All new patients start with a comprehensive new patient exam where the Doctor reviews your paperwork, health information, and any prior records and conducts an examination. We do not perform any treatments at the first visit. Some patient require pre-medications prior to dental treatments and others may have usable radiographs from a previous dentist which are examples of things that preclude problems or enhance efficiency. We also typically chart your teeth and advise on the best course of treatment or preventative care.
Please be aware that the earliest we can schedule you is approximately two weeks following your insurance verification. Further treatments (including cleanings) are only scheduled after the first visit.
We make decisions on which insurance carriers to accept based on business considerations and also the effectiveness of their provider services to our office. At the present time, we are taking new patients who have PPO plans with Aetna, Carefirst, Cigna, Delta Dental, Coventry (Aetna network only), Coresource (Aetna network only), and United Concordia. We have some insurance carriers for which we may have some existing patients but we are not accepting new patients as we determine whether or not we will continue to stay in network in the future. We are also accepting patients with Carefirst Dental Network HMO dental plans. For any insurance patients, we first do an insurance verification prior to your visit. This way, we avoid unpleasant surprises and also can set up your basic plans details and benefit specifications prior to your visit, which allows us to provide treatment cost estimates to you.
Despite these challenges, we have made the effort to setup a large number of insurance plans and fee schedules in our system and we try and provide estimates that are equivalent to or close to actuals. We have accounts at many insurance carrier portals to check benefits and claim information but these are not integrated with our systems realtime and insurance companies do not proactively inform us of plans changes, limitation details, or other specifications that result in estimate versus actual discrepancies.
Per office policy, we expect payment of estimated co-pay or co-insurance at the time of service. For major procedures, we need payment in full prior to cases going to the lab or prior to the first visit in a series. We no longer process secondary insurance and we do not file to medical insurance.
While we are happy to provide some comparatives for prospective self-pay patients on basic procedures like cleanings, we prefer not to do so for other procedures until we have definitive clinical diagnosis from our Doctor as to what the patient needs. Please note that we do not accept diagnoses from other Dentists.
Please note we rarely, if ever, schedule same day service. A patient will be scheduled back for the appropriate procedure and, depending on the urgency, we try and move other non-urgent appointments to make room.
A true emergency might entail after-hours service at a surcharge. If you have a toothache, we urge you not to wait until Friday (usually our busiest day) and remind you that a weekend visit has a surcharge that is not covered by your dental insurance.
State law does not permit prescription of controlled substances without an in-person exam so even provision of a prescription would entail an exam with the emergency/off-hours visit surcharge.
We schedule patients only based on treatments diagnosed by Dr. Viertl.
If not, we will need to first schedule you for an exam. Depending on the nature of the extraction and the patient, the case may need to be referred to an Oral Surgeon. Please note that we do not do sedation dentistry (nitrous oxide). If this is a need, you will need to be referred.
There are many variables to treatment that impact cost, insurance coverage, and the appropriate form of treatment needed. Often when a patient thinks they need a filling, they actually need a root canal, an extraction, or a more major restoration, like a crown. Even though your self-diagnosis may sometimes be accurate, our experience has shown that scheduling based on self-diagnosis mostly causes confusion and erodes our efficiency and time-management.
Note that we do not do sedation dentistry and that some young patients may need to be sedated in order to successfully complete specific procedures.
While we keep room on our weekly schedule for emergency or problem-focused exams, we rarely, if ever, schedule same day service. A patient will be scheduled back for the appropriate procedure and, depending on the urgency, we try and move other non-urgent appointments to make room. If same day service is an important consideration for you, we may not be a good fit for your needs.
If a cancellation is absolutely necessary, we ask patients to extend us the courtesy of 24 hours business-day notice (by Thursday for Monday appointments). Unavoidable circumstances may warrant special consideration, but cancellations under 24 hours or missed appointments will incur a minimum fee of $35 per half hour of scheduled appointment time.