How to pay for dental care in a small town
A small town in southwestern Louisiana is seeing a dramatic increase in dental expenses.
From April to September, the town of Spring Creek saw an increase in its dental bills of over $1,000, according to a new study.
In August, a town-based dental clinic opened.
But, this spring, there were problems with that facility.
The state Department of Health and Hospitals says Spring Creek had a backlog of over 200 patients.
Some of those patients had to be transferred to a hospital.
In September, a new facility was added to the existing clinic, but it was still in need of patients.
The dental clinic at Spring Creek has had to close.
But the town’s population is still growing.
The town’s mayor, Paul D’Oria, says that dentists are trying to fill the gap left by the closure.
He says, “We’re not a dental clinic.
We’re a dental facility.
And we’re a dentistry.
And that’s how we pay for our patients.”
The study shows that about 20% of the dentists who are in the town were already out of the business when the outbreak hit.
And, D’Osria says, that number could double by the end of the year.
That means the town is facing a major challenge.
Dental insurance isn’t as common as other medical expenses.
A few years ago, dentists were only covered for three months out of five years.
But insurance has come a long way in recent years.
Dentists have been paid for about $2,000 a month for the first year of coverage, according the Louisiana Department of Insurance.
That’s about $400 a month.
The department estimates that for an average resident, that covers about 50 visits a year.
The department says there are two types of insurance that cover dentists.
One covers the full cost of the care, the other only covers the cost of minor procedures, such as filling a cavities.
Dental insurance companies generally have a three-year grace period, meaning they can cover minor procedures that happen less often.
In Spring Creek, the dental insurance company is offering a two-year premium.
The dental clinic can only offer two-month plans, but the two-months of coverage will cover only about one-third of the costs.
The rest will be covered by the insurance company.
The dentists there are having a hard time keeping up with that requirement.
And D’Orria says that in Spring Creek the clinic has a large backlog of patients, and it’s not an easy task to keep them on the waiting list.
He says, this is something we’ve got to address now.
I’m hoping by the middle of next year, we’re going to see some improvements.
If you or someone you know needs dental care, contact:The Associated Press contributed to this report.