Trusting Your Dental Office

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Firm belief in the reliability, truth, ability, or strength of someone or something.

Dental Safety – When visiting your dental office, observe the cleanliness and appearance of routine maintenance, or lack there of, of equipment, tools, and dental materials.  Make sure that the dental office is OSHA Certified and Trained.  Staff appearance and general overall hygiene also play an important role in how they seem to value these important aspects of a safe dental environment.  Safety equates directly to the physical and mental comfort level for the patient, which in a dental setting, needs to be at a very high level.  The number 1 reason patients have anxiety about visiting the Dentsit is because they are nervous about their “comfort level”.  Another thing to be aware of, is that your personal health information (allergies, health issues, etc.) are reviewed in front of you by the Dentist.  Most offices are required to take you blood pressure before they begin any work.

Dental Security – The first thing that typically happens when you begin a new experience with any Dental Office, is they make you fill out a slew of paperwork.  Some of those pages will relate to HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act).  Being HIPAA Certified means that you personal information is protected and secure according to your rights.  A patient should also inquire about what measures are being taken to secure this data within their profile; are firewalls in place?, are data backups being regularly performed?, are e-mails and other communication channels properly encrypted?  Make sure that you ask for copies of all corresponding documents within the Dental Office for your own personal record.  Examples of documents may include any “Explanation of Benefits” from your insurance company, receipts of payment, any documents that you personally sign, and prescriptions.  In todays world, Personal Information is considered by many to be the largest asset sought after by cyber criminals to exploit.  Make sure you are ready and prepared for this ongoing war.

Full Financial Disclosure – “Understand your Dental Insurance”.  This daunting contract, with confusing language and misleading provisions, can be a nightmare to understand.  Since we all value our time more than wanting to give any portion of it to understanding a dental insurance plan, PLEASE TRUST YOUR DENTAL TEAM!!!  It is assumed in most dental practices that a patient will want FULL DISCLOSURE of what their copays are for procedures performed at their time of visit.  Make sure that your Dental Team is prepared to unfold a FULL BREAKDOWN of Dental Benefits, especially the procedures being rendered at the time of visit.  They will typically present you a Treatment Plan with Estimates before they start any work.  Make sure this happens and that you understand it.  (A bad dental office will not present a full breakdown, will not provide accurate treatment plan estimates, will tell you its your responsibility to understand your copays and plan provisions, will send statements with large balances at the end of the month).  In all cases, patients should request an anual copy of their complete Accounts Receivables Ledgar, any receipts of payment, and all recorded “Explanation of Benefits” documents from the Insurance Company.  A good office will have all of these scanned and securely locked away ready upon request.

Your Best Interests – As a dental patient, first impression is everything.  Your gut will immediately tell you if your best interests are about to be had.  Is the dental team friendly and greet you with a smile?  Do they offer you any amenities such as coffee, blankets, ipad videos, “same day dentistry”, and any other additions that can improve your overall experience?  Some offices even offer a “Concierge Service” to improve your comfort level.  Does your dental office make “Follow-up” calls after major procedures?  Are you notified on your birthday?  Do they remind you of your routine dental cleanings?  Do they attempt to create long-lasting relationships?  Or, do they take on the form of a “Used Car Dealership”?  Trust your instincts and ask yourself if you are in good hands.