Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Why Doesn’t My Dental Insurance Pay for This?

What are UCR (usual, customary, and reasonable) charges?
            UCR charges are the maximum allowable amounts that a particular insurance plan will cover. Even though it sounds like the standard rate for dental care, it is not. The insurance companies can set whatever amount they want for the UCR charges and it may stay the same amount for many years despite inflation. The important thing to remember is if your dental bill is higher than the UCR, it doesn’t mean your dentist has charged too much!

Annual Maximums
            This is the largest number your dental plan will pay during the year. It is important to remember that it is your employer that decides the maximum levels of payment in its contract with the insurance company. After you have reached the maximum, you are responsible to pay any costs above and beyond that number. Unfortunately, many maximums have stayed the same despite inflation and rising costs.

Coordination of Benefits or Non-duplication of Benefits
            This applies to people with more than one dental plan. But even though you have two or more benefit plans, there is still no guarantee all of the plans will pay for your services. In fact, there are times when none of the plans will pay for what is recommended. Be sure to check each plan for details.

Plan Frequency Limitations
            Some dental plans will limit how many times they will pay for a certain treatment. For example, your insurance may only pay for 2 professional cleanings per year. However, there may be times where 3 or 4 cleanings are recommended to maintain good oral health. We recommend making your decisions based on what is best for your health, not just what is covered.

Not Dentally Necessary
            Some plans may state they will only cover procedures they feel are medically or dentally necessary. But just because your insurance company doesn’t see the value, doesn’t mean the treatment is not necessary.

While we certainly understand the value of dental insurance, we will continue to make our diagnosis and treatment plans in accordance with what we believe is best for your dental health.

Lee T. Brown, DDS

Brown and Kupper, DDS Inc.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

What is different between regular and mini dental implants?

            Mini dental implants have recently become an option to help anchor complete and partial dentures. Some dentists like the idea that they can be less invasive and are less likely to get close to nerves or vessels. Patients like mini implants because they cost less than traditional implants. We will discuss the advantages and disadvantages of each type and why we should remain cautious about where mini implants are being used.
            In our practice, we have been successfully using traditional dental implants for around 25 years. When properly maintained with regular check ups and good home care, dental implants have proved be one of the most successful practices in dentistry. Decades of research have shown how and why implants succeed, and their consistency has helped us to gain confidence in using them. However, mini implants are relatively new. We don’t have the same scientific backing of the mini implants yet. Until research shows otherwise, I believe traditional dental implants are a more predictable option in replacing teeth and supporting dentures.
            The question remains: If mini implants are less expensive, is it worth the risk? The difference in price can definitely be short term benefit, but they are less likely to last as long as traditional implants. There is a concern that mini implants do not have enough length and width to support the biting forces needed to function over the long haul. If the mini implants need to be replaced multiple times over the course of 1 traditional dental implant, then you would have been better served both financially and physically to go with a regular implant.
            At this point, there are very few situations when I would recommend the use of mini implants. Until more definitive data can support mini implants, we will continue to recommend traditional implants to support dentures and replace missing teeth.

For more information on dental implants, visit

Lee T. Brown, DDS

Brown and Kupper, DDS Inc.