Mark Schlesinger DDS Diplomate, American Board of Periodontology | Aesthetic, Implant and Laser Dental Surgery | Periodontal Medicine Sun, 02 Jan 2011 19:40:37 +0000 en hourly 1 About Dental Insurance Sun, 02 Jan 2011 19:40:37 +0000 admin By Dr. Steven Parnett

The introduction of dental insurance to the practice of dentistry has allowed the improvement of the dental health of millions to be accomplished over the last 30 years. Many on both sides of the insurance card have benefited and been frustrated at the same time. Much of the controversy has occurred when consumers and dentist alike expected this form of insurance to behave the same as medical insurance had in the past. As we all know even the medical insurers have had to change their programs due to problems with rising costs of the practice of medicine.

I would like to offer some suggestions to help with the understanding of your dental insurance as a consumer without getting into the details of any specific programs. As a job benefit, dental insurance can be compared to say, getting a company-owned vehicle for your own personal use. It is your employers’ choice as to which make, model, color, etc. that he is going to offer you. He makes it available and it may even be your choice whether you will use it or not. If you have a ‘Cadillac’ dental plan or a Yugo, determines whether the treatments that you need are covered expenses or not. The coverage is not determined by your needs or wants, but by the coverage that your employer has chosen for you.

Your choices come in the form of another analogy that depicts dental plans very well. Since no plan covers everything 100%, look at the coverage that you have in the form of the coupons that you might take to a grocery store. You may get some things absolutely free, others may come at a discount and still others you may have to pay for totally out of pocket. Do you plan your weekly meals totally around everything that you have a coupon for or do you throw a few extra things into the cart to satisfy your personal needs regardless of cost? You should look at your dental coverage the same way. There will be times when the dentist will recommend a treatment for you that is only partially covered or may not covered at all by your insurance. You will need to discuss with the dentist the timeliness of the treatment and what will happen if it is not completed at all. The decision is ultimately yours and, if you do not like the choices, you must resolve that by asking your employer to change your coverage or asking the dentist for an alternate and maybe less desirable treatment.

One of the best options is to ask your employer to consider offering a Direct Reimbursement program. This type of dental insurance is the most equitable for all involved. It allows the employer to know what amounts will be necessary to provide for each employee every year. The employee will decide where to spend the dollars in their dental budget every year and not depend on the insurer to tell them if they have coverage for orthodontics, cosmetic treatment or whatever. The dentist will be able to tell the patient exactly how far they will be able to go in a specific treatment plan before the patient will be using their own funds to cover treatment and not insurance. Another benefit of this program is there are no requirements for ‘participation’ by dentists. Until this type of program becomes the standard, many patients will find that they will be forced to go to a dentist of someone else’s choosing and not their own.

Dr. Steven Parrett earned his degree from the College of Dentistry at The Ohio State University in 1976. He has served his community since 1977 in a full time private practice in Chambersburg, PA. His memberships include the American Dental Association, Pennsylvania Dental Association, Cumberland Valley Dental Society, Academy of Laser Dentistry and the Academy of General Dentistry. He has participated on ADA advisory panels, as well as presenting at the AGD annual meeting and the International Dental Health Foundation. He can be contacted at

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My Insurance Covers This, Right? Sun, 02 Jan 2011 19:39:55 +0000 admin © STEPPING STONES TO SUCCESS, 800-548-

Understanding your dental benefits is not easy. There are as many different plans as there are contracts. Your employer has selected your plan and is ultimately responsible for how your contract is designed. Remember, whether your plan covers a major portion of your dental bill, or only a small amount, dental benefits are good for patients because they help pay for needed treatment.

My dental insurance covers this, right?It is important to know that each contract will specify what types of procedures are considered for benefits. Even if a procedure is medically and dentally necessary, it may be excluded from your contract. This does not mean that you do not need the procedure. It simply means that your plan will not consider the procedure for payment. For example, cosmetic procedures and implants are often excluded from a dental plan.

It is a mistake to let benefits be your sole consideration when you determine what you want to do about your dental condition. The following is provided to you to answer a few common patient questions:

Why doesn’t my insurance cover all the costs for my dental treatment?

Dental insurance isn’t really insurance (a payment to cover the cost of a loss) at all. It is actually a money benefit typically provided by an employer to help their employees pay for routine dental treatment. The employer usually buys a plan based on the amount of the benefit and how much the premium costs per month. Most benefit plans are only designed to cover a portion of the total cost.

But my plan says that my exams and certain other procedures are covered 100%.

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 $80 for an examination (not counting x-rays). Your carrier allows $60 as the 100% payment for that examination, leaving $20 for you to pay.

If my plant does not really cover any procedures at 100% why does it say it will?

