May 23rd, 2013
“The purpose of all war is peace.” – Saint Augustine
Fire truck sirens, baton twirlers, marching bands covering patriotic tunes, colorful floats, costumes, and millions of red, white, and blue American flags being waved in the air on a beautiful day in late May, that is what Memorial Day is all about. It is a federal holiday celebrated with town parades, remembrance, and a sense of unity and community togetherness.
Our team at Thomas W. Watkins, DDS wants to take this time to wish you and your family a happy Memorial Day, as well as pause for a moment to reflect on what this holiday means and how it has changed over time. No, this is not a history lesson, but just a couple of thoughts and observances for you to take with you on your way to the next barbecue.
On the last Monday in May, America observes Memorial Day as a time to remember and celebrate the men and women who have lost their lives while serving our country in the Armed Forces. The holiday originated after the Civil War; at that time it was known as Decoration Day. While holidays like Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter remain the same from year to year, Memorial Day has changed over time, and in the 21st century we observe a far different holiday than what Americans did after the Civil War, or even the World Wars.
While many people place flags at cemeteries and visit national memorials in order to honor those who have passed away serving the country, Memorial Day is also a time for family barbecues, pool parties, trips to the beach, blockbuster movies, long weekend getaways, and fireworks. In America, Memorial Day has come to represent the unofficial start of the summer – a long, sunny, warm weekend devoted to family togetherness, outdoor events, and community.
It is time to load up the potato salad and the apple pie and head over to the neighbor’s house for their annual barbecue. And yes, contrary to popular belief, dentists do eat sweets, especially homemade apple pie! Everything in moderation, of course.
So whether you’re in the Bloomington, IN area or beyond- Happy Memorial Day to you and yours from Dr. Thomas Watkins!
May 16th, 2013
Emergency rooms are for emergencies, so before you head to the hospital because of a dental problem, you need to ask yourself this question: Is what you’re experiencing really a medical emergency? While emergency room visits for dental related issues are on the rise across the United States , they’re not necessarily the best solution for every problem. Many people don’t know about emergency dental care services, many of which are available 24/7, and so they go to the ER.
These types of statistics are common across the country. However, despite the numbers, not all dental problems are created equal. If you’ve experienced some type of injury to your mouth, jaw, or face, then an ER visit is a good idea, but if you’re suffering from a toothache, cavity, or broken crown or veneer, then the ER is not the best place to handle the situation. If you’re having a dental emergency, then seeking emergency dental care should be your course of action.
Seeking Long-Term Solutions
The ER doesn’t provide a long-term solution to your dental issue; it only gives you temporary relief. There’s a chance they will simply hand you a prescription for pain medication and tell you to call your dentist in the morning. In the end, you’re going to be saddled with two medical bills, and nobody wants that. Even if the ER outfits you with a temporary crown or filling, you’re still going to have to make a follow-up appointment our office.
There are numerous homemade remedies that can sooth tooth and gum pain. However, if you’re experiencing a dental emergency, the ER is not the place to go. The specialized emergency team at Thomas W. Watkins, DDS is available to take care of every dental problem you may have. In the case of a dental emergency, don’t wait any longer than necessary. Feel free to contact our Bloomington, IN office at any time, day or night.
May 9th, 2013
Unless you work for an insurance company, you probably do not spend a lot of your time studying all the terminology that dental insurance companies use to describe the treatments and services they cover. If it seems pretty confusing, here are some of the most commonly used dental insurance terms and what they mean.
A Basic Glossary
Annual Maximum–The maximum amount your policy will pay per year for dental care at Thomas W. Watkins, DDS. It is often divided into costs per individual, and (if you are on a family plan) per family
Co-payment– An amount the patient pays at the time of service before receiving care, and before the insurance pays for any portion of the care
Covered Services– A list of all the treatments, services, and procedures the insurance policy will cover under your contract
Deductible– A dollar amount that you must pay out of pocket each year before the insurance company will pay for any treatments or procedures
Diagnostic/Preventive Services– A category of treatments or procedures that most insurance will cover before the deductible which may include services like routine checkups with Dr. Thomas Watkins, cleanings, X-rays, fluoride treatments, and evaluations
In-Network and Out-of-Network– A list of providers that are part of an insurance company’s “network”
- If you visit in-network providers, the insurance company will typically cover a larger portion of the cost of the care you receive. If you visit someone who is not part of the network, known as an out-of-network provider, the insurance company may pay for a portion of the care, but you will pay a significantly larger share from your own pocket.
Lifetime Maximum– The maximum amount that a dental insurance plan will pay toward dental care for an individual or family (if you have an applicable family plan)
- This is not a per-year maximum, but rather a maximum that can be paid over the entire life of the patient.
Limitations/Exclusions– A list of all the procedures a dental insurance policy does not cover
- Coverage may limit the timing or frequency of a specific treatment or procedure (only covering a certain number within a calendar year), or may exclude some treatments entirely. Knowing the limitations and exclusions of a policy is very important.
Member/Insured/Covered Person/Beneficiary/Enrollee– Someone who is eligible to receive benefits under a dental insurance plan
Provider– Dr. Thomas Watkins or other oral health specialist who provides treatment
Waiting Period– A specified amount of time that the patient must be enrolled with an insurance plan before it will pay for certain treatments; waiting periods may be waived if you were previously enrolled in another dental insurance plan with a different carrier
There are many different insurance options available, so you need to find out exactly what your insurance covers. It’s important to review your plan with a qualified insurance specialist. Don’t be afraid to ask questions about the policy so you can understand it fully and be confident that you know everything your policy covers the next time you come in for treatment at our Bloomington, IN office.
May 2nd, 2013
Did you know the month of May is designated National Physical Fitness and Sports Month? After all, there isn’t a better time to celebrate physical activity as when the warm weather and sunshine makes its way back into our lives!
Now that the flowers are in bloom and the weather has warmed up, it’s easier to go outside and soak up the sun. After spending the winter working out in gyms or doing crunches at home, exercising outdoors can be a lot more enjoyable as well. Whether you enjoy hikes, jogging, or biking, spring gives us a chance to smell the grass, take in the rays, and enjoy the blue sky—all senses that we just can’t duplicate at the gym.
If jogging or biking isn’t your cup of tea, we encourage you to try a sport! Sports have some amazing qualities that we often overlook. Team sports like baseball and soccer, and individual sports like golf and tennis can improve your coordination and agility, in addition to building determination, confidence, drive, hard-work, pride, leadership, and time management.
At Thomas W. Watkins, DDS, we always encourage our patients to stay fit by exercising or participating in sports. However, we want to remind you to always wear a mouthguard or other form of facial protection when playing sports. To learn more about how often your child should exercise, or to ask us about obtaining a mouthguard, please give us a call!