dependent.  Even the best dentists can't reverse severely progressed periodontitis.  Since treatment is usually a painless process, it's important to see a dentist to determine whether or not these diseases are starting to affect you.  Earlier the better, ALWAYS!!!

7.  Periodontal disease can be reversed in its early stages.  Early detection provides benefits to your overall health way beyond your oral cavity.  Periodontal diseases have been noted clinically to contribute to the development of heart disease, increase the risk of stroke, as well as increase a woman's risk of having a preterm, low birth weight baby.  If that's not enough, it poses a threat to people who have diabetes, respiratory conditions, and osteoporosis.

8.  Your dentist can detect other systemic conditions that may be brewing earlier than a family doctor, including hypertension and diabetes.  A dentist can spot issues that a physician, who doesn't examine the mouth, often can't.  Furthermore, infections in the jaw and gums, including abscesses, that go undetected, can lead to heart attacks and strokes.

9.  To save money.  If decay is detected and treated in its early stages, it prevents the need for costlier treatment later.  For example, if decay reaches the tooth's pulp, it would result in the need for root canal therapy.  If that same decay was caught earlier, just a small filling would have been all that was needed.

10.  Seeing a dentist regularly will save lost time from work.  Surveys have shown that poor dental health results in lost productivity.  Dental pain prevents folks from going to work.  Secondary infections can result in serious illnesses that take more time away from work.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013


I decided to put this in question form so it's easier to follow.  The questions below are the ones I hear most frequently when it comes to dental insurance in our office.

Q:  Why doesn't my insurance cover all the costs for my dental treatment?
A:  Dental insurance isn't really insurance at all.  It is actually a money benefit typically provided by an employer to help their employees pay for routine dental treatment.  Another way to look at it is a coupon to use to pay a portion of your costs.

Q:  My plan says that my exams and certain other procedures are covered 100%.
A:  That 100% is usually what the insurance carrier allows as payment toward the procedure, not what your dentist or any other dentist in your area may actually charge.  For example, say your dentist charges $145 for an examination.  Your carrier may allow $100 as the 100% payment for that examination, leaving $45 for you to pay.

Q:  If I always have a balance to pay, what good is my insurance?
A:  Even a benefit plan that doesn't cover a large portion of the cost of needed dentistry pays something.  Any amount covered reduces what you have to pay out of pocket!   Those who don't have dental insurance, which is typically 40-60% of the population, have to pay the TOTAL amount.  So be thankful if you do have dental insurance benefits.

Q:  How does my insurance carrier come up with its allowed payments?
A:  Many carriers refer to their allowed payments as usual, customary and reasonable or UCR.  However, usual, customary and reasonable does not really mean exactly what it seems to mean.  UCR is actually a listing of payments for all covered procedures negotiated by your employer and the insurance company.  It has no bearing on what your dentist's fees are.  It doesn't mean your dentist is charging more than others are.  This listing is related to the cost of the premiums and where you are located in your city  and state.  Your employer has likely selected an allowed payment or UCR payment that corresponds to the premium cost they desire.  UCR payments could be more accurately called negotiated payments.

Q:  I received an Explanation of Benefits from my insurance carrier that says my dental bill exceeded the usual and customary, UCR.  Does this mean that a dentist is charging more than he/she should?
A:  Remember that what insurance carriers call usual and customary is really just what your employer and the insurance company have negotiated as the amount that will be paid toward your treatment.  It is usually less and frequently much less than what any dentist in your area might actually charge for a dental procedure.  It does not mean that your dentist is charging too much.

Q:  Why are you, Dr. Fauth, not on my benefit plan?
A:  The dentists on the list have agreed to a contract with the benefit plan..  These contracts have restrictions and requirements.  For instance, I don't join plans when I'm not comfortable with the restrictions or their payments are so low I can't continue to provide the best quality dentistry I desire for my patient.  I don't want to cut any corners when it comes to doing it right.

Q:  Why won't my plan pay anything toward some procedures?
A:  Your employer or group has decided how many procedures and how much they will pay annually.  As in many areas of life, there are good dental plans and, quite frankly, not so good ones.

Q:  Why do some benefit plans require me to select a dentist from a list?
A:  Usually a dentist on the list has agreed to a contract with the benefit plan.  These contracts have restrictions and requirements.  Many insurance companies call these lists "preferred providers".  This is a misnomer.  They aren't better dentists; they are dentists the carriers prefer you go to.  If your dentist is not on the list it doesn't mean that something is wrong with the dentist or the office.  It usually means the insurance company's benefits pay too low to continue providing the kind of quality dentistry they desire.

Q:  What should I do if my insurance doesn't pay for treatment I think should be covered?
A:  Because your insurance coverage is between you, your employer and the insurance carrier, your dentist does not have the power to make your plan pay.  If your insurance doesn't pay, you are responsible for the total cost of treatment.  Sometimes a plan may pay if patients send in a claim for themselves.  The Employee Benefits Coordinator at your place of employment may be able to help.  Patients may also lodge complaints with the State Insurance Commission.

Hope this sheds some light on this subject!