Office Policies

First Visit to North Tampa Periodontics and Implant Dentistry

Please assist us at the time of your initial visit to the office by providing the following information:

  • Your referral slip and x-rays from your referring dentist.
  • A list of medications you are currently taking (please note that you can fill out your patient registration and medical history form on our website.)
  • If you have dental insurance, please bring any forms or insurance cards with you to the appointment.

Please Note: All patients under 18 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian at all appointments.

Please notify the office if you have a medical condition or concern prior to surgery (e.g. artificial heart valves or joints, heart murmurs requiring pre-medication, severe diabetes, or hypertension).

We will complete an in-depth medical and dental health history and a thorough examination to measure for bone loss, loose teeth, bite, oral cancer screening, TMJ, and other signs of periodontal disease.

Will It Hurt?

We will be as gentle as possible. The periodontal exam can be completed with little or no discomfort.

Do I Need X-Rays?

We will need current periodontal x-rays in order to see disease not otherwise visible. If your referring dentist has taken x-rays, you may request that they be forwarded to us.

What Will It Cost?

Since all patients are different, your periodontist must complete your examination before establishing your treatment plan and the fee for care. The fee for periodontal treatment can vary considerably depending on the type of problems and the complexity and length of treatment. An approximate fee can usually be determined at the initial visit; but on occasion, some initial treatment or further diagnostics must be completed before the final treatment plan can be established. Our philosophy of practice is to treat as conservatively as possible to attain treatment goals.

Will My Insurance Cover The Cost?

Dental insurance policies often cover periodontal treatment. Please bring all medical and dental benefit information and cards to your examination appointment. Upon request, we will submit a claim to predetermine your insurance benefits; however, this is not required by most plans.

Will I Need Surgery?

Not everyone needs periodontal surgery. If treated early, gum disease can be controlled without surgery. We will make recommendations based on your individual situation. Our philosophy of practice is to treat as conservatively as possible to attain treatment goals

Can My Teeth Be Saved?

The recent advances in periodontal treatment allow us to successfully treat most teeth.However, in some cases the periodontal disease is too advanced.

When Will I Go Back To My General Dentist?

Our office and your dentist will work closely together. If crowns and fillings are needed your dentist will provide them. Regular visits to your dentist are an important part of periodontal maintenance.

What If I Don’t Have Gum Treatment?

Periodontal disease is a progressive, painless infection. Delay can cause you further bone loss and more expense. If your teeth are lost, dentures are never as effective as your own teeth.

Dental Appointment Scheduling

The office of North Tampa Periodontics and Implant Dentistry is open:

  • Fridays may sometimes be reserved for long, uninterrupted surgical appointments.

We will schedule your appointment as promptly as possible. Please allow at least an hour to an hour & a half for your initial visit. If you have pain or an emergency situation, every attempt will be made to see you that day.

We try to stay on schedule to minimize waiting at the time of your appointment. Referral of emergency patients can cause delays to the schedule, and your understanding and patience are very much appreciated.

Dental Insurance Information

A dental benefit plan may help pay for the cost of your dental care. Generally, a dental benefit plan is a contract between your employer, or plan sponsor, and a third party (insurance company). These contracts vary widely. In addition, some employers offer flexible spending account options for dental or medical benefit needs. Check with your employer to see if a flexible spending account is an option for you. There are many ways in which dental plans are designed and how reimbursement levels are determined. You need to know how your dental plan is designed – and its limitations.

There are numerous models of dental plans available to patients. In general, they can be divided into two categories: managed care and fee-for-service. Managed Care dental plans are cost containment systems that direct the utilization of health care by a) restricting the type, level and frequency of treatment; b) limiting the access to care; and c) controlling the level of reimbursement for services. Fee-for-Service dental plans are typically freedom-of-choice arrangements under which a dentist is paid for each service rendered according to the fees established by the dentist.

Our insurance coordinators deal with many different insurance companies. Some companies offer many different dental and medical plans. These companies can change benefits, co-pays, and deductibles many times throughout the year. We do our best to provide you with accurate coverage estimates based on information available to us. At times, it is almost impossible to accurately estimate a patient’s insurance co-payment. Many insurance companies will not give out fees until after the treatment is completed. Dealing with these companies can be difficult and time consuming. As a courtesy, we ask that you keep us informed of any change to your insurance. It is important that all information about you and your insurance is current.

Although we will gladly file a claim on your behalf, you may wish to submit the claim yourself. In general, insurers process claims filed directly by patients faster than those filed by the service providers (dental offices).

Further, most dental insurance policies are limited and often only pay for a portion of the procedure(s) that may need to be done.

Preferred Providers

Your plan may want you to choose your dental care from a list of their preferred providers. Whether or not you choose your dental care from this defined group can affect your levels of reimbursement. For example, in a PPO or managed care dental plan, the dental insurance company has contracted a fee schedule with the dentist, who generally has an agreement with the insurance company to write off the difference in charges without charging the patient any additional out-of-pocket expense. Dr. Johnson is not a participating provider with any managed care dental plans (HMOs & PPOs). Many patients with dental insurance are not aware that they can choose a fee for service dentist – or a dentist not within their network – without having to absorb the entire cost of treatment themselves, depending on what their coverage allows. Also, recently insured people may leave a trusted dentist to go to a participating provider because they are unaware that they have an option to choose their own dentist. However, this may not always be the case when the insurance is a PPO or managed care dental plan. If a patient with a PPO or managed care plan chooses to see a fee for service dentist, they will likely have additional out-of-pocket expenses.

