Smiles by Payet Dentistry – Beautiful Smiles. Lifetime Care

Family, Laser, and Cosmetic Dentistry by Charlotte dentist Dr. Payet.

Learn more about CEREC CAD/CAM single-visit porcelain crowns

The CEREC CAD/CAM system, as I described in a recent post, is a truly exciting trend in dentistry, and it sure looks like it is becoming the wave of the future.  Of course, you don’t have to wait for the future to take advantage of it……all you have to do right now is call 704-364-7069 and request an appointment.

It’s not quite as easy to just describe the technology, though, if you haven’t seen it or are not familiar with the concept.  But take a look at this website to see stories of everyday patients who’ve benefitted from this great technology.

CEREC CAD/CAM single-visit crowns

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February 24, 2009 Posted by | CEREC CAD/CAM, General dentistry, Restorative dentistry | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

So just how complicated is dental insurance?

I can’t claim credit for this analogy, but it’s a pretty good one, so I thought I’d follow up my last post on dental insurance, what it covers and what it doesn’t, with this example of how crazy it can be.

Imagine you are the manager of a Target Store. And in that Target, you have 600 items you sell.  Everyone who comes into your Target on any given day has a different price they are supposed to pay for these 600 items. For many of these items, neither you nor the customer know the exact price, and the company with whom you have contracted these reduced fees for the customer won’t divulge the information, so you have to guess.  Not that this isn’t already tough enough, but each of these customers has an Uncle who is going to pick up a portion of the elusive price, and it is your job as the manager to know exactly what portion the uncle is paying — assuming he will not deny it saying that they didn’t really need it!!  Furthermore, you are supposed to know exactly where that uncle lives, and bill the uncle for the share he is going to pay. On top of this, the customer expects you to get it exactly right, every time, or they get upset.

And THAT, folks, is what it’s like dealing with dental insurance from the dental office side.  😉

February 23, 2009 Posted by | Dental Insurance | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Dental Insurance: What does it cover and what doesn’t it?

Dental insurance is an interesting issue today, and it’s often a complicated one that confuses many patients.  Heck, sometimes it even confuses us!  Therefore, I’d like to offer a little clarification on what dental insurance is and isn’t, what it covers and what it doesn’t cover, when it’s worth having and when it’s not, and what you can do to make your life and ours a lot easier, smoother, and more trouble-free when it comes to your dental benefits.

  • First and foremost: DENTAL INSURANCE IS NOT LIKE MEDICAL INSURANCE!!!! I really can’t stress this enough.  With medical insurance, you pay your copay, and your insurance pretty much covers everything after that unless you go out of network or it’s something unusual.  With dental insurance, you typically only get a certain amount of benefits per year, usually $1,000 – $1500. If you’re really lucky and have a great employer, it might be as high as $2,000/year.
  • What does “UCR” mean, and is it really what it says? “UCR” stands for “Usual, Customary, and Reasonable” fees.  Here’s the problem that most people don’t understand……every single insurance company determines what THEY think UCR should be, it varies by the ZIP code of your doctor/dentist, and not only will insurance companies NOT tell us or you what their UCR fees are, but they also don’t even reveal how they calculate them. Obviously, this makes it much more difficult for us to accurately estimate what your co-pay will be, and unfortunately, it often means you end up with a remaining bill after insurance pays less than we originally expect.  The GOOD NEWS is that we have recently updated our practice management software to the newest version, and it has some marvelous features that will help us estimate much more accurately as we input more data.  Please be patient with us, though — it is time-consuming to do and will take a little while to have completely set up.
  • In-Network vs. Out-of-Network: There is a big misconception out there that – if you go to an out-of-network dentist (assuming you have a PPO and not a DMO) — you will end up paying a lot more out-of-pocket.   Here’s the thing – that simply is not necessarily true!  Now, sometimes it is, especially on really major kinds of treatments, such as bridges, implants, and the like.  But for check-ups and cleanings, fillings, and sometimes even crowns, there may be no more than a $10-20 difference.  Ask yourself this simple question: if you are really happy and comfortable with your dentist, isn’t it worth a few extra bucks to keep seeing someone you know and trust, rather than pick a dentist just because they’re “in-network,” even if you may not like them but you save a few bucks?
  • My cleanings are covered 100%, Doc!” Sadly, this is no longer true for everyone.  With the current economy, many companies are changing the coverage they offer, and some of those plans don’t even cover 100% of your regular cleaning, EVEN IF you go to an In-network dentist.  Sad, but true.  It is very important that you keep yourself informed of what you plan covers and doesn’t.
  • “But my insurance was SUPPOSED to pay $XXX amount, and you told me wrong!” This is where we are really looking forward to the improvements in our software that should help us calculate the proper amount, but there is an EXTREMELY important fact to remember, which is: we can never give you better than an ESTIMATE of what the insurance will pay.  The insurance company itself will tell you the same thing if you call them.  Doesn’t even matter if you call and give them the ADA procedure code, our fee…..they STILL will only give you an estimate, NOT a guarantee. I know this can be frustrating, and it is for us, too, because we know it’s never fun getting a bill in the mail after you thought you’d paid all you had to pay.
  • The last item for today: please remember that, when it comes down to it, you are responsible for the entire bill.  If your insurance doesn’t pay; if your company quit paying the dues and the coverage lapsed, or any of the other possible reasons insurance doesn’t pay or it pays less than expected, you are responsible for paying your bill.  We bill the insurance as a courtesy to you.

