The Dentist Richard Luczak, DDS, MPH

Announcing Lake Cities Football & Cheerleading 2012 Registration

Published on May 14, 2012 by

Here’s a Local Event some of you may be interested in for your children, grandchildren, nieces or nephews. Please visit www.LCFCA.org for more information.

Insurance? What I need to know.

Published on March 7, 2012 by

There’s some confusion regarding dental insurance. I’m often asked, “Why doesn’t my insurance cover more?” and “Why does the insurance say the dentist’s fees aren”t UCR?” Dental insurance carriers offer a cafeteria style menu of coverage options to most employers. Whenever employers choose a plan, the employer considers the level of customer service; timely processing of claims; & finally the COST.  Employers can also decide what will and will not be covered, based on COST.  Often this decision results in the patient (YOU) paying more out of pocket than expected.

UCR, “Usual, Customary, & Reasonable” is the ceiling amount an individual insurance carrier will pay towards any procedure. This fee is typically based on a range of fees dentists charge in a certain geographic area. If an employer selects a plan with a cheaper premium/coverage, then the plan will pay less towards treatment. The insurance carrier’s statement or EOB (Explanation of Benefits) will state the dentists fees are more than the UCR. The UCR is not a reflection of whether or not the dentist’s fees are reasonable, it’s a reflection of an amount & type of coverage purchased by the employer.

So, think of dental insurance as a way to help reduce the cost of treatment; not a way to eliminate the cost entirely.

Happy Holidays

Published on November 3, 2011 by

As we enter this holiday season, I want to remind everyone that beware of the hidden seed, nut or hard grain in the wonderful meals we prepare.  This is the season of broken teeth. 

As you remember your days of trick or treat, beware of the little piece of candy from your child’s halloween bag .   That nostalgia may just break a tooth or pull off a crown.  If you have been putting off addressing that bad filling or maybe a loose crown, don’t! 

A little caution could save you time in the dental chair this year.

Smile makeover

Published on October 12, 2011 by

Many patients come in asking for a complete smile makeover.  Traditionally a combination of orthodontic and restorative work was needed to address this request.  Now with the Snap on Smile, a temp change can give you the perfect bright white smile you want without permanent changes to your teeth.

Two simple short appointments will give you the smile you want.  The first appointment consult will determine if the Snap on smile is for you.  If it is, impressions will be taken and in two weeks your perfect smile will be delivered.  No numbing required; no permanent changes to your teeth.

Call the office today for a consult to see if a snap on smile is for you.

Bleaching

Published on August 10, 2011 by

Bleaching is the most frequently ask for cosmetic procedures in dental offices.  In office vs home bleaching systems (over the counter (OTC) or dentist dispensed).  Which products are the best and can any damage the teeth.  Hopefully I can shed some light on the subject.  There are so many systems on the market today that choosing the best one for you can be daunting.

Bleaching systems have one common active foundation, peroxide.  Whether it is carbamide or hydrogen peroxide, they all bleach in the same manner.  Hydrogen peroxide is the actual bleaching material.  Carbamide peroxide is transformed into hydrogen peroxide in the presence of  saliva, hence all systems bleach with the same chemical. 

The differences are the concentration of bleach and the exposure time to the tooth surface.  The choice of concentration should take into account the patients sensitivity and depth of bleaching desired.  The higher the concentration of bleach the greater the reduction in shade and the more likely sensitivity side effects will be observed.  The sensitivity can be controlled with home kits by limiting the the time exposure or the frequency, as well as, the concentration.  If sensitivity persists 1.1% neutral sodium fluoride dentifrice (toothpaste) placed in the the trays for 20 minutes following bleaching helps reduce that sensitivity.  Also, verifying that the gel is removed from the gingival tissue will significantly reduce post procedural sensitivity.

There are may in office gimmicky systems out there.  Laser, light or heat activated gels.  These are only for show and the experts show it boils down to the concentration of bleaching material, length of exposure and depth of shade change desired not the so called activators.  The concentrations can range from 27% to 40%+ .  They all carry with them the increased risk of sensitivity post procedure. 

The at home systems returns the control to the patient and thus allows him to bleach as little or as much as he would like with the initial kit.  45 minutes for 7 to 10 days typically will give the desired results.  This is only a guideline and can be modulated by the patient and the doctor addressing the individual desired results.  The OTC systems typically are design for perfect or near perfect arch forms with low concentrations of bleach. 

All the bleaching systems bleach in the same manner but can it be damaging?  Yes it can.  Increasing the concentrations increases the possible post procedure sensitivity, thus the in office systems would be the most likely to have that effect however the at home systems can also.  The in office systems have immediate result partly due to the dessication or drying of the enamel.  Once the teeth are re hydrated a darkening can be observed and home bleaching kits are dispensed in conjunction. 

I hope this addresses some of the questions that come up about bleaching.  Come in and we can discussed the system that might suit you best.

Welcome

Published on June 2, 2011 by

Welcome to our new website.  A lot  of time and effort have gone into this new website and we are excited to share with our existing patients and new ones we hope to meet.  First off, you will notice a more polished look to the website.  After the cosmetics, we hope you will find it easier to navigate and find the information you need.  We have added some new capabilities through the website that we hope will make your experience in our office a pleasant one.  I hope to use the blog to answer frequently asked questions or just update you on our practice. 

We have added the patient forms to download for those who are new to the practice and those who need to update their information.  You still can email us at the same address you have used in the past.  Along with patient forms, we have added the capability to request an appointment time via the web.   We know your time is valuable and hopefully the new enhancements will help.  

Millie, Soffie and LolaAs I become more comfortable with this new blog, I hope to address many of the questions I get each day by so many.  I find that even with the access to information patients are still confused by what is out there.  If you have any suggestions for topics do not hesitate to mention it to me or any of my staff members.

I already had suggestions on the blog from dental questions and updates on my girls.  For those of you, new to the practice, my girls are my three Labrador retrievers.  Millie is the oldest, 7 year old black lab and my first.  The twins, Soffie and Lola, are 2 year old silver labs.  And yes, Millie does have her own cat named Minxie.  They are the same age and are inseparable friends.  

 I hope this blog will be of some assistance, amusement and a source of information.  I look forward to any suggestions you may have on topics.  You can send your suggestions to info@rlthedentist.com.  I am excited about this new opportunity for information exchange.