Time to Make the Paradigm Shift
Just recently, I had the pleasure of speaking and attending the ACE (Academy of Comprehensive Esthetics) meeting in Las Vegas. The first day, I listened to other speakers who talked about dentistry and the body as a whole. Speakers were saying that we need to change our thinking about the way we practice dentistry and begin thinking about the patient’s total health not just focus on drilling and filling or scaling teeth right away. The way we have been doing or looking at things over the years is now changing dramatically.
Dr. Bradley Bale M.D. caught everyone’s attention. Dr. Bale is a cardiologist who definitely understands the link between cardiac disease and periodontal disease. Did you know that endodontic disease and caries also trigger a significant percentage of heart attacks? The American Heart Association has research showing the direct connection between oral pathogens (associated with periodontal disease, endodontic lesions, and caries) and acute heart attacks! Almost half of heart attacks are being triggered by oral pathogens. Oral bacteria were found in every thrombus, and 30% had live oral pathogens in the clot. Dental infection and oral bacteria are associated with development of acute coronary thrombosis. Oral health and dental care should be part of heart attack prevention and more. We need to encourage greater collaboration between the medical and dental professions. In doing this paradigm shift, our dental procedures become medically necessary thus making some of our procedures now billable to our patient’s medical insurance. The use of cross coding in your dental software makes billing medical insurances much easier.
Dr. Sam Low D.D.S., a periodontist and a professor at the University of Florida, College of Dentistry, spoke abut achieving restorative/periodontal success by controlling inflammation. Dental infection and oral bacteria are associated with inflammation. We all have the bacteria in our mouth but some people are more susceptible to inflammation than others. Why is this? This is what we need to find out when reviewing our patient’s medical history rather than smoothing root surfaces because of calculus and plaque or just filling teeth. Are your patients taking medications that cause dry mouth, making them more susceptible to bacteria and decay or do they have certain diseases or conditions that cause breakdown of teeth or bone?
During my presentation, I spoke about The Missing Link to The Insurance Puzzle and tied together the use of medical and dental billing in relation to your patient’s total health. I explained how and why cross coding is needed in the dental practice and how it is beneficial to both the patient and the practice. Below are several images (images modified and courtesy of Marianne Harper-The Art of Practice Management) from my presentation at ACE this past weekend of medically billable procedures in your dental practice:
Of course before you start billing anything to medical insurance, you will need to check on your patient’s insurance eligibility and coverage. For information on cross coding and medical billing, please don’t hesitate to contact us.
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