The team at Slave Lake Dental wants you to know that we work 100% for our patients. We do ask that all patients note that we do not work for an insurance company. We feel that insurance provides a great benefit for our patients and we want you to know that we will do everything in our power to ensure you get every benefit allotted by your dental insurance coverage. With this being said, we will always recommend the treatment that will best get you to a healthy smile based on your personal needs and not the insurance coverage. We will work within your limitations and barriers to plan a personalized treatment plan that will work for you and your health goals.
At Slave Lake Dental we care about your health and we make it our goal to provide you with the best dental experience. We know dealing with dental insurance is difficult, so we do it for you! We would like to introduce you to Stacey, our Patient Insurance Advocate.
Stacey works one on one to help you maximize your insurance benefits. She will complete a complimentary dental insurance benefits check before any care begins. She can check if you are covered for cleanings, braces, Invisalign and more!
We Direct Bill Your Insurance
At Slave Lake Dental, one of the ways that we like to take care of our patients is by offering a complimentary direct billing system for your insurance. We know it can be a hassle and often requires a lot of follow up. We are happy to do this for you.
Please bring your insurance information with you to your first appointment. If you have any questions please ask our team and they will be happy to assist you at 780-849-2234.
Frequently Asked Dental Insurance Questions
Is there an Alberta Provincial Fee Guide for Dentistry?
There is no Alberta Provincial Fee Guide for Dentistry. There has not been a provincial fee guide since 1997. What this means is that every dentist sets their own fees according to what they feel is appropriate to charge for their services given the level of service they provide. This also means that some people come in and if their insurance benefits are great those patients pay nothing (and YES we do have patients whose insurance covers 100% of our fees) – but it’s not always the case – for example we have some patients with Great West Life insurance who get the same service as someone with Alberta Blue Cross and the person with Great West Life pays $0 while the person with ABC will pay $25 for the same service. Some insurance plans have not increased their payout of fees in over 2 years!
Does 100% Dental Coverage mean I will pay nothing at my visit?
Many people believe that when they have 100% dental coverage that they will pay nothing for their visits and we wish that was the case however, that is rarely the case and here’s why. Since the Alberta Dental Association and College does not have a fee guide every insurance provider sets their own fees just like every dental office sets their own fees. Last I checked we had over 280 different insurance plans in our system alone! That means over 280 different fee guides. When you have 100% dental insurance your insurance company will pay 100% of insurance company’s fee for that service – which is probably different than our fee. For example if we do a service and our fee is $330, and the insurance company has decided their fee is $300 they will pay 100% of $300 and therefore you will have a $30 balance owing – EVEN WHEN YOU HAVE 100% COVERAGE! So be aware!
If I have two dental insurance plans and the percentage combined is 100% will I have to pay?
If you have two insurance plans (Insurance A from your work and Insurance B from your spouse’s place of work) this does not mean that there will be no out of pocket expenses. We would love if insurance would work like this to coordinate benefits but unfortunately this is not always the case. This really is an issue with the insurance companies which we have no control over. What happens is this: For a particular service, let’s use a cleaning for example and the fee is $250, insurance A pays $236 dollars. What would make sense, since you and your spouse pay into both benefits, is that Insurance B should pay the other $14 – but they don’t. This is because Insurance B looks at the claim and if on the original claim Insurance B would have paid $232 towards the service and Insurance A has already paid $236 Insurance B figures they now owe nothing. We think – and I know you do to – that this is completely unfair! If you pay for the benefits (directly or indirectly) you should be entitled to have the insurance pay regardless of what another insurance company has already paid. But like I said – we have absolutely no control over this and we don’t even know when it will happen. Thus even with “dual Insurance” leftover amounts can still be owing and it really has nothing to do with our fees or what we do on our end.
If my insurance doesn't cover it then do I really need that type of treatment?
When your insurance doesn’t “cover” a particular service some patients feel as though they must not need the procedure. This is absolutely not the case. In our office we formulate treatment plans for the best interests of the health of our patients teeth and gums so they can keep their teeth for a lifetime – regardless of what insurance says. If insurance companies did exams on every patient who signed up for insurance so they knew the level of care that was needed this could be a valid argument but nobody has a dental exam prior to getting insurance. Who is your insurance company to tell you that you don’t need a certain procedure without having looked at your mouth! The insurance company has no idea what the best thing is for your health. This is where honest and open communication with your dentist is important- if you have questions about any treatment recommended to you make sure you ask. Take control of your health and make sure you understand why treatment has been recommended. Ask your dentist to show you photographs of your teeth and/or evidence of disease so you can make informed decisions on what is best for the health of your mouth.
Is it enough to get my teeth cleaned just once a year like my insurance pays for?