Of course, this doesn’t even get into all the details of all the different insurance plans.  Bear in mind that our software has almost 500 different insurance companies listed, and there are probably close to 1000 different policies.  It is impossible for us to know every detail of every plan, although we sure do our best to find out.  Your best bet, though, is to know your coverage, too.  Ask you Human Resources department to help; they are often a great resource if your insurance company is trying to get out of paying, too.

Yes, dental insurance is complicated. Call us if you have any questions.

February 19, 2009 Posted by | Dental Insurance, PPO vs. HMO | , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Be a Fan of Dr. Payet on Facebook

If you are one of our patients, please take a few moments to visit our Facebook page.  We’ll be adding announcements there, specials (pretty much the same thing as here, but you’re probably on Facebook more frequently, right? 🙂 ), and it’s a neat way to stay connected to what’s happening in our practice.  You can even write reviews (yes, we WELCOME reviews!!!), become a FAN, and leave messages about what’s going on in your lives.   Having a baby?  We’d love to see pictures!  Been on vacation?  Share!  Have your own business?  Let us know and we’d be delighted to have you list your business for others to benefit.

And if you’re not currently one of our patients but would like to find out more, you can get information on the practice there, too.

I’ve also added a Widget in the Sidebar that allows you to Bookmark us on Delicious so we’re always easy to find.  Don’t you just love the Internet?  🙂

February 19, 2009 Posted by | ANNOUNCEMENTS | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Are Amalgam/Mercury/Silver Fillings Safe?

While silver/amalgam fillings are not requested very often in our practice, as most prefer to have fillings that blend in with their natural teeth, they are something that we do when situations warrant, as I discussed in an earlier post.

However, when it comes to the general topic of silver fillings, there are a lot of misconceptions, myths, and outright falsehoods out there.  There are groups that CLAIM to have proof of a vast conspiracy by dentists to poison our population by using silver fillings (these are probably the same groups who believe that fluoride is a Russion attempt at mind-control of US citizens so they can take us over – hasn’t happened yet, and the conspiracy has been around for decades.); these groups CLAIM to have scientific proof that the mercury in silver fillings is poison that will lead to an absolutely amazing range of diseases, and that the simple removal of those amalgam fillings will almost magically cure those diseases.  And it gets even wilder than that, but unless you’re specifically looking for a good laugh at how crazy these conspiracy theories get, I won’t bore you with all of them.

Let me be perfectly clear about my stance on this issue:

To date, there is absolutely NO, repeat NO CREDIBLE EVIDENCE that the small amounts of mercury present in amalgam/silver fillings causes any disease or disorder whatsoever.

I hope that was clear enough.  🙂

If silver fillings were as bad as the conspiracy theorists claim, then pretty much the whole world would be crazy, as amalgam fillings have been placed by the billions over the last 100+ years.  My parents, for example, would have been beset by a myriad of illnesses, as both of them had a mouthful of silver fillings for many decades, and only recently have they been replaced as they’ve slowly worn out.  Any strange illnesses in either of them?  Nope.  Nothing changed after they were taken out 1-by-1 either.

As a rather interesting side note: during my dental school years at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Dentistry, I did a 2-month summer exchange at the dental school in Munich, Germany.  While there, I was approached by several professors to proof-read some studies that they had translated prior to publishing them in English-language dental journals.  Please bear in mind that Germany has pretty much banned amalgam fillings for many years, so it’s not like they are fans of the material.  These professors had carried out a study that attempted to find a link between the presence of amalgam filings and a wide range of diseases and disorders; the study had lasted 5-6 years.  And what were the results?  Simply this:

They were unable to find any positive evidence of a connection between the amalgam fillings and ANY of the list of diseases and disorders that they had listed.  Not one.

Kind of interesting coming from professors in a country that has practically banned the material for as long as they have, don’t you think?

