How Dental Fillings Are Done In Humble TX

The old silver colored dental fillings are not used as much these days.

Old Style Dental Filling

Today, almost everyone in the country has dental fillings and majority of us had our very first dental filling at a very young age. They are widely known for their use of treating dental cavities. When we were kids, our parents would tell us not to eat too much candy because they didn’t want to end up bringing us to the dentist to get our cavities filled. But, we didn’t have much of a choice because all those sour straws and gummy worms definitely tasted good the time.

In the past, gold and silver amalgam were the most commonly used types of dental fillings in Humble TX. Silver amalgam dental fillings are a mix of copper, tin, mercury, zinc, and silver. Because of the toxicity of mercury, dentists are now using porcelain and dental composites. Even though they are more expensive, porcelain and dental composite fillings are much safer and more aesthetically appealing. For this reason, a lot of patients that have silver amalgam fillings are now opting to get them replaced with composite or porcelain fillings. If you want to do the same thing, you need to make sure that the replacement procedure is going to be carried out by a dental filling specialist.

The Uses Of Dental Fillings

Dental fillings are also known as a type of dental restoration because most of them are done to save or maintain the integrity of teeth. In order for your dentist to successfully treat a dental cavity, she needs to remove the decayed part of your tooth first before the filling can be done. If your tooth is worn out, cracked, or has chipped, the damaged part can also be repaired with a dental filling. When a root canal is performed, a dental filling is also used to replace the pulp that has been removed so that the leftover empty space gets filled.

Teeth that have been worn out due to the patient’s diet, age, or because of teeth grinding, can also be fixed by dental fillings wherein they are used not only to protect the underlying sensitive areas and nerves but also to restore the overall look and feel of the affected teeth.

Like any other type of dental procedure, the affected tooth needs to be prepared to accept the filling. The type of filling that’s going to be used will determine the length and intensity of the procedure. Fillings are divided into 6 different classes from Class I to Class VI. Each class is specifically designed for a specific type of tooth; the area of the tooth where the filling is going to be applied; and the direction of the filling.

Do you have a tooth ache or want to look into replacing those old silver fillings in your teeth? Give us a call or fill out the form on this page to set up an appointment.  


Why Getting Routine Dental Cleaning In Humble TX Is Important

Dental cleaning and exams are important for your oral health.Routine dental cleaning in Humble TX, which is also referred to as prophylaxis is a dental procedure that involves removing plaque deposits and tartar that have accumulated on the teeth’s surface and gum tissues. Let’s discuss some of the most important reasons why it’s highly advisable that you get regular dental cleaning done.

  1. To prevent bad breath or Halitosis.

Poor oral hygiene can easily lead to bad breath or halitosis. This is usually caused by the failure to clean and remove food debris that get stuck on the teeth after eating. Food debris that stay on the teeth will eventually decay and in turn will cause harmful bacteria to form inside the mouth. This results in bad breath, cavities, dental caries, periodontal disease and other types of dental problems.

  1. Routine dental cleaning helps keep teeth healthy.

One of the most common causes of tooth loss is gum disease. To prevent this, you need to keep your teeth and gums healthy through regular brushing, flossing, and routine dental cleaning and examination.

  1. It helps you maintain your bright smile.

Routine dental cleanings can clean hard to reach areas of the teeth that regular tooth brushing and flossing cannot do. Apart from cleaning the teeth, this procedure also polishes them and leaves their surfaces clean and smooth. This makes it hard for bacteria to stick to them. As a result, you get a brighter and whiter smile.

  1. To prevent gum diseases.

Poor oral hygiene is one of the most common causes of gum disease. More often than not, gum infection can easily lead to tooth loss and other more serious conditions if it doesn’t get detected and treated early.

  1. To help prevent oral cancer.

Like any other type of cancer, oral cancer can be very frightening and may also possibly lead to death. A study that was done by the Oral Cancer Foundation has shown that every single hour a person dies from oral cancer in the United States. You can help prevent this by getting both regular dental checkups and routine dental cleanings done.