Benefit plan booklets are often difficult to understand. If any part of your plan is not clear to you or if you think something is wrong concerning what your plan covers, you should contact your Employer Benefits Coordinator or the Human Resource department where you work.

How does my insurance carrier come up with its allowed payments?

Many carriers refer to their allowed payments as UCR, which stands for usual, customary and reasonable. However, UCR does not really mean exactly what it seems to mean. UCR is actually a listing of payments for all covered and procedures negotiated by your employer and the insurance company. 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.

Since the payments are negotiated, does this mean that there is always a balance left for me to pay?

Typically there is always a portion that is not covered by your benefit plan.

If I always have a balance to pay, what good is my insurance?

Even a benefit plan that does not cover a large portion of the cost of needed dentistry pays something. Any amount covered reduces what you have to pay out of pocket. It helps!

I received an Explanation of Benefits from my insurance carrier that says my dental bill exceeded the usual and customary. Does this mean that my dentist is charging more than he/she should?

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.

Why is there an annual maximum on my benefits?

Maximums limit what a carrier has to cover each year. Amazingly, despite the fact that costs have steadily increased, annual maximum benefit levels for dental care have not changed since the 1960s.

Why do some benefit plans require me to select a dentist from a list?

Usually the dentists on the list have agreed to a contract with the benefit plan. These contracts have restrictions and requirements. If you choose a dentist on the list, you typically will pay less toward your dental care than if you choose a dentist not on the list. If your dentist is not on the list this does not mean that something is wrong with the dentist or the office.

Why does my benefit plan only pay toward the least expensive alternative treatment?

To save money, many dental plans allow a benefit only for the least expensive method of treatment. For example, your dentist may recommend a crown with your insurance only offering a benefit towards a filling. This does not mean that you have to accept the filling. The good news is that some benefit will be paid; the bad news is that more of the fee will be your responsibility. Remember that your dentist’s responsibility is to prescribe what is best for you. The insurance carrier’s responsibility is to control payments.

Why won’t my insurance pay anything toward some procedures, such as x-rays, cleanings, and gum treatments?

Your plan contract specifies how many of certain types of procedures it will consider annually. It limits the number of x-rays, cleanings, and gum treatments it will cover because these are the types of treatments that many people need to have frequently.

I know that my insurance plan doesn’t go into effect until next month. Why won’t my dentist do my treatment today, but send in the claim next month so that the insurance will pay?

State laws regulate these issues. It is insurance fraud to change dates of service on a claim. Both the patient and the dentist can be prosecuted.

Why doesn’t my dentist participate in my dental benefits network plan?

Some plans require that the network dentists observe restrictions to treatment. Many dentists are not comfortable with this.

What should I do if my insurance doesn’t pay for treatment I think should be covered?

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 claims themselves. The Employee Benefits Coordinator at your place of business also may be able to help. Consumers (patients) may also lodge complaints with the State Insurance Commission.

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Tissue Engineering in Dentistry Sun, 02 Jan 2011 19:38:40 +0000 admin DNA helixDr. Schlesinger is not just a dentist, he is a Biodontist.  He has crossed the frontier – Dr. Mark Schlesinger, a board certified NYC periodontal and laser specialist, believes that bioscience technology will add to quality of life.   As a Biodontist, he uses cellular materials to replace, restore, and repair lost and missing teeth, tooth structure and supporting bone and ligaments. In the future, most dentists will be Biodontists.

Dr. Mark Schlesinger is unique in that in his Manhattan practice, he is able to combine Waterlase YSGG laser therapy with oral regenerative medicine techniques to offer the most advanced periodontal and dental implant treatment anywhere in the world.

Learn more about periodontics and genetic engineering here.

Learn more about dental implants and tissue engineering here.

The Next Dental Frontier

The acceptance of scientific advances and innovative equipment is more a function of political change and social attitudes of dentists and patients than the validity of science or the success of the technology. In the next few decades, dentists and patients will overcome their fears and the profession will enter its next frontier—bioscience. The timing of when this bioscience is accepted into the dental office and the curricula depends not only on the value placed on the science and technology for patient care but also the attitudes of dentists and patients toward science in general. When these groups believe bioscience technology will add to quality of life, these changes will be embraced.

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Dr. Schlesinger earns Fellowship at the World Clinical Laser Institute Fri, 05 Mar 2010 19:22:12 +0000 admin WCLI FellowshipIn March of 2010, Dr. Mark Schlesinger passed the Fellowship Certification Exam at the World Clinical Laser Institute (WCLI) Super Symposium in San Diego, California. The WCLI is the world’s largest dental laser organization. Dr. Schlesinger has successfully met all requirements and has demonstrated a comprehensive knowledge of lasers and their applications in dentistry, as well as a commitment to the advancement of laser dentistry.

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