Office Information and Policies
We are very excited that you are considering our practice to provide your child’s dental care. We will work hard to give you our very best.
The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends that a child’s first visit should take place about 6 months after the eruption of the first tooth. This allows Dr. Robbins to spot any potential problems, and to introduce you and your child to dental hygiene practices that ensure the best dental health in later years. Children who have a dental home are more likely to receive appropriate preventive and routine oral health care. Remember, a lifetime of good dental health starts in infancy.
After the initial visit, we recommend seeing your child regularly every 6 months. These visits include the cleaning, full oral examination, hygiene and healthy eating instructions, and fluoride application. Depending on the circumstances, x-rays will be taken as needed. Our staff will gently introduce your child to the dental world and how to care for their teeth. Parents will get a detailed explanation of their child’s oral health and any recommendations for their further care.
You can help make the first visit to the dentist enjoyable and productive. Your child should be told of the visit and that Dr. Robbins and his staff will explain everything and answer questions. Our positive attitude, combined with slow and gentle explanations called “Tell, Show, Do,” will hopefully demonstrate that caring for your child is what we do best. Your positive attitude will also make a difference in how your child responds, no matter what your past dental experiences have been. This is your chance to help your child start great dental health. It is best to refrain from using words around your child that might cause unnecessary fear, such as “needle”, “shot”, “pull”, “drill”, or “hurt”. Our office makes a practice of using words that convey the same message, but are pleasant and non-frightening to children.
HOW ARE APPOINTMENTS SCHEDULED?
Our office attempts to schedule appointments at your convenience and when time is available. Preschool children should be seen in the morning because they are fresher and we can work more slowly with them for their comfort. School children with a lot of work to be done should be seen in the morning for the same reason. Dental appointments are an excused absence. Missing school can be kept to a minimum when regular dental care is continued.
Since appointed times are reserved exclusively for each patient, we ask that you please notify our office 48 hours in advance of your scheduled appointment time if you are unable to keep your appointment. Another patient who needs our care could be scheduled if we have sufficient time to notify them. We realize things can happen, but we need your assistance in this matter. Appointment that are not cancelled 24 hours in advance or are missed will be assessed a fee.
DO I STAY WITH MY CHILD DURING THE VISIT?
Dr. Robbins and his staff have many years of experience working with children of all ages. If your child is four years of age or older, we ask that you allow them to accompany our staff through the dental experience. We are all highly experienced in helping children overcome anxiety. Separation anxiety is not uncommon in children, so please try not to be concerned if your child exhibits some negative behavior. This is normal and will soon diminish. Studies and experience have shown that most children over the age of 2 react more positively when permitted to experience the dental visit on their own and in an environment designed for children. Once a thorough examination is completed, Dr Robbins will discuss your child’s oral health and any recommendations, as well as tips on preventions of dental disease. If needed, treatment options with younger children will be discussed. We ask that you discuss the dental visit in a positive light and let them know the dentist will explain everything. Let the dentist take the lead in describing the visit to your child, as sometimes the steps may even be different than you were anticipating. There are some words we ask you NOT to say to your child as they may negatively affect your child’s behavior. We still believe in describing to your child steps that will happen, but we use terms that are more “kid friendly” to not unnecessarily create anxiety for your child. Below are words we do not use, and some words we might use instead.
Do NOT use:
- Shot (Instead: Sleepy jelly and Sleepy juice)
- Needle (Instead: Straw to squirt sleepy juice)
- Drill (Instead: like a tickle toothbrush)
- Yank or Pull teeth out (Instead: Wiggle teeth)
A few words about our financial policy and insurance
Once a treatment plan has been decided, we will prepare a cost estimate for you. Payment for your estimated portion of professional services is due at the time dental treatment is provided. We accept cash, personal checks, debit cards, and most major credit cards. We also offer financing though Care Credit for extended treatment plans.
If we have received all of your insurance information on the day of the appointment, we will be happy to file your claim for you. You must be familiar with your insurance benefits, as we will collect from you the estimated amount insurance is not expected to pay. By law your insurance company is required to pay each claim within 30 days of receipt. We file all insurance electronically, so your insurance company will receive each claim within days of treatment. You are responsible for any balance on your account after 30 days, whether insurance has paid or not. If you have not paid your balance within 60 days, a re-billing fee and interest of 1.5% will be added to your account each month until paid. We will be glad to send a refund to you if your insurance pays us.
Please understand that we file dental insurance as a courtesy to our patients. We do not have a contract with your insurance company, only you do. We are not responsible for how your insurance company handles its claims or for what benefits they pay on a claim. We can only assist you in estimating your portion of the cost of treatment. We at no time guarantee what your insurance will or will not do with each claim.
Fact #1: No insurance pays 100% of all procedures
Dental insurance is meant to be an aid in receiving dental care. Many patients think that their insurance pays 90-100% of all dental fees. This is not true! Most plans pay between 50-80% of the average total fee. Some pay more, some pay less. The percentage paid is usually determined by how much you or your employer has paid for coverage, or the type of contract your employer has set up with the insurance company.
Fact #2: Benefits are not determined by our office
You may have noticed that sometimes your dental insurer reimburses you or the dentist at a lower rate than the dentist’s actual fee. Frequently, insurance companies state that the reimbursement was reduced because your dentist’s fee has exceeded the usual, customary, or reasonable fee (“UCR”) used by the company.
A statement such as this gives the impression that any fee greater than the amount paid by the insurance company is unreasonable, or well above what most dentists in the area charge for a certain service. This can be very misleading and simply is not accurate.
Insurance companies set their own fee schedules, and each company uses a different set of fees they consider allowable. These allowable fees vary widely, because each company collects fee information from claims it processes. The insurance company then takes this data and arbitrarily chooses a level they call “allowable” UCR fee. Frequently this data can be three to five years old and these “allowable” fees are set by the insurance company so they can make a net 20-30% profit.
Unfortunately insurance companies imply that your dentist is “overcharging” rather than say that they are “underpaying,” or that their benefits are low. In general, the less expensive insurance policy will use a lower usual, customary, or reasonable (UCR) figure.
Fact #3: Deductibles and co-payments must be considered
When estimating dental benefits, deductibles and percentages must be considered. To illustrate, assume the fee for service is $150.00. Assuming that the insurance company allows $150.00 as its usual and customary (UCR) fee, we can figure out what benefits will be paid. First, a deductible (paid by you), on average $50, is subtracted, leaving $100.00. The plan then pays 80% for that particular procedure. The insurance company will then pay 80% of $100.00 or $80.00. Out of a $150.00 fee, they will pay $80.00, leaving a remaining portion of $70.00 (to be paid by the patient). Of course, if the UCR is less than $150.00 or your plan pays only qt 50%, then the insurance benefits will also be significantly less.
Most importantly, please keep us informed of any insurance changes, such as policy name, insurance company, address, or a change of employment.