  1. It helps detect dental problems early.

The early detection of dental problems can help save you from the worry, trouble, and huge expense of having more serious conditions later on. By having regular dental checkups and routine dental cleanings done, you can allow your dentist to check for early signs of dental cavities and gum diseases so that they can be treated right away. Give us a call or fill out the form on the right side of this page to set up your appointment. Be sure to check out our “New Patient” discounts too!

The Most Common Myths About Teeth Whitening In Humble TX

Teeth whitening in Humble TX is one of the most common cosmetic dentistry procedures that patients get to whiten or lighten the shade of their teeth. If you’re thinking of getting your teeth whitened, you should first take the time to visit your dentist so that you can check whether or not you have cavities or gum disease. Your dentist can also clean your teeth to get rid of any surface stains.

Before you get your teeth whitened, you should know some basic facts about teeth whitening. Below are some of the most common myths about teeth whitening.

  1. All teeth whiten the same.

This unfortunately is not true.  Yellow teeth have the tendency to whiten better than gray teeth. Because of this, people with yellow teeth tend to see more dramatic results compared to people with gray teeth.

  1. All teeth whitening gels works the same.

There are a lot of different whitening gels in the market today and they vary in terms of strength. The strongest ones are used by dentists for in-office teeth whitening procedures. The next strongest ones are given by dentists for patients to use at home. The weakest ones can be bought over the counter.

  1. Whitening toothpastes work by bleaching teeth.

Only very few whitening toothpastes actually have the ability to chemically whiten teeth. Most of them are only made with mechanical abrasive products that are designed to get rid of surface stains.   

  1. I need to get the strongest whitening gel so that my teeth can get as white as possible.

Even though the strongest whitening gels used by dentists in their clinics can whiten teeth the fastest, you can still achieve similar whitening results by using a medium-strength whitening gel prescribed by your dentist to be used at home for a longer time.

  1. Dental crowns, veneers, and tooth colored fillings will whiten just like teeth.

Teeth whitening treatment in Humble doesn’t take effect on dental veneers, crowns, and tooth colored fillings. This means that after you get your teeth whitened, the aforementioned will no longer match the color of your natural teeth. If you have plans on getting dental fillings, crowns, or veneers done, you should ask your dentist to whiten your teeth first before making them. Otherwise, you may need to get them redone after teeth whitening.

  1. It will take weeks for you to see results.

Even though most over-the-counter teeth whitening products that are made with milder whitening agents usually take weeks to show results, you can sometimes see dramatic results within an hour if you decide to get a teeth whitening procedure done by your dentist at her clinic. At times, patients can see their teeth become 8 or more shades whiter in a single visit.

Have you been considering whitening your teeth? It’s very simple and not painful at all. It’s a great way to brighten your smile! Give us a call or fill out the form on this page to set up an appointment. Be sure to take advantage of our “New Patient Specials” too!

The Most Commonly Asked Questions About Invisalign Braces In Humble TX

Invisalign Clear BracesInvisalign is one of the latest updates in the dental industry and it’s the newest way to straighten teeth and give people the best smile possible. If you’re considering getting Invisalign braces for yourself but you’re still not that sure whether or not they’re really a much better option compared to traditional braces then read on because we’re going to answer some of the most common questions that people have about them.

How Do Invisalign Braces Work?

Invisalign is a procedure that makes use of advanced 3D computer imaging technology in order to help the dentist determine the best treatment plan for a patient. From the initial positioning of your teeth to the final desired position, it is planned out from the beginning, carefully monitored and crafted to get your desired end result… faster than traditional braces. After the assessment, clear aligners are then made for the patient’s teeth. Each of the aligners is designed to be worn for a couple of weeks and will then be replaced by the next one as the treatment progresses. That way, the teeth will gradually move to their final desired position.

What Are The Biggest Benefits Of Invisalign?

Invisalign braces are made to look almost as clear as glass, which means that people will hardly notice that you’re wearing them. Plus, unlike traditional metal braces, you can eat and drink whatever you want with these. You can also brush and floss your teeth normally by taking off the aligners. Invisalign braces don’t have any metal brackets or wires that can possibly irritate your mouth. Lastly, you won’t have to spend too much time on the dentist’s chair because you won’t have to come in for adjustments. In fact, in most cases you’ll have several months supply of aligners so you only come to the Humble dentist office every 2 or 3 months. 

Is Invisalign Painful?

Invisalign braces can straighten your teeth without the pain that’s commonly associated with metal braces. But, you may experience some temporary discomfort or pressure during the first few days of your wearing each aligner. This is normal and it just means that the treatment is working and that your teeth are getting closer and closer to their final destination.

Are There Any Foods That I Need To Avoid While I’m Using Invisalign Braces?

You won’t have to avoid any type of food when you’re using Invisalign braces because they can be taken off. That feature gives you more flexibility when it comes to what you can eat or drink. However, keep in mind that you should avoid chewing gum and smoking when you’re wearing your Invisalign braces because they can cause discoloration.

Have you been wondering if Invisalign braces are right for you? Give us a call or fill out the form on this page to set up an appointment. Be sure to take advantage of our new patient specials too!

Humble Tx Dentist Featured In Living Magazine, Lake Houston Edition

Here is an article featuring some of the recent changes that have been made at Houston Dental Implants, Family Dentistry, Oral Surgery and Periodontics.  You will find this full article on page 25 online at: Living Magazine

Article about dentist in Humble Tx

New 2017 Living Magazine article about new services offered at Humble Tx dentist office


Dr. Gregory has had a goal since beginning her Humble Tx dentist practice to be more than just a dental specialist office. She has envisioned her practice to be one that an entire family could come to from infant to elderly for all the dental care they would need. This means that she would need to have dentist in her office that specialize in family dentistry, pediatric dentisty, cosmetic dentistry, prosthetic dentistry, dental implants, oral surgery as well as periodontics. This year, she finally accomplished her goal and is one of only a few offices in the Houston area that offers complete dental care for her patients. In the video below, Dr. Gregory explains a little more about what this means for you when you come to her Humble dentist office.

Have You Thought Of Getting A Cosmetic Smile Makeover In Humble TX?

A cosmetic smile makeover is a type of dental treatment that’s designed to improve the overall look of a patient’s smile. It involves designing the best smile possible for your teeth and gums so that the result of the treatment looks both natural and beautiful while making sure that your teeth function and bite correctly.

A cosmetic smile makeover in Humble TX is a treatment that involves a combination of different cosmetic dental treatments, which are put together to come up with the perfect result. Those treatments may include dental bridges, gum lifting, dental implants, dental veneers, dental crowns, orthodontic treatment, and teeth whitening. A combination of any of these treatments may be used or only one of them may be necessary depending on the patient’s case.

All on 4 post dental implant candidateDuring your first visit at the clinic, the cosmetic dentist is going to assess your smile and will present you with the treatment plan that will give you the result you are looking to accomplish. After your treatment is agreed upon, you will then probably require several visits to the dentist’s clinic to finish the entire smile makeover treatment. The length of the whole cosmetic smile makeover will depend on the types of treatments that the dentist has to perform. One of your appointments will usually be allotted for prep work to review the trial smile and another one will be for fitting and finishing.

All on 4 in one day dental implant bridge resultsAs you may have seen on television shows that feature extreme makeovers, smile makeover treatments are often done with the use of a local anesthetic so you don’t have to worry about going through pain during the entire procedure. Both your teeth and gums will be prepared for the smile makeover so that they are totally numb. If you have a phobia of the dental chair, you can be given sedation for total relaxation, which may be given either orally or intravenously.

Our Humble dentist office will help you get all the information you need on the cosmetic dentistry procedures that you’re considering to help you make your decision whether or not it’s right for you. 

One of the things that we enjoy most at our office is to witness our patient’s first look at their new smile. For many people it is quite an emotional experience, but for us, it’s what helps us get out of bed in the morning. 

If you have been considering making a change to imperfections in your smile, there is no better time than right now to look into your options and the amazing change it can bring to your smile. Give us a call or fill out the form on this page to learn more. We look forward to seeing you.


Getting To Know How Dental Veneers In Humble TX Are Made And Applied

Dental veneers in Humble TX are either made from resin composite or porcelain. Between the two types of materials, porcelain is the more ideal choice because it can resist stains better than resin composite. In addition to that, porcelain veneers also look and feel more like natural teeth. Despite these advantages, it is still up to you and your dentist to decide which among the two is going to suit you best.

Dental Veneers: Porcelain VeneersWhen you get dental veneers, you will be asked to visit the dental clinic at least three times in order for you to complete the entire procedure. The first appointment is going to be a consultation and will be used for analyzing your teeth’s condition. The second and third will then be used to make and apply your custom-made veneers.  The veneering process includes three stages.

The first stage is the time when the dentist is going to prepare the diagnosis plan for your case and she will require your proactive participation during this planning phase.  You should tell her what you would like to accomplish with the treatment. After that, your teeth will then be examined and the results will be used by your dentist to determine whether or not your function or aesthetic goals can be accomplished with veneers.

The second stage is preparation. During this time, your dentist is going to take off around 1 to 2mm of your enamel on the front of your teeth to accommodate thickness of the veneer which is going to be applied on your teeth. Once the contouring of your teeth is done, your dentist will make a model or impression of your newly formed teeth. After this stage is done, the impressions will be sent to a dental laboratory and your new veneers will be a delivered to your dentist at a predetermined time. This usually takes about a week.

The third and last stage involves permanently bonding the veneers to your teeth. This is the time when your dentist is going to mount the veneers on your teeth so that she can check both the color and fitment. She will then do any necessary trimming so that you get a perfect fit. Color adjustments can also be done to your teeth that are not receiving veneers so that all your teeth match the shade of the veneers.  Once your veneers are installed they will be cleaned, polished, and roughened up to allow for a strong bond to take place. Excess cement will be removed during the final steps of the procedure.

Dental veneers can last up to 5-10 years and don’t have to be replaced during that time. They don’t require any type of special care so you can just continue on with your regular oral hygiene practices.

If you have been considering improving your smile, veneers may be a cost effective choice for you. Give us a call or fill out the form on this page to set up your initial consultation and let’s see if veneers will work for you. 

What You Need To Know About Pediatric Dentistry In Humble TX

Pediatric dentistry is basically a branch of dentistry that deals with the oral health of children. With that said, it’s very important to maintain proper oral hygiene among children. This shouldn’t be ignored because it may possibly lead to serious dental conditions in the later years when the child grows up. It’s important for parents to teach their children how to maintain proper oral health by brushing their teeth regularly.

Pediatric Dentist and Family Dentist are the best kind of Humble dentistChildren should also be advised to avoid foods that are rich in sugar. In addition to that, parents should also make sure to bring their children to a Humble Tx pediatric dentist regularly to get routine checkups. Regular dental checkups are important because a lot of dental diseases can be prevented or controlled better if they can be detected early. Children are advised to get checked by a dentist at least once every three months.

In addition to taking care of children’s oral health, pediatric dentists are also charged with teaching and guiding them about proper oral hygiene. A lot of dental conditions can be prevented if proper oral hygiene is practiced. Similarly, serious injury that can affect the teeth can also be prevented by following appropriate precautions when children are involved in sporting activities. Both safety instruction and accident prevention are important parts of pediatric dentistry. On top of that, pediatric dentists are also responsible for teaching parents about different dental procedures and products that can help maintain their family’s oral health.

One of the biggest goals of pediatric dentistry is to help prevent tooth decay among children. Improper oral hygiene and dental diseases can greatly hamper a child’s performance in school. Being embarrassed about the condition of their teeth can also have a negative effect on a child’s behavior and the manner as to how he interacts with other people. Observing proper eating habits and doing certain precautionary measures are vital to preventing tooth decay.

Since pediatric dentistry is a special field, it requires pediatric dentists to undergo special training. Let’s face it, dentist are people too and some just don’t do so well with children. Sometimes, no matter how much training one has, some dentist are going to be better with your children than others. The important thing about pediatric dentistry is that your children learn that going to the dentist is not a thing to be dreaded nor is taking care of their teeth while at home! 

All of our Humble pediatric dentist place great emphasis on the relationship between the dentist and their young patient. It’s important for the dentist to have a good grasp of child psychology so that she can treat children effectively. Because of this, child psychology is considered an integral part of pediatric dentistry. 

Bring your children to see us today! We will make sure that they enjoy their visit and will leave looking forward to their next visit. 

Local Cosmetic Dentistry Practice Now Offers Comprehensive General Dentistry Services

Below is an article written by “Living Lake Houston” magazine in their March 2017 edition about Houston Dental Implants, Family Dentistry, Oral Surgery & Periodontics.  You can find this article at this link: Living Lake Houston — March 2017 or here for a plain text version: Living Lake Houston – Text Version

This article features the new Humble dentist and the new dental services the dental office now offers. It has been Dr. Gregory’s vision to build a dentist office in Humble Tx that offers all the dentist services a family would need in one office. This article by Clare Heekin Lynch outlines Dr. Gregory’s vision and how it has finally come to fruition. Now her office offers pediatric dentistry, family dentistry, cosmetic dentistry, oral surgery, Invisalign, dental implant and denture services with the added benefit that there are very few things that a patient would need to be referred out to a dental specialist for outside work. With all dental services offered in one location, patients are able to save time and money in their dental treatment.

Houston Dental Implants, Family Dentistry, Oral Surgery & Periodontics
Clare Heekin Lynch

Local cosmetic dentistry practice now offers comprehensive general dentistry services

By combining proven technologies and techniques with a gentle and caring approach, Houston Dental Implants, Family Dentistry, Oral Surgery & Periodontics brings you the high-tech benefits that comes with big city dentistry, combined with the warm, personal feeling you’d find in a small town. The doctors and staff will work hard to make you feel more comfortable and at ease during your treatment.

Meet the Doctors

Holly Gregory, DDS, MS specializes in oral surgery, the placement of dental implants, and the treatment of gum infection (periodontal disease). Through her practice, she offers start-to-finish dental implant care and implant maintenance work. Her practice also includes procedures like tooth extraction, gum recontouring, grafting, and non-invasive laser treatment of oral infections.

Dr. Gregory, a native Texan, graduated with a 4.0 from Texas A&M in the department of Biochemistry/ Biophysics and went on to be first in her class at Baylor College of Dentistry. She trained at one of the top residency programs in the country and is known for her strong and precise surgical skills as well as her gentle and calming demeanor. Dr. Gregory is committed to providing the kind of care to her patients that she would provide for her own family.

In an effort to expand her practice to help even more patients, Dr. Gregory is excited to finally announce the addition of Alisha Paal, DDS to her dental team. “Having Dr. Paal join our team allows us now to offer all-in-one services,” shared Dr. Gregory. “In addition to the cosmetic dentistry and oral surgery services that my staff and I were already providing, we will now offer orthodontics and general dentistry care as well.”

Dr. Paal earned her undergraduate degree in Neuroscience and her Doctor of Dental Surgery graduate degree at the University of Michigan. After completing dental school, she pursued a highly competitive general practice residency at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago. “This residency enabled me to further refine my knowledge of complex surgical and aesthetic cases,” Dr. Paal said. In addition to her extensive educational background Dr. Paal is personally invested in global oral health, having traveled to both Guatemala and Kenya to promote oral health awareness and to research the barriers of access to care.

“Dr. Paal has a knack of connecting with her patients and putting them at ease. Her approach is comprehensive and patient tailored, and she works to make them comfortable by getting to know them,” continued Dr. Gregory. Dr. Paal agreed. “My favorite part of dentistry is building relationships with my patients and following them as they grow. I take pride in being very detail oriented as I take an aesthetic approach in my care through patience, time and the use of X-rays and photos so that you can easily see the difference in before and after treatment.”

State-of-the Art Technology and Caring Staff

Dr. Gregory is proud of the practice she has built and continues to grow. “My knowledgeable and warm staff sets patients at ease. We utilize techniques and procedures that make patients’ appointments stress free and their healing process rapid, successful, and comfortable,” the board-certified surgeon shared. The staff also advocates for patients with their insurance companies so that you don’t have to do the often-frustrating legwork.

Dr. Gregory utilizes magnification, lasers and 3D images to be able to place dental implants without any incisions, leading to rapid and very comfortable healing. Robotics procedures and imaging further allows her to give patients their new teeth the same day as their extractions are done in many cases. “We can talk to patients about our high-tech equipment, our lasers, and our robotics surgeries but, at the end of the day, the patient wants to know that they are getting the best quality care at the best price and that their healing isn’t going to be difficult. And that’s what they can expect to get here.”

A Variety of Services for Every Need

Sometimes a check-up and cleaning are all you need, but sometimes additional dental work is required, too. “Unlike most other dentistry practices in the area, we offer complete oral care from the surgical placement of an implant to teeth cleaning,” Dr. Gregory explained. This results in seamless patient care and optimal results. “A multi specialty practice gives our patients access to the best dentists in one convenient location and it allows Dr. Paal and me to concentrate on our individual specialties, while still working together as a team for excellent patient outcomes,” the doctor continued.

As an added convenience to their patients, Houston Dental Implants, Family Dentistry, Oral Surgery & Periodontics also boasts an in office lab technician who makes all implant and crown parts right there on the premises, and an in-house anesthesiologist. “We want to provide a positive lifelong relationship because it enhances the overall results of the care we offer. It’s a huge compliment to have our patients come back time and time again and refer family and friends. That is the reason we do what we do.”

From general dentistry and traditional orthodontics, to cosmetic periodontal surgery and “New Teeth in a Day” implants, the doctors will work together to help you achieve excellent oral health and a beautiful smile you will love. “We are confident that by providing an exceptional patient experience through top-quality dental care and comfort in a relaxing, low stress environment you will feel right at home,” said Dr. Gregory.

19502 McKay Boulevard, Suite 202
Humble, Texas 77338
(281) 446-9157

Humble Dentist Reveals 5 Dirty Little Secrets About Your Dental Insurance and What You Can Do About It!

So What’s the Deal With Dental Insurance?

Humble Tx dental insuranceAs a dentist in Humble, Tx, you would expect the first thing someone would ask us is, “What kinds of dental treatment do you offer?” or maybe, “When is your first available appointment?” However, more often than not, the first question we get asked by new patients is, “Do you take my insurance?” Dental insurance, like medical insurance, is complicated and can be a stressful matter for patients who have a hard time sifting through the fine print on their policies and getting straight answers from their insurance companies by phone. For this reason, our staff is here to help you answer questions and to get you the most cost effective dental care possible.

I put together the following article to help clear up a lot of the confusion regarding dental insurance. Share with family and friends and let’s work together to make dental insurance less confusing!

Answering Your Questions on a Complicated Topic

Those of us with dental insurance coverage are instructed to seek out “dentists who take the insurance plan” to receive the least expensive dental care possible.  It’s smart to save money where we can and it’s smart to try to utilize dental insurance that we pay yearly premiums for.  There’s a lot about dental insurance companies, however, that we as patients are unaware of.  Every insurance plan is different and we are happy to answer questions regarding your particular plan.  The following are generalities that will hold true for many dental insurances.  Here’s some information you may not have heard before:

I.  HMO versus PPO:

Insurance plans are divided into either dental HMOs or dental PPOs.  Discount plans aren’t true “insurance” and offer blanket discount on services for dentists who sign up, like honoring a coupon.  If you have a DHMO plan, your insurance will only pay for a selected dentist to perform services.  These dentists typically get reimbursed yearly for every patient that is assigned to them (For instance, the DHMO dentist has 4,000 patients on their list and gets paid so many dollars a year for each of those patients regardless of how much or how little work that dentist does for those people).  This is a financial incentive for these dentists to do as little work as possible for each one of these patients.  This doesn’t mean these dentists are necessarily bad dentists, just that the less work they do per patient, the more money they make.  If this makes you, as a patient, uncomfortable, then you are not alone.

