Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Insurance and Dentistry

I was in our local health food co-op recently and soon found myself chatting with four other women about their health, or the lack thereof. After hearing their stories I knew I could help, so I offered each of them a free consultation to learn more about how our unique style of dentistry could help them feel better.

Over the next few blogs I will offer you a glimpse into our conversation. If you find yourself with similar problems, I will extend the same free consultation to you, a loved one, or a friend. Just call Danny at 342-0989 and he will take care of the details.

With a pony tail pulled high, a baseball shirt and a healthy glow that didn’t come from makeup, Kim asked if I wasn’t Dr. Kelly and reminded me that I had treated her son 7 years ago. Back then she was a mother of three. Well read, health centered and determined to find doctors that would respect her wishes…she would not be vaccinating her kids, she would be breastfeeding until they were toddlers and there would absolutely be no poisonous mercury fillings to insult their immature little immune systems…period. Since I had never placed a silver mercury filling in 22 years and spend more time getting to know people and educating them about their treatment options than we spend in actual treatment time, she felt like it was a match made in heaven. Even though getting to Dakota Smiles meant a drive across the state, she was determined to get the right care for her family.

As I was deciding between the mung beans or the red lentils, she went on to describe their recent visit to a non-holistic dentist that her husband had asked her to go to because they “took their insurance”… and what a mistake it was. Not only didn’t she feel listened to, she felt amiss when the insurance based dentist couldn’t answer her questions about ozone therapy or Price-Pottenger’s work concerning how nutrition and allergies affect the growth and development of the dental arches. I nodded with empathy and felt a swell of pride knowing we are, and always have been, on the leading edge ….and then I rightly took her scolding that I should advertise more because I am the areas only holistic dentist focused on whole body wellness.

True to her inquisitive nature she goes on to ask me to explain this whole dental insurance thing. As I shared with her the following points I couldn’t help but notice a tinge of embarrassment and a bit of regret when it dawned on her that she had turned over that in which she took so much pride and found power in…her right to choose and to care for her family on her terms.

Lets look at some disturbing facts about choosing a dentist based on insurance;

1. If premiums had kept pace with inflation over the years Kim would be entitled to nearly $7000 in dental services, but instead she receives only $1000 or less.
2. Insurance companies profits are made by limiting total benefits, paying for average or below average materials and services and having established a monopoly over the doctors.
3. Dentists that “take insurance”, like Delta Dental for example, are contractually required to write off the difference between what Delta pays and their regular fee.
4. The above is bound to cost someone, somewhere…in service, product quality, etc.

Then, without missing a beat in our conversation and as automatic as her next breath, she lifts up the corner of the baseball shirt, which I wasn’t too sure she didn’t borrow from her son’s drawer, and puts baby number four to her breast…. and confidently says…”I will be back in to see you very soon.”