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Use It or Lose It; End of The Year Dental Benefits

End of The Year Dental Benefits

BenefitsDecember is here and a New Year is almost upon us! With that in mind, Dr. Griffin and his team would like to remind you to schedule your dental appointment before the end of the year. We know things get busy for most families this time of year and that can mean dental appointments get put on the back burner. But, scheduling your appointment before the end of the year might just save you a significant amount of money, especially if your dental benefits start over in January.

Did you know dental insurance is typically “use it or lose it”? If you haven’t used your yearly maximum, the remaining amount will likely not roll over into the next year. You’ll lose your opportunity to make the most of those dollars. Along with dental benefits, FSA (Flexible Spending Account) and HSA (Health Saving Account) benefits also expire at the end of the year. Also, if your insurance plan includes a deductible you’ve already met, it only makes sense to reap the full value of your insurance now, before the next plan year, when you have to meet the deductible again.

Using your dental benefits before they expire is not only good for your budget — it’s also crucial for your oral health. Twice annual visits to Dr. Griffin include a dental exam, a thorough cleaning, x-rays, and fluoride treatment. These preventive steps are vital to maintaining healthy teeth, and are usually covered 100 percent by your dental insurance. Catching signs of decay or other problems while they’re small saves you a lot of time, pain and money overall.


We only have a few short weeks to get those dental appointments scheduled before the end of the year. So, call us here in Carrollton, at 972-242-2155, to schedule your appointment and to find out how you can get the most out of your dental insurance plan. We will help you figure out how you can maximize your dental benefits and maintain your beautiful smile.


Paul A. Griffin, DDS, PASince many oral diseases cannot be detected by just a visual or physical examination, X-rays are a valuable preventive tool to help dentists detect oral health problems early. X-rays provide information about a patients’ oral health, such as early-stage cavities, gum disease, infections or some types of tumors. How often dental X-rays should be taken depends on the patient’s oral health condition, age, risk for disease and any signs and symptoms of oral disease that the patient might be experiencing.

  • Why Do I Need X-Rays?

  • Types of X-Rays

  • Why would I need more than one type of x-ray?

  • The Benefits of Dental X-Rays

Why Do I Need X-Rays?

Radiographic, or X-ray, examinations provide Dr. Griffin with an important tool that shows the condition of your teeth, its roots, jaw placement and the overall composition of your facial bones. For example, X-rays can show the condition of your teeth, their roots, jaw placement and the overall composition of your facial bones. X-rays can help your dentist determine the presence or degree of periodontal (gum) disease, abscesses and many abnormal growths, such as cysts and tumors. They can pinpoint the location of cavities and other signs of disease that may not be possible to detect through a visual examination. X-rays also can show the exact location of impacted teeth and teeth that have not yet fully developed. Finding and treating dental problems at an early stage can save time, money and unnecessary discomfort. If you have a hidden tumor, x-rays may even help save your life.

Types of X-Rays

The most common type of x-rays taken are known as bitewing x-rays. These require patients to hold or bite down on a piece of plastic with x-ray film in the center. Bitewing x-rays typically determine the presence of decay in-between teeth — one of the most common areas where decay-causing bacteria reside.

Another common dental x-ray type is the periapical x-ray, which gives Dr. Griffin an image of the entire tooth, including the roots. With periapical x-rays, Dr. Griffin can evaluate a particular tooth’s root structure and bone level and also can detect cysts and abscesses.

A panoramic x-ray is another type of x-ray Dr. Griffin may take. Just as a panoramic photograph allows you to see a broad view of a large area, such as the Grand Canyon, a panoramic x-ray allows Dr. Griffin to see the entire structure of your mouth (all of your upper and lower teeth and parts of your jaw) in a single image. A common use of a panoramic x-ray, for example, is to assess teeth development in a child or teenager, especially wisdom teeth. Also known as third molars, wisdom teeth don’t erupt until the teenage years or beyond and can cause crowding or become impacted (because the teeth don’t have enough room to grow).

Why would I need more than one type of x-ray?  

What is apparent through one type of X-ray often is not visible on another. On the other hand, you might need close-up X- rays to show a highly detailed image of a smaller area, making it easier for Dr. Griffin to see decay between your teeth. X-rays are not prescribed indiscriminately. Dr. Griffin has a need for the different information that each X-ray can provide to formulate a diagnosis.

The Benefits of Dental X-Rays

Since many diseases of the teeth and surrounding tissues cannot be seen when Dr. Griffin examines your mouth, an X-ray can help reveal:

  • Small areas of decay between the teeth or existing fillings;
  • Infections in the bone;
  • Gum disease;
  • Abscesses or cysts;
  • Developmental abnormalities;
  • Some types of tumors.

Finding and treating dental problems early can save time, money and unnecessary discomfort. X-rays can help Dr. Griffin detect problems in your mouth that otherwise would not be seen.

If you have any questions regarding X-rays or if you need an appointment with Dr. Griffin, please call us at 972-242-2155, or fell free to use the “Ask Dr. Griffin” form at the top of this page.

(Information gathered from The Academy of General Dentistry)