Dental PPOs (or DPPOs) work differently.  Dentists are divided into two main categories, “in-network” and “out-of-network”.  Patients have a choice who to see.  Dental patients are urged to see “in-network” dentists to get the least expensive dental care possible.  Dentists who sign up with DPPOs are contracted with those insurance companies to only charge a certain fee for each service they offer.  Dentists who are “out-of-network” can choose what they charge for a service. 

“In-network” dentists are listed online and in patient insurance manuals and receive “free advertising” for new patients.  In exchange for that free advertising, these “in-network” dentists get paid less than market value for the services they provide.  In many cases, the amount that “in-network” dentists get paid by the insurance companies is less than half of market value and isn’t enough to even cover the cost of materials that are ideal in providing that dental service (for example, an “in-network” dentist may get paid $300 for an anterior crown when the lab fee alone to make that crown may cost $500, resulting in the dentist not getting paid anything for their time or office overhead and the dentist actually paying out of pocket $200 to get the patient the quality of crown they should have).  This would have the effect of forcing your Humble Tx dentist, in this example, to seek out less expensive (cheaper) materials that are not necessarily long-lasting, aesthetic, or cleansable as they would have hoped to provide if they were not an “in-network” dentist.  Many patients don’t realize that their choosing an “in-network” dental provider may mean they are getting cheap dentistry done.

II.  “In-network” versus “Out-of-network

In many cases, the money patients receive as payment for services from insurance companies is the same for “out-of-network” dentists as it is for “in-network” dentists.  For instance, if your insurance plan has a $1000/year benefit, you will likely get a $1000 benefits whether you use an “in-network” or “out-of-network” dentist.  “Out-of-network” dentists are free to use the materials and dental labs that are ideal for each service without being constrained by contract terms with dental insurance companies. 

III.  Doesn’t my dental insurance cover what I need?

Help to understand your dental insuranceEach plan will have a listed set of procedures that are either “possibly covered” or “never covered”.  (Note: Dental Insurance calls “possibly covered” procedures “covered” but we know better.)  If your dentist diagnoses a need for a service that is “never covered”, your insurance company will not even consider whether or not they think you need the service; they will always deny it.  In other words, if you grind your teeth and need a retainer at night to keep you from breaking teeth in your sleep, and your insurance lists retainers as “never covered”, they don’t care whether you need it or not.  They won’t pay for it.  Procedures that are “possibly covered” are usually listed in insurance manuals as “covered procedures”.  More aptly named “possibly covered”, these are services that your insurance will review according to their regulations and decide whether they want to cover it or not. 

For instance, let’s say you need a filling done for a cavity, and your insurance lists fillings as “covered” (or more accurately, “possibly covered”).  Insurance has the right to say that they will pay for part of that filling but that they mandate it has to be a silver filling even though it’s going on your front tooth.  (Yes, this happens.)  Tooth-colored fillings are more expensive and if you opt not to have a silver front tooth, then your insurance may not cover that at all.  Do you have hereditary bone loss and need cleanings four times a year instead of twice to prevent teeth from falling out?  Unless you have had gum surgery in the last year (and it’s a goal not to have it more than once in a lifetime) then your insurance may not cover more than two cleanings a year.  You get the idea.  (By the way, there aren’t any “always covered” procedures.  Sadly.)

IV.  My dental insurance doesn’t pay 100% of my covered procedures?

PPO insurances almost always pay only a percentage of each covered procedure.  Let’s walk through a scenario for a patient who has a dental PPO and needs a crown on a tooth that is broken.  Once the tooth is repaired with a crown (and not beforehand), your Humble Tx dentist can submit a claim to the insurance company that says, “I did this crown to splint the tooth because the tooth was broken.”  The dentist sends documentation in the form of clinical notes, x-rays, pictures, measurements.  The insurance company reviews this information and accepts this as a covered benefit for the patient.  That means the patient doesn’t owe anything for that crown, right?  Nope. 

The crown is covered at 80%.  So that means that the crown that cost $1000 is now only $200 for the patient, right?  Nope.  This insurance only reimburses for the least expensive solution which is a metal crown which costs $500, of which they will pay 80%, or $400.  The patient got a porcelain tooth-colored crown, which most of us would want.  So that means that the patient will pay the residual $600 of the $1000 charge for a porcelain crown.  Feeling discouraged?  Your doctor deals with this nightmare daily to get you the best coverage they can and there’s not a thing your doctor or you can do about it. 

