Dentist blog from Delta Dental

Author: Delta Dental (Page 2 of 18)

Delta Dental Day 2020: Implant treatment planning course

For Delta Dental Day 2020, the UCSF School of Dentistry is partnering with Delta Dental to offer an informative course on restorative and surgical implant treatment planning. The course will be held Saturday, November 7, 2020 from 9 am to 1 pm and counts for four units of coursework for the California Continuing Dental Education credit.

Designed for general dentists, dental specialists and dental teams, the course will address common planning concerns of both clinicians and patients. Among the topics discussed will be:

  • Modern treatment planning principles
  • How to plan and execute implant surgery from a restorative standpoint
  • New technologies

The course will be taught by Dr. Gaurav Setia, DDS, clinical professor at the UCSF School of Dentistry and is $100 for dentists and $75 for auxiliary personnel. For more information or to register, call 415-514-0778 or register online.

Amalgam fillings: A closer look at the recent FDA recommendations

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration recently advised against the use of dental amalgam in high-risk groups. What do these new recommendations mean for you and your practice? Here’s a closer look.

What is the case against dental amalgam?

Amalgam fillings contain a mixture of silver, tin, copper and mercury.

In its recommendations released Sept. 24, 2020, the FDA suggested that certain groups of people, including pregnant and nursing women, children under 6 and people with certain health conditions, may experience harmful effects of mercury exposure.

The FDA cited “uncertainties about the acceptable reference exposure levels for mercury vapor” and the potential for negative health outcomes. The FDA did not cite any new scientific evidence for this position.

What is Delta Dental’s position on dental amalgam?

Amalgam is a long-lasting, clinically effective tooth restorative material and has a proven track record of over 150 years. Based on the scientific evidence available, amalgam fillings do not pose a health risk to children or adults, except the small group of people who are allergic to the metal components of amalgam.

The mercury in fillings is safe in its bound form. When it breaks down, however, mercury can be released as vapor. Exposure to high levels of mercury vapor — higher than those in fillings — can cause damage to the kidneys and brain, according to industrial studies.

We recommend you discuss treatment options with your patients who fall into these risk groups or otherwise have concerns.

There are no changes to Delta Dental’s coverage of restorative treatments such as amalgam and composite fillings.

When should amalgam fillings be removed?

The FDA advises against removing or replacing existing amalgam fillings that are in good condition unless medically necessary. This aligns with Delta Dental’s recommendation.

Amalgam fillings that are in good condition, with no nearby decay present in the tooth, should not be removed. Removing them may result in loss of tooth structure and unnecessarily releases mercury vapor.

When removing amalgam fillings, please follow best management practices for amalgam waste handling and disposal. By law, you must use amalgam separators of at least a 95% removal efficiency, as required by the Environmental Protection Agency. This rule went into effect July 14, 2017, with compliance for dental offices since July 14, 2020.

For more information about Delta Dental policies around restorative treatments, please refer to your Dentist Handbook under Provider Tools.

Upcoming November webinars on Provider Tools

Open enrollment season is here. There’s no better time to learn how to master Provider Tools to make running your business easier.

Attend a Provider Tools webinar to learn:

  • How to set up your free online account
  • How to use Provider Tools to manage your patients
  • How to sign up for direct deposit
  • How to submit claims in real-time for free
  • And more!

Don’t miss out — register today!

November 5, 9 am PT/ 12 pm ET

November 11, 11 am PT / 2 pm ET

November 17, 10 am PT / 1 pm ET

Good news! Teledentistry discounts and free trials have been extended

Back in August, free trials and discounts on HIPAA-compliant teledentistry tools were made available to dentists for a limited time. Fortunately, the discounts and free trial periods on teledentistry tools have been extended through December 31.

With coronavirus cases on the rise and patients getting more used to virtual appointments, it’s a great time to find teledentistry solutions that work for you, your staff and your practice.

Dentist spotlight: Dr. Francisca Mojica

Meet Dr. Francisca Mojica, DDS, our Dental Health Partner of the Month. Dr. Mojica is a San Jose, California–based dentist whose interest in dentistry as a child has become a lifelong passion.

The founder of the La Amistad Dental office, Dr. Mojica has been practicing dentistry for more than three decades. Fluent in Spanish, Dr. Mojica an active member in the American Dental Association, the California Dental Association and the Santa Clara County Dental Society.

How did you decide to become a dentist?          

I first became interested in becoming a dentist when I was in elementary school. My older sister at that time was attending a university for dentistry, and I would look at her notes and challenge myself to memorize the information. When I was in middle school, I would help my sister at her dental office by setting up the rooms for the patients and helping them put on their bibs. I would see patients come into the office with pain, and I knew that this career would be for me, because I wanted to help them feel better. This motivated me to go university and become a professional dentist so that I can help my community and put a smile on my patients’ face.

How long have you been practicing?

I’ve been practicing dentistry for 34 years.

What’s the most rewarding part of your career?

The most rewarding part of my career is when I’m able to give my patients their smile back and they leave happy.

Can you tell us one of your funniest stories from the dental office?

One day I was doing a crown preparation for my patient. I asked him to close his mouth for about five minutes so that the material for the impression I had placed in his mouth could dry up, so he did as I asked. The next step was to make his temporary crown. For this step he needed to keep his mouth open so that the acrylic could dry, but to my surprise the patient thought that he needed to close his mouth and as he did that, he bit down on my finger. I told him to open, but he got confused and didn’t hear me, so he kept on biting down on my finger — ouch! Once he opened his mouth, I went to the sink and ran some cold water on it to help with the pain.

What do you consider dentistry’s biggest challenge?

One of the biggest challenges is for my patients to overcome the fear that they have in coming to the dentist.

What do you do in your free time?

In my free time I enjoy cooking and gardening.

What are you most proud of about your heritage?

I am most proud of the culture of my ancestors, such as the painting, architecture and traditions that have been passed down from generation to generation.

We’d like to take a moment to congratulate Dr. Mojica and thank her for the work she does for her community. To find out more about Dr. Mojica, visit the La Amistad Dental Office website.

Return to Care supplemental reimbursement program extended through 2020

To help you continue to provide care to your Delta Dental patients during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, we’re extending the Return to Care supplemental reimbursement program through December 31, 2020.

As a network dentist, you’ll receive a $10 supplemental reimbursement for performing qualifying evaluation or consultation codes. The program launched June 22 and was later extended to October 20.

The latest extension to December 31 is meant to offer you additional support and help you adjust to the new conditions as you prepare for 2021. There are no other changes to the program that is currently in place.

For more details on the supplemental reimbursement program, please see the complete FAQ.

As before, to receive the reimbursement, you must participate in one of the following networks and treat an eligible patient covered by one of these Delta Dental plans:

  • DeltaCare® USA
  • Delta Dental PPO™ and DPO in Texas (see applicable Delta Dental companies below)
  • Delta Dental Premier® (see applicable Delta Dental companies below)
  • Delta Dental Federal (Legion), Medicare Advantage

Applicable Delta Dental companies include Delta Dental of California, Delta Dental Insurance Company, Delta Dental of Pennsylvania, Delta Dental of the District of Columbia, Delta Dental of Delaware, Inc., Delta Dental of West Virginia, Inc. and Delta Dental of New York, Inc.

The Medi-Cal Dental, CDPHP (NY Medicaid) and HSCSN (Washington, D.C. Medicaid) networks are not eligible for this reimbursement.

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