Many patients believe they can only have their teeth cleaned once per year because that’s what their insurance covers. What most people don’t understand is the insurance coverage and dental “jargon” regarding exams and a cleaning – and what that difference is. When you come in for a “cleaning” technically the code that gets billed to insurance is for “units of scaling”. Depending on a patients’ health and how good they are at keeping their teeth clean we could bill 1,2,3 or 4 units of scaling PER cleaning. MOST insurance companies (and we can find this out for you) pay for 12-15 Units of scaling per year and ONE exam per year. The good news is in most offices we only bill an exam once per year (which is exactly what your insurance says) But because most patients are eligible for scaling units they can have their teeth “cleaned” 2-3 times per year. An important point to remember is that if we recommend 2,3 or 4 times per year “cleanings” it is to support you in maintaining good oral health and helping you keep your teeth for a lifetime – remember your insurance company has not looked in your mouth and has no idea the level of treatment you may need.
Aren't all dental insurance plans basically the same and cover the cost of fixing my teeth?
The level of insurance benefits provided to you all hinges on how much your employer (or you) pay in premiums. They will never pay out more than you pay in – so not all dental insurance is equal. Some plans “cover” more than others. We have patients with yearly maximums of $750 and others with maximums of $7500. We often will get patients coming to see us because the just got dental benefits only to be disappointed to find out the benefits will only pay for a fraction of what may be needed to improve dental health. In fact we counsel some patients that insurance is simply not worth buying depending on their needs because they may in fact be paying more in insurance premiums than they are getting back in benefits. And many patients assume that their dental insurance will pay for everything – they don’t and never will. It is best to think of dental insurance as a bonus – you are lucky to have it, and it definitely helps but don’t count on your dental insurance paying for all your treatment especially if you have not been to the dentist in a long time. This is also why it is important to keep your preventive maintenance appointments even when you don’t have insurance. Paying a few hundred dollars a year for a “check-up” can actually be very affordable in comparison to letting things go and then being faced with thousands of dollars of treatment needed or even worse losing teeth. One thing we commonly tell our patients is that dentistry will never be less expensive than it is today – meaning prevention is the best way to keep your dental costs down.
You're my dentist, don't you know about my insurance plan?
At Slave Lake Dental we have over 280 DIFFERENT dental plans in our system alone. This means different fee guides, different yearly maximums, different procedures covered, different percentages for services etc. Believe it or not even patients who have the same employers have different insurance coverage! Slave Lake Dental has gone above and beyond most to collect information from most insurance companies – our Patient Insurance Advocate will call YOUR insurance on YOUR behalf to find out about YOUR benefits so we can help you maximize them! Unfortunately due to the privacy act some companies simply refuse to give us the proper information. We strive to do our best to help you understand your benefits but your cooperation and understanding regarding the highly specialized and individualized plans is appreciated. We cannot possibly know everything but with your help we will always do our best to work with your insurance company and help you understand your benefits – we understand how confusing they can be! The most helpful thing you can do so any dental office can serve you better is to bring your insurance benefits booklet and always know your yearly maximum and keep track of how much has been applied to that maximum.
Why is it taking so long, don't you get the insurance payment quickly?
It can take 1-12 months for us to receive payments from your insurance company. Once we receive all those payments – then and only then can we let you know of any outstanding balance left over. I know some patients get frustrated about this –to find out you owe money 8 -12 months after the treatment has been completed – and let me assure you – it frustrates dental offices too! – when we do treatment and don’t get paid for weeks to months later it has an impact. It’s one of the things that we all have to accept if patients like dental practices to work with your insurance on your behalf – which our patients are overwhelmingly in favor of. So that means we have to take the good with the bad – but please don’t be upset when we come back months later with a balance. The only alternative would be for a dental office to go “non-assignment” or to take payments and have patients deal directly with insurance and our patients have told us time and time again they DO NOT want that!
Do you have to have a Pre-D (Pre-Determinations) sent to have approval so treatment will be covered?
Many patients think that a “Pre-D” MUST to be sent so that we have approval prior to starting treatment and if it is not sent treatment will not be paid even if it is a covered benefit. Under most circumstances this is absolutely not the case – dental offices do not NEED a Pre-D to begin treatment so long as we can prove to the insurance company that the treatment is a needed service – in our office we provide evidence with x-rays, photographs, and clinical descriptions. The most common procedure patients think need pre-determinations is a cap or a crown. If you are covered for crowns (which is easy to find out by calling your insurance company or looking in your booklet) and so long as your dental office can proved the cap or crown was needed your insurance company will pay – without a prior pre-authorization – and in these situations all that sending a Pre-D accomplishes is delaying the necessary treatment.