Financially speaking, Smiles of Atlanta desires is to have financial flexibility that allows patients to receive long lasting quality dentistry they deserve.
The office accepts assignment of dental insurance on all treatment over one hundred and fifty dollars. Therefore, patients only need to pay for the portion not covered by their dental plan.
Payment by cash, check, Visa, Master Card, and American Express credit/debit cards are accepted.
All Military, police, and firefighters are given a 10% discount as a way of saying thank you for their service to the community.
For patients with larger or more complicated treatment are offered 90-day interest free payment schedule. For cases like this, we also have Care Credit available for patients that need to finance larger more complex cases up to five years. You can learn more about this financing here.
They realize that sometimes people have deferred their dental treatment for so long that it appears financially overwhelming. So they routinely recommend treatment needs in phases. Dealing with the toothaches, cavities, periodontal (gum) disease and extraction of all hopeless teeth first. Larger investment procedures like crowns, veneers, implants or cosmetic work are rountinely done last. This a proven way to best distribute their patients finances that allows them to regain optimum oral health wth the least long term investment.
Sometimes because of real world financial issues it has taken years to restore a patient and their family back to optimum health. Positive side with these longer treatment plans patients are able to maximize their dental insurance benefits and or health savings account.
What truly distinguishes Smiles of Atlanta is that the entire team is committed to prevention as the best way to save their patients money. Clearly if they are able to teach patients how to prevent dental issues, no money will need to be invested to fix the problem.
Second, is the entire team effort to provide the highest standard of dental care. This in turn means their dental treatment routinely outlasts the normal standard time giving the patient the best value on their hard earned dollar.
What about Insurance?
Without a doubt one of the most challenging and confusing subjects for most patients to understand.
The Good News....
At Smiles of Atlanta, they accept all indemnity dental insurance plans and will file claims on your behalf, saving you the time and hassle. Their knowledgeable benefit coordinators can help you maximize your dental benefits and minimize your out-of-pocket cost. If you wish, they can request a pre-estimate so you will know upfront what your insurance plan will pay for before starting treatment.
The Not-So-Good News . . .
Dental insurance even though we call it "insurance" is really a dental benefit plan administered by insurance companies. Keep in mind, insurance companies are for-profit businesses. They are not in any way part of your dental health care team. Insurance benefit schedules clearly have not kept up with inflation or advances being offered in Dentistry. If that is not enough, there are many different plans even within the major categories, that makes it very hard to figure out what you are really signing up for. So unfortunately, when your dental insurance turns out to be less wonderful than you thought, it can be disappointing and frustrating. Dr. Trizzino and every team member wishes this was not your reality.
Dental Insurance Categories Are:
1. Indemnity Plans
These plans compensate the dentist based on his or her's usual, customary and reasonable fee (UCR). The maximum benefits runs about $1000 to $5000 per patient per year. Insurance benefits are usually divided into three main categories:
1. Preventive services covered at 100%(exams, cleanings, and x-rays),
2. Basic services (anterior tooth-colored restorations and silver mercury amalgams posterior restorations) at 80%
3. Major dental procedures (crowns, veneers, root canals, oral/periodontal surgery) at 50%
A few insurance plans require a deductible to be met every year which can range from $50. to $100. dollars per family member.
2. PPO/Preferred Provider Organization Plans
These plans are becoming the more common form of insurance because employers can reduce cost by lowering benefits and allowable maximum. They provide members with a list of participating dentists to choose from. The dentists on this list have agreed to accept lower than their normal customary fees ranging from 10% to over 50%. Without realizing, dentists that participate in the severely discounted plans can create a class system within their practice. Class "A" patients that reimburse their normal fee and Class "B" that do not.
Good news is that most of the better PPO plans do allow you to choose outside their "list" if you are willing to pay a higher co-pay.
Bad news is sometimes the insurance plans sound fantastic but without realizing it you sign up for a plan that forces you to go to a severely discounted dental office.
Do we not all want our family to be considered Class "A" patients and receive the best treatment that dentistry can provide?
It is important to realize that the dental plans that severely reduce dental compensation force dentists to make drastic changes just to financially survive. One of the biggest changes is time spent by the dentist. Time spent on a service in usually in direct proportion to the final quality of product or service being delivered. It would therefore be no surprise that if a dentist severely reduces his or her time that quality would suffer. Other issues could be that staff would be doing procedures that would normally be done by the dentist. The quality of materials used could also be lowered to offset the decreased compensation.
Do not be surprised when insurance companies are selling these kinds of plans to the employer or Human Resource department this reality is rarely if ever discussed. It is unfortunate that sometimes you literally have to use the plan to figure out exactly what they are going to pay.
3. DMO/Dental Maintenance Organization HMO/Health Maintenance Organization, Other Discount Plans
These plans are what we call capitated or prepaid insurance, was designed to provide members with basic care at the lowest rate. I do not recommend this kind of plan period. Participating providers receive a monthly capitation check for patients assigned to the office. This amount is only a few dollars per month and is intended to offset the administrative costs. All too often DMO/HMOs expect the participating dentist to provide exams, cleanings, and x-rays no charge. There is usually no additional compensation from the insurance company for any dental services other than whatever the patient's co-pay is.
In my forty years, I have found the discount plans almost always wind up costing the patient the most in the long run.
Here is an example that I hope shows that reality. Auto Paint Shops routinely advertises wide range of prices for their different paint jobs. Should anyone really be surprised that as the price goes down the amount of time spent and quality of materials used would also have to be reduced as well. Everyone would understand that the lower priced paint jobs would not last as long and would not look as good as the more expensive jobs. But somehow dental insurance companies will somehow try to convince you that this will not happen with discounted dental plans. Time spent and materials used is always a big factor that determines the quality of the end product no matter what service is being provided. There is old saying "buyer beware" and I think it is critical that we properly educate ourselves to all the factors that determine true value and ultimate cost when it comes to your dental care being delivered.
Know that the fees charged for dental services are the same for every patient, insured or not.
And, by the way -when it comes to dental care, Dr. Trizzino understands he is dealing with you and your families' health. He and the entire team understand and take very seriously the responsibility that you have given them. Rest assured they will always recommend and provide the best dental treatment possible for you and your family. They cannot make a better case for themselves than that.