Avoiding the Christmas Crunch...

Avoiding the Christmas Crunch...


            A few days before Thanksgiving, I dialed up our dental laboratory to discuss some ongoing esthetic cases.  After our clinical discussion was complete, I asked the lab owner how his dentists all over the country were doing post-presidential election.  “Right now, we’re as busy as we’ve ever been.  The Christmas Crunch came early this year.  We’ll be swamped until January.”


            Right there, I made a quick note in my phone to explain to my readers about the Christmas Crunch and how to best utilize their dental benefits.  Time is running out, so here it is.


            Most dental insurance plans roll over on a calendar year.  Members have a set amount of benefits (usually between one and two thousand dollars) to use during that time frame.  If the benefits are not used in that year, poof, they go away to the tooth insurance fairy, never to be seen again.  All work must be completed and delivered during that year.  This is reason number one for the Christmas Crunch.


            Reason number two for the Christmas Crunch is simple human nature.  We all have a tendency to put off until tomorrow things that we’d rather not do today.  Dental work is one of those things.  If tooth problems are not painful or affecting our looks or our eating habits, it’s easy to put them off.  This is no secret and your dental team understands this concept well.


            Then, all of a sudden, the holidays arrive.  Halloween candy and Thanksgiving feasts and cold fronts and cookies.  Some of these trigger a twinge and remind us to get those teeth repaired.  All those events added together pale in comparison to the real motivator to utilize dental benefits...open enrollment.  Often, when it comes time to re-up and patients see what they have and will be paying in the future for dental benefits, they remember that tooth that needed fixing before year end.  Our “use it or lose it” reflex kicks in.


            One call to your dentist or to the eight hundred number on the back of your insurance card can tell you if you have any benefits remaining.  I’d probably go with your dentist, as the phone will be answered by a real, friendly person rather than a machine and phone tree. Plus, your dental office can look in your chart and help you figure out how to best utilize your remaining benefits based on your benefit plan and your individual treatment needs.  Just don’t wait too long to make this call, as there are very few dental work days left this year.  A Tuesday Christmas adds to the Crunch.


            Until next week, keep smiling.


-Please send comments to Drs. Parrish through www.ParrishDental.com.