Dental Assisting: An Overview of Dental Insurance

Creative Commons image courtesy of Flickr
Creative Commons image courtesy of Flickr

As a dental assistant, you will be working primarily with one or more dentists to perform various procedures on patients. Usually, when patients have a question about their dental insurance coverage, they will be referred to the front desk staff for clarification and explanation. Occasionally, however, you may encounter a question that you can answer on your own. Here’s a simple overview of how dental insurance works.

Annual Maximums
Most dental insurance companies impose a maximum when it comes to the amount of money they will pay each year per member. As it gets toward the second half of the year, many patients begin to approach this maximum. For example, if a patient’s maximum allowance is $1,000 and $800 has already been paid by the insurance company, then a maximum of $200 is left to apply toward other procedures. If a patient says that he or she is “close to the maximum,” this may mean that certain procedure will need to be put off until the following calendar year, or that the patient will need to speak with the person in charge of financing in your dental office.

Similarly, many companies require a member to pay a deductible, or a certain set dollar amount, prior to any benefits being paid in a particular calendar year. Sometimes this deductible is waived for preventative services, such as x-rays or cleanings. Other times, it’s not. In some dental offices, the front desk staff will include a note as to whether or not a patient’s deductible has already been met. If this is the case in your office, you might be able to let your patient know if it’s been satisfied if he or she asks.

Percentages Paid
If your patient has a PPO dental plan, the insurance company will generally cover a percentage of each procedure or treatment performed. A common breakdown is that 100 percent of preventative and diagnostic procedures are covered, 80 percent of fillings and root canals, and 50 percent of major restorative procedures like crowns and inlays. Since all insurance companies differ, however, this is definitely not the case for all patients. A question like this usually needs to be referred to the person in the office in charge of billing and insurance queries.

As a dental assistant, it’s great when you’re able to answer your patients’ questions. While having a grasp of the basic idea behind dental insurance coverage is good, it’s usually not a dental assistant’s job to understand the ins and outs of each plan. Knowing some of the terminology used can help you answer some of your patients’ general questions, and it can also allow you to understand what the front desk staff is talking about in discussions about whether a procedure is covered (or not covered).

Why Summer School Makes Sense for Adult Learners

Creative Commons image by Luke Ma
Creative Commons image by Luke Ma

If you’ve been contemplating returning to school as an adult, you might find that taking your courses in the summer is a great way to get a jump-start on your continuing education. While children and teenagers shudder at the thought of summer school, the warm months just might be the perfect time for you to pursue your dreams of higher education. Why? Take a look at these three reasons:

  • If you have kids, you’ll be “on” while they’re “off.” If you are a parent, you know that the kids take center stage during the school year. From helping with homework to shuttling them to dance practice, you’re juggling their needs with yours all week long. During the summer, there’s some down-time and you can focus on your own homework instead of quizzing your kids on spelling and walking them through their math problems.
  • Later sunsets make night classes more feasible. In the winter, you need to deal with dark evenings, early dinners and chilly temperatures. Most adults need to schedule their classes in the evening, so this can add more chaos to an already busy time. During the summer months, however, the sun sets later, so you’ll have more daylight to help you accomplish everything you need to. You also won’t have to worry about navigating potentially icy roads as you drive to and from your school.
  • Be ready to start your new career in the fall. The fall is a great time for new beginnings when it comes to starting a new job. Summer fun is winding down, the kids are going back to school and there are still a few months left before the holiday rush begins. If you can get your educational goals completed during the summertime months, you’ll be ready to spiff up your resume and find a new job before the end of the calendar year.

At the Sunrise School of Dental Assisting, we offer a summer course that begins in June and ends in September. Just think: You could start classes within the next few weeks and you could be ready to begin working in a dental office before the leaves start turning yellow!

If you think you might be interested in attending summer classes to learn how to become a dental assistant, please contact us at 877.871.6002.

Top 5 Tips for Adults Returning to School

Creative Commons Image by Meathead Movers
Creative Commons Image by Meathead Movers

Are you planning to return to school as an adult? Whether or not you pursued higher education after your high school graduation, you might be wondering how you’ll manage to juggle your obligations of work, home, marriage and maybe even children with your studies. Here are five tips for adults returning to school.