Private & Group Insurance (Fee-for-Service)

Dr. Johnson accepts all traditional indemnity dental insurance plans. Fee for service dentistry provides people with high quality, appropriate treatment for their needs in exchange for a fair fee considering the time, care, skill, judgement and materials required to render that treatment. Payment for services is generally expected upon completion of the procedure unless prior arrangements have been made in advance. Dental financing may be available to help you manage your out-of-pocket expenses. As a courtesy to our patients with dental and/or medical benefit plans, we will submit necessary claim forms, receipts, and other information to your insurance company. Patients who choose, can obtain a pre-estimate for dental work which is submitted to the dental company and can provide an indication of what would be needed up front before beginning treatment. Upon receipt of an insurance payment, any balance due will be billed to you. If you have deposited an excessive co-payment, the difference will be refunded to you.

UCR (Usual, Customary & Reasonable)

The most common term used by dental insurance companies on their Explanation of Benefits (EOB) statement to identify the fee for dental treatment is called the Usual, Customary and Reasonable (UCR). UCR fees are determined by insurance providers based on the typical costs associated with various dental procedures. Although these fees are called “customary or reasonable,” they may or may not reflect the fees that other area dentists typically charge. It may also be noted on your bill the fee that your dentist has charged you is higher than the reimbursement levels of the UCR. This does not mean your dentist is overcharging you. For example, the insurance company may not have taken into account up-to-date, regional data in determining a re-imbursement level.

WHY? There is no regulation as to how insurance companies determine reimbursement levels, resulting in wide fluctuation. In addition, insurance companies are not required to disclose how they determine these levels. The language used in the process may be inconsistent among carriers and difficult to understand.

Annual Maximums

Your plan purchaser makes the final decision on “maximum levels” of reimbursement for the entire year of coverage through the contract with the insurance company. These spending caps often fall short of the expected expenditures for many patients’ needs. Even though the cost of dental care has significantly increased over the years, the maximum levels of insurance re-imbursements have remained the same since the 1960’s. Some plans offer higher maximums that are comparable to rising dental care costs, however, they are considerably more expensive.

Least Expensive Alternative Treatment

Your dental plan may only allow benefits for the least expensive treatment for a condition. For example, your dentist may recommend a dental implant to replace a tooth, but your insurance may only offer reimbursement for a removable partial denture. As with other choices in life ~ such as purchasing medical or automobile insurance, or buying a home ~ the least expensive alternative is not always the best option.

Pre-Existing Conditions

Just like your medical insurance, your dental plan may not cover conditions that existed before you enrolled in the plan. Even though your plan my not cover certain conditions, treatment may still be necessary.

Treatment Exclusions

Your dental plan may not cover certain procedures, or preventive treatments that can save you money later. In addition, they may limit the waiting periods before certain dental procedures can be rendered. This does not mean these treatments are unnecessary. Your dentist can help you decide what type of treatment is best for you.

Medicare

Dental procedures are not covered by Medicare; you are therefore responsible for the charges.

Financial Policy

Our doctor and staff are proud to be a team whose primary mission is to deliver the finest and most comprehensive periodontal services available today. We are concerned about your dental care and want to ensure you that it is performed in the most responsible manner. In order to assist you with the investment in your dental health, we have outlined our payment policy.

We make every effort to keep down the cost of your oral surgical care. You can help by paying upon completion of each visit. Other arrangements can be made with our financial coordinator depending upon your circumstance. An estimate of the charge for any procedure or surgery you may require will be given to you upon request. If you have any dental and/or medical insurance, we will be glad to assist you in filing for the benefits in which you are entitled, but please provide us with the most accurate and up to date information so that your reimbursement is not unnecessarily delayed.

Please remember that insurance is considered a method of reimbursing the patient for fees paid to the doctor and is not a substitute for payment. Some companies pay fixed allowances for certain procedures and others pay a percentage of the charge. It is your responsibility to pay the deductible amount, co-insurance or any other balance not paid for by your insurance company. You will be responsible for all collection costs, attorneys fees and court costs.

Emergency/Single-Visit Payments

For single-visit procedures and intial examinations/CT scans/xrays our policy is that payment is due in full at the time of service. For your convenience we accept cash, checks, money orders, and credit card payment (MasterCard, Visa, and Discover).

Multiple Visit Payment Options

  • Option 1: Full Payment at Time of Service – For your convenience, payments may be made with cash, personal check, debit Card, Discover, Visa, or MasterCard.
  • Option 2: Open Account Payment Plan – Treatment fees divided into two or three equal payments. For those individuals desiring a more flexible payment plan, the open account plan may be the best choice. This plan allows for three equal payments to be paid out over a period of three months. The first payment of one-third is due at the time of treatment, the second payment is due one month after treatment, and the third and final payment is due two months after treatment. A financial arrangement must be signed and a valid credit card on file.
  • Option 3: Outside Financing – For those who would prefer an extended payment plan. Patients who qualify may choose CareCredit for their outside financing. This financing provides low monthly payments that fit your budget, fixed rates and payments for the term of the loan with no hidden fees. They offer 12 month plans with no interest if paid within the promotional period.  For more  regarding outside financing through CareCredit, you can apply online at www.CareCredit.com or call 800-365-8295 .

If you have any problems or questions, please ask our staff. They are well informed and up-to-date. They can be reached by phone at Tampa Office Phone Number 813-264-1258. Please call if you have any questions or concerns regarding your initial visit.