V.  Shouldn’t my doctor have known beforehand that my insurance wouldn’t pay for this procedure?

Most insurance companies provide limited information to dentists before claims are made.  All the dentist knows in most cases is what category the treatment falls into (either “possibly covered” or “never covered”).  Even when dentists send a document to insurance companies before any treatment is rendered (called a “Predetermination of Benefits”), this document is no guarantee that insurance will accept the treatment (and even states so on the document itself, rendering it a veritable total waste of time unless it’s a required hoop to jump through for your policy in order to get claims through). 

Just to determine what category your treatment falls into (“possibly covered” versus “never covered”) your dentist’s staff has to wait nearly an hour in many cases on hold on the phone with a representative.  This process is done before your dental appointment so know that when you arrive for your new patient visit, we are excited to see you and have already spent the time to verify your potential benefits so you can make an informed choice in your dental care (or as informed as is possible based on limited information released by insurance companies). 


What’s the bottom line? PPO or HMO or no insurance? “In-network” or “out-of-network”?

Unless you are comfortable with your providers being selected for you, stay away from dental HMO plans.  If your company offers a dental PPO plan at a yearly premium that is far less than your annual benefits, that policy might be a good option (i.e. don’t buy a plan for $900/year that only has $800/year in benefits.  Yes, this happens.). 

Be aware that “in-network” providers will be working with a limited reimbursement rate and that may risk the quality of care you receive. 

“Out-of-network” providers are able to provide services at reimbursement rates that they feel comfortable can cover quality materials and patients who seek care from “out-of-network” providers usually receive the same yearly benefits as if they were seeing “in-network providers”.  In other words, if you get $1000/year in benefits, you get that $1000/year no matter whether you see a “preferred provider” or not. 

What can I expect with Houston Dental Implants, Family Dentistry, Oral Surgery & Periodontics in Humble, Tx?

Humble Tx DentistAfter years of working as an “in-network” or “preferred provider” for dental PPO plans, I grew frustrated in general with how it threatened to compromise the materials and quality of care I was offering.  For instance, my payment from the insurance companies for a bone graft before placing implants became so low it didn’t even cover the cost of bone grafting material.  Instead of going the direction of many providers and offering ground glass or other “filler” materials which are less effective and less expensive, I opted to become an “out-of-network” provider instead. 

In my personal experience, because of this, I was able to maintain my integrity as a Humble Tx dental services provider and my enthusiasm for doing the best work I could.  If I can’t treat every patient like I would treat my own family, then I don’t find a reason to get out of bed every morning and come to work.

To help make this as easy as possible for my patients, I do the following:  

  • I honor discounts for patients to make my costs for services competitive with “in-network” or “preferred providers” or “discount plan providers” while still offering the highest quality of care that is available in dentistry today. 
  • I file patient’s claims for them, manage communication, and fight for reimbursement for the patient just like I did when I was a “preferred provider”. 
  • And in most cases I gain reimbursement for patients that are just as much as the patient would have gotten if I were “in-network”. 

Most of my patients have dental insurance plans and most of my patients receive their full benefits from those plans while still getting the care they deserve.  Make sure you let me know if you have questions. Give me a call or click the “Make An Appointment” button on the right side of the page.  I am Dr. Holly Gregory, the owner of Houston Dental Implants, Family Dentistry, Oral Surgery & Periodontics and I can’t wait to meet you! 

The dentist at Houston Dental Implants, Family Dentistry, Oral Surgery & Periodontics now services dental patients in Humble, Atascocita and Kingwood Tx for an expanded range of dental services. These services now include cosmetic dentistry, pediatric dentistry, family dentistry, oral surgery and root canals.  The addition of these services makes it so that almost any dental procedure you need can be done in one office, often in one day, without the need to be referred to another Humble dentist. Being referred to another dentist to have your dental work completed often increases your cost and always increases the time spent getting your dental issue resolved.