In-Office Membership vs. Dental Insurance

At Smith Dentalworks, we want to help you improve and maintain your oral health. We accept a variety of payment methods and are happy to assist you in determining the best way to pay for your treatment. While we are an insurance-friendly practice, we also accept patients who do not have insurance. To help reduce the cost of your care, we offer an in-office membership plan. This plan has many benefits compared to dental insurance and may be a better choice for your needs.

How Dental Insurance Works

When you have dental insurance, you pay a monthly premium for access to coverage. The plan will typically pay for basic preventive treatment and a portion of other necessary care. This will often be subject to limitations and restrictions. Additionally, there is usually a waiting period before you can take advantage of benefits for major procedures and there are limits for how much the insurance company will pay. This may include a yearly maximum and caps on lifetime benefits per tooth.

How Our In-Office Plan Works

When you sign up for our membership plan, you pay $250/year per adult (15 years and older) or $200/year per child (14 years and under).

The plan includes the following each year:

  • Two professional cleanings
  • Two dental exams
  • Necessary X-rays
  • One emergency exam if needed
  • Two fluoride treatments for patients who are 14 years old or younger

Additionally, you get 20% off all in-office procedures.

Benefits of Membership vs. Dental Insurance

Some of the benefits of our membership plan compared to insurance:

Easy to Understand What’s Included

With dental insurance, it can be difficult to determine what is and is not covered. This can be frustrating if you are trying to plan your treatments. Our membership plan includes the preventive care mentioned above, plus a 20% discount for any care you receive in our office. This is the same for all types of procedures, so it’s easy to understand.

No Waiting Period

Because insurance often includes a waiting period, you may need to wait to get coverage for necessary treatments. This can have a negative impact on your oral health and addressing a problem sooner rather than later is usually the best option to avoid additional damage. Our membership plan does not have a waiting period, so you can start taking advantage of the benefits right away.

No Annual Maximum

Certain restorative procedures can exceed your yearly maximum for dental insurance. This leaves you responsible for 100% of the remaining cost. This is in addition to your deductible for any portion of the treatment that your insurance does cover. An in-office membership with Smith Dentalworks doesn’t have a maximum.

No Exclusions for Pre-Existing Conditions

Most dental insurance plans include exclusions for pre-existing conditions. This means that if you were missing a tooth when you signed up, you will not be able to take advantage of coverage for any restorations. In some cases, this also applies to teeth lost during the waiting period. When you sign up for our in-office membership plan, there are no pre-existing condition exclusions to worry about.

Covers Cosmetic Dentistry

It is rare for dental insurance to cover cosmetic dentistry unless it is related to necessary restorative treatment. The 20% discount included with our membership applies to all types of procedures, including cosmetic dentistry. If you’re interested in teeth whitening, veneers, or any other option to improve the way your smile looks, our plan can help make the cost more manageable.

Work Directly With Your Dentist

When you use dental insurance to pay for treatment, you may need to work with both your dentist and the insurance company to determine what is and is not covered. If you have questions, it may be difficult to determine who can help you find the answers. We are always happy to help whether you use insurance or our membership, but in the case of our in-office plan, there’s no need to work with a third party. All considerations related to your treatment and payment can be handled in our office.

Sign Up for Our In-Office Membership

If you are looking for a way to reduce the cost of your dental care without insurance, you should consider our in-office plan. The benefits are easy to understand and there are no maximum, pre-existing condition exclusions, or pre-authorization requirements.

You can sign up online or call our office for more information about how our plan is a great alternative to dental insurance and if it would be a good option for you.


What Bruxism Is and How We Treat It

Bruxism is when you clench or grind your teeth unconsciously. Occasional grinding is common and not usually a cause for concern, but if your bruxism is more severe it can cause serious damage. If you tend to grind your teeth at night, this can also interrupt your sleep and impact your health.

More information about bruxism and possible treatments:

Types of Bruxism

There are two main varieties of teeth grinding: awake and sleep bruxism. Both of these can be caused by stress. Grinding your teeth during the day can also be a habit when you are concentrating. Nighttime bruxism often occurs with other sleep disorders such as sleep apnea. Sleep-related bruxism may also have a genetic link.

How to Tell If You Grind Your Teeth

Many people who grind their teeth while sleeping do not know that they are doing so until a loved one hears the noise at night or a dentist notices signs of damage. However, there are some warning signs you can watch for. If you usually wake up with jaw pain or have a constant, dull headache, it may be due to teeth grinding. A dentist can confirm whether or not there are any visible signs.

The Effects of Teeth Grinding

One of the acute effects of grinding or clenching your teeth is tooth pain. This can start minor and progress to a severe toothache if left untreated. You may also notice increased tooth sensitivity, pain in your jaw muscles and temporomandibular joint (TMJ), and even fracturing of teeth. Additionally, bruxism can reduce the longevity of any crowns, bridges, or veneers.

In the long term, persistent grinding can shorten your teeth. This is both a cosmetic and functional issue. Severe wear can deteriorate the structure of your teeth and even cause tooth loss or resorption of the bones in your jaw over time. This condition also disrupts your sleep which can lead to fatigue, lower immunity, and other health issues.

Treatment Options

Awake Bruxism

One of the most effective treatments for daytime teeth grinding is reducing your stress level. You can ask your doctor or dentist for recommendations if you aren’t sure where to start. Avoiding caffeine and alcohol is also beneficial. You should also try to be aware of when you grind your teeth and, if you catch yourself doing so, place your tongue between your teeth to relax your jaw and stop the clenching.

Sleep Bruxism

Reducing stress and avoiding caffeine/alcohol consumption are also helpful for nighttime teeth clenching. In this case, a mouth guard is a good option to minimize the amount of damage that can occur. The best choice is to be fitted by a dentist for a custom occlusal night guard. The options you can find in your local drug store may worsen TMJ problems.

Struggling with Teeth Grinding?

If you are having problems with grinding or clenching your teeth, Smith Dentalworks can help. We can discuss your options with you to find treatment solutions that protect your teeth. We want you to have a beautiful, healthy smile and are here to guide you through the process of improving and maintaining your oral health.

If you have daytime or nighttime bruxism, contact us today to schedule an appointment.