There’s no doubt that our society here in Silicon Valley is moving at a feverish pace. As a business owner and father of 3 young kids, I can relate to the challenge of managing my time and finding life balance. With the stress and time committed to both a career and managing kid’s schedules, some responsibilities that we have to our families and ourselves inevitably get “back burnered.” As I engage in relationships with new patients in my practice, I find it ironic that arguably the most important aspect of our beings, our health, is often taken for granted and not given the attention it deserves.
For those who aren’t invested in periodic dental maintenance and prevention, pain may be the ultimate motivator to initiate a dental relationship. However, pain tends to reflect that the disease is in its advanced stages with a less favorable prognosis and a more invasive, expensive treatment option. I often hear from new patients that they’ve postponed scheduling an appointment because they didn’t have dental insurance and were awaiting this benefit.
Dental Insurance is not “Coverage”
I would like to give a realistic picture of what dental insurance is and what it is not. Unlike typical medical insurance, dental insurance is not “coverage.” It is designed to offset the costs of dental treatment, and for people requiring extensive dentistry, it is nothing more than a “dental coupon.” Many of these dental co-payment plans allow the same maximum benefit per year as they allowed when they began in the early 1970’s. In other words, reflecting inflation, a typical $1,500 benefit is equal to about $140 in today’s dollars. Had insurance companies increased their benefits on a year-by-year basis, reflecting inflation, this $1,500 benefit would be well over $5,000 today.
Some patients that I see for an initial examination after many years of neglect have an expectation that since they now have dental insurance, they will get healthy. Depending on their state of disease, there often is not enough benefit in their plan to get them beyond disease and back to health. There’s no doubt that dentistry can be costly, especially when there’s a lot of disease to treat. Unfortunately, I often find patients quickly hitting their insurance maximum and then waiting an entire year to pursue further treatment. Of course, the disease itself doesn’t delay in creating more damage. For patients with higher dental risk, this behavior can make achieving dental health an impossibility as they remain in a perpetual state of disease.
Prevention Dentistry with Dr. Ken Schweifler, Los Altos
The power of protecting you against this negative cycle, whether you have dental insurance or not, lies with PREVENTION. Most dental disease is caused by the presence of bacterial plaque. It degrades tooth structure in the form of “cavities” but also leads to the inflammatory processes in the gums and bone, gingivitis and periodontal disease. Understanding what you personally can do to remove this plaque is the key to prevention. Just going to the dentist for periodic maintenance is not enough. It is what your doing everyday out of the dental chair that matters the most.
In my experience, the majority of patients (adults and kids) could benefit and are receptive to receiving toothbrushing and dental flossing coaching techniques from their dental professional. People are not born with this knowledge. Many dental offices are so busy treating disease on a large volume of patients that they cannot or do not devote any time to preventive education. It seems that today’s dentistry continues to place a heavier emphasis on technical treatments to “fix” disease and market impressive gadgetry. There’s no question that providing the best treatment available and a commitment to constantly bettering technical skills is critical for every dental professional’s growth. It’s also true that many modern technologies are allowing us to provide better treatment.
However, when I sit down with my new patients, face-to-face and ask them what they want for their dental future it never includes “I want more fillings, crowns, or root canal treatment.” Unanimously, people want to avoid tooth loss, avoid problems, avoid pain and maintain what they have. In my experience, people want NO DENTISTRY and more freedom from the dentist. If you are receiving ongoing treatment for dental problems with no sense as to why the problem(s) occurred and what to do to prevent such issues in the future, the most significant aspect of your dental “care” isn’t getting the attention it deserves. Prevention is power.
Contact Us Today!
Dr. Schweifler and our Los Altos Dentistry team are committed to providing exceptional care and empowering our patients with information about their dental health. Please take advantage of Dr. Schweifler’s offer for a free consultation regarding how we can help improve your dental health. If you have any questions about services, or would like to schedule an appointment, we invite you to give us a call at 650-941-2166 for a complimentary consultation. The outstanding experience of our Los Altos Dentist, Dr. Schweifler, and the skills of our staff have helped us in successfully treating oral problems in our patients who visit us from different parts of Los Altos, Palo Alto, San Jose, Sunnyvale, Cupertino, Saratoga, Mountain View, and surrounding areas.