February 9, 2009 Posted by | Amalgam/Silver Fillings, General dentistry, Restorative dentistry | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A Smile Makeover with Porcelain Veneers and Short-Term Braces

This will be the last cosmetic dentistry/Smile Makeover video that I will post for a little while, as I next want to devote some time to showing how destructive “Grinding” of the teeth can be and why it is NOT something that you should take lightly.  Bruxism/Parafunction (the general term for both grinding and clenching, which are 2 separate things) can cause major problems for patients, and often in ways not easily visible because it takes time to develop or they’re under the surface.  I believe this is an area of dentistry that is often neglected, and it only makes things worse for patients.

With that said, I do hope you enjoy the way we combined different kinds of treatments to achieve a dramatic Smile Makeover for Daniel, as visible in this video.

Don’t forget – if you want to see all of the videos for our practice, check out our YouTube channel: SmilesbyPayet.

Combination Porcelain Veneers and Short-Term Braces

February 8, 2009 Posted by | Cosmetic dentistry, Porcelain Veneers, Short-Term Orthodontics | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Porcelain Veneers to Dramatically Makeover Smiles

Smiles by Payet Cosmetic Dentistry: Porcelain Veneers

Here’s another video to enjoy of patients for whom we’ve done Porcelain Veneers to achieve some remarkable smile transformations.

February 7, 2009 Posted by | Cosmetic dentistry, Porcelain Veneers | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Smiles by Payet Cosmetic Dentistry Video on YouTube

As a professional photographer on the side (I don’t plan on quitting my day job any time soon), I have a passion for both the taking of pictures and the digital developing/use of those pictures, and software today is so remarkable in how it can be used.  With increasing levels of integration among Photoshop programs and others, it is becoming increasingly easy to take the pictures, edit them as desired, and then quickly convert them into a usable format.  I will be adding more videos to both our Blog and to SmilesbyPayet.com in coming weeks, so stay tuned for more!

Smiles by Payet Cosmetic Dentistry

February 4, 2009 Posted by | ANNOUNCEMENTS, Cosmetic dentistry | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

February 4th, 2009 — Another snow day

Not sure how many Charlotteans are waking up to the same conditions as we have here at our home in Huntersville this morning, but our neighborhood roads are covered in black ice, lightly covered by a layer of snow.  Not much snow on the roads, but it is enough that — despite my years of driving in snow while growing up — I’m going to go back to bed for a while, then enjoy breakfast and a cup of coffee in the safety and warmth of our home.  Of course, it’s really the ice that is the problem — I almost fell on my rear with my first step onto the sidewalk.

I am very sorry for the inconvenience that this will cause, of course, and we will do our best to get everyone rescheduled very quickly.

February 4, 2009 Posted by | ANNOUNCEMENTS | , , , , | Leave a comment

An exciting future for digital dentistry

Tonight was the first meeting of 2009 for the Charlotte, NC area CEREC Study Club, which I  founded shortly after I took possession of my CEREC 3D CAD/CAM system on December 31st, 2007.  (If you’re unfamiliar with the terms, CAD/CAM means “Computer-Aided Design/Computer-Aided Milling.”)  It was really a very exciting meeting (ok, most people probably wouldn’t find it really exciting, but we’re a bunch of dentists, after all, who happen to be kind of geeky and like hi-tech tools in our office which happen to provide really awesome results for our patients), as the manufacturer (Sirona USA) just recently released a tremendous new upgrade, the CEREC AC Bluecam, which uses a range of improvements in both hardware and software to drastically increase the system’s speed.

Given the cost of the new unit, and since my CEREC 3D is only 13 months old, I’m not going to be introducing this new version to our office this year.  The one we have, the CEREC 3D, is still an excellent system, and we regularly enjoy giving our patients the great experience of single-visit all-ceramic crowns and onlays with it.  This means no temporary restorations, no second visit getting numb, no metal, practically no sensitivity afterwards……there’s really no downside.

Along with the new system, Sirona USA is launching another terrific innovation that will also benefit patients, and it’s called CerecConnect.  The difference is this: with CEREC, we can create 1-4 units of crowns and/or onlays in a row fairly easily, and even do all of them in 1 visit.  However, doing a full arch (all the top or all the bottom teeth) is extremely difficult and typically requires great expertise and advanced training, and it will still usually take 2 visits.  In addition, the regular CEREC can’t do things like bridges.  With CerecConnect, however, we will still be able to completely eliminate using those gunky impressions that NOONE likes, because we’ll take a digital image of the teeth and then just email it to the lab.  How cool is that!?!?

I have a number of recent cases that I plan on posting here in the near future once I get the patient education videos completed.  You’ll love what CAD/CAM can do in dentistry, for YOU!  The digitization of dentistry is proceeding full-speed ahead, and the benefits are simply tremendous.

February 3, 2009 Posted by | ANNOUNCEMENTS, CEREC CAD/CAM, Cosmetic dentistry, General dentistry, Restorative dentistry | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment