Tuesday, February 16, 2016

When should the dentist prescribe me antibiotics?

            When you are in pain, you are desperate for a quick fix. You typically are looking for any medication or treatment that will alleviate the problem so you can function normally. With dental pain, it is common to think that an antibiotic will help solve the problem. There are times when it is right thing to do, but there are also circumstances where it could do you more harm than good.
            Physicians and nurses commonly report that many request an antibiotic during cold and flu season. However, most of the problems are due to a virus and not a bacterial infection. Prescribing an antibiotic will not help fight the viral infection. There is a similar situation with dental pain. Many of the reasons that a tooth can be symptomatic are not from a bacterial origin. So taking an antibiotic will not alleviate the pain unless it can be concluded the problem is from a bacterial abscess. But if it is a tooth with this kind of abscess, then antibiotics are the drug of choice. 
            Another major reason dentists have cut back on prescribing antibiotics is from concern over developing a resistance to antibiotics. If you are taking antibiotics, the goal is to kill the undesired bacteria. However, certain bacteria will prove resistant to the drug and survive. The resistant bacteria will proliferate and will become more abundant. If a similar infection returns and antibiotics are needed, there is a concern the antibiotic will not be as affective.
            So what are some other potential options when you are in dental pain? I typically recommend ibuprofen as the first line of defense. But if that isn’t strong enough to take the edge off, we may either prescribe a stronger pain medication or prescribe a type of steroid. The goal of the steroid is to reduce the pain by reducing the immune response to the affected tooth.
            Each individual situation can be different or unique and just because an antibiotic worked previously doesn’t mean it is the ideal choice for your current situation. Have your dentist check the area and work with you to find the best course of action.

For more information visit: www.dentistwestchester.com.

Lee T. Brown, DDS
Brown and Kupper, DDS Inc.

Monday, February 8, 2016

Is your insurance company looking out for you?

            Many people choose to carry dental insurance to offset the costs of semi-annual cleanings and just in case something major goes wrong. So what happens when something bad happens? Will your insurance help cover a procedure that gives the best long term result? Unfortunately, your insurance may have limitations on what procedures they believe they should help.

An example with frequently deal with:
A tooth is missing or must be extracted. You want to replace the missing tooth with a dental implant over a dental bridge. The implants are usually longer lasting, easier to clean, and do not require invasive drilling on your other teeth. Over the long term, they typically result in the least amount financial investment because they will last longer than a dental bridge. Logically speaking, this also means the insurance company will have to contribute less over the long term, which is what they are after.  But for some reason, many insurance carriers will deny you coverage on the dental implant but approve the dental bridge. Both options require a big financial commitment, but the difference in coverage can be a difference maker if you need your tooth replaced. The lapse in dental implant coverage can push someone towards a procedure that doesn’t necessarily have their best interest in mind.

So what happens if your insurance carrier denies coverage on a recommended treatment? There are times when no matter what we do, insurance will simply not provide any coverage on a recommended procedure. But in other situations we can submit a new request for coverage along with a narrative explaining our rationale for the treatment needed. There are times when reason wins and coverage is granted, but unfortunately many insurance carriers are very slow to change their policies to the recommended standards of care.
            We recommend that before you sign with an insurance carrier or package that you do some detailed research on what procedures may be covered. If this seems overwhelming or confusing, I encourage you to call us and we can help you sort through what plan may be best according to the needs and dental history of you and your family.

For more information, visit www.dentistwestchester.com.

Lee T. Brown, DDS

Brown and Kupper, DDS Inc.