Who Would Have Guessed? Better Periodontal Treatment Coverage!
by Valerie Williams, RDH
Perhaps you have spent the past few years determined to avoid dental journals, consumer magazines and newscasts. That may be the only way you could have missed the body of research supporting the connection between periodontal disease and significant systemic diseases. Even insurance companies, notorious for watching their bottom lines, have been conducting their own studies. Several have found that it is to their advantage to allow many of their patients more periodontal benefits with low or no deductibles. As insurance companies such as Aetna and Cigna catch on to this new trend in medical/dental integration programs, you can be sure others will follow.
Of specific concern are patients with diabetes, coronary heart disease, a history of stroke, or who are pregnant. If these patients have their periodontal disease treated early, their systemic diseases are more easily managed and they have fewer complications. This discovery benefits everyone: patients, dental practices, and even insurance companies.
What does this mean for your dental practice? Your practice must have the systems in place to consistently monitor patients. You also need to understand early intervention, and you and your staff should strive to raise your patients’ dental IQs through clear verbal communication and patient education pieces. In addition, you ought to be specific and clear in the documentation of patients’ charts. It is imperative that you first identify the patient’s disease level, then inform them of their treatment options, risks and any alternatives. This is essential in protecting yourself from lawsuits. Finally, you will want to understand the nuances of insurance submission, as submitting medical insurance claims for patients could become standard practice for dental offices.
The bottom line is, early detection and intervention of periodontal disease can save your patients’ lives. Make sure you are prepared! To find out how your practice rates in treating periodontal disease, contact me at 800.400.6772 for a free hygiene analysis from Advanced Hygiene Concepts.
Valerie Williams, RDH