  1. Make friends with your planner. If you need to balance work, family, school and other obligations, you’re going to need to have a schedule that’s firm but flexible. Write down (in ink!) things like your work hours, the time you need to spend commuting to school or your job, the activities that you need to attend with your children, and the times that you have to be in class. Then pencil in the hours that you expect to study, the times you would like to devote to family time, and the time that you’ll spend cleaning, grocery shopping and attending to other needs. Try to stick to this schedule, but leave enough unplanned time available so you can deal with things that come up.
  2. Get your family on board. If you have a spouse and/or children, it’s important to have their support as you enter this new stage of life. If they seem resistant, explain how going back to school will positively impact both you and them. Let them know whether their responsibilities will change, and listen to their input and concerns, while making it clear that you have made this commitment and will be following through on it.
  3. Find a place to study. Too often, busy moms and dads try to get their schoolwork done at the kitchen table while helping kids with homework or doing chores like cooking dinner or loading the dishwasher. The truth is, you need to dedicate uninterrupted time to your studies in order to succeed. If you don’t have a private home office, then consider leaving your house and working from a library or coffeeshop.
  4. Keep your goals in mind. Remember that the going will probably get tough at some point. Instead of being tempted to throw in the towel, take a good look at your financial and personal goals to help you stay motivated. Prepare yourself beforehand for the stress that is almost inevitable to occur; it’s temporary, and once you get more used to your new routine, it will get easier.
  5. Take care of yourself. Don’t let your self-care go by the wayside. Get enough sleep and be sure that you’re eating well. Don’t skip meals or grab fast food as a matter of habit; make up some salads or cut up fruit during a quiet moment so you can help yourself when you get hungry. If you’re having trouble with your classes, seek out your instructor for help. Take care of yourself the way you would urge your adult child to take care of him- or herself!

If you are ready to embark on a new stage of life, consider learning how to become a dental assistant by enrolling in Sunrise Dental Assisting School. Our programs are short in duration and will prepare you for a fulfilling and lucrative career as a dental assistant. Call today to find out when our next session starts!

Dental Assisting: What’s Your Career Outlook?

193475106_38440c2df8_zBefore beginning training for a new career, it’s vital that you do some research to find out what the outlook is. You’ll want to know how easy (or difficult) it will likely be for you to succeed, how many people of your chosen career are in any given place, and how likely it is that you’ll be able to make a living. While the specifics vary widely from area to area, a good place to start your search is at the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) website.

Here is some information, in a nutshell, about the future of dental assisting. Keep in mind that some of the information will be different depending on where you live.

Where Will You Work?

The vast majority of dental assistants work in private dental offices. This can be the office of a family dentist or a specialist, such as an orthodontist, endodontist or periodontist. The offices might be run by one or more dentists, and may include dental clinics. Other potential places to work as a dental assistant include outpatient care centers, physicians’ offices, general hospitals and for insurance companies.

Dental Assistant in the Carolinas

The Sunrise School of Dental Assisting is located in North Carolina and South Carolina. This means that most of our students end up employed in one of these two states, though of course you can take your education with you anywhere. According to the BLS, there are more dental assistants in North Carolina than in South Carolina, overall. That being said, there are more assistants in busier metro areas than in smaller towns, but since most towns and cities do have dental offices, you could certainly get a job in your local area.

What About the Rest of the States?

The good news about learning a trade like dental assisting is that there is a need for it all over the country! In today’s mobile society, there’s a good chance that you may move to a different state. The states with the most dental assistants are California, Texas, New York, Florida and Illinois. The states with the fewest dental assistants are the Dakotas, Montana, Wyoming, Maine, West Virginia, Rhode Island and Alaska. Remember, though, that the bigger cities in these states still employ a good number of allied health professionals, including dental assistants.

With a solid number of dental assistants being needed in the Carolinas and all over the country, now is a great time to think about enrolling in classes at the Sunrise School of Dental Assisting. Please contact us to find out more about our courses and when the next one starts.


Top Tips for Your Dental Assistant Job Search

CC Image Kate Hiscock
CC Image Kate Hiscock

Once you are in the home stretch of finishing your dental assisting program, the time will come for you to begin looking for a dental assistant position. Many students are nervous at this point, but you can feel confident that you will be well-prepared for any dental assisting job that you are hired for. Here are some tips to help you with your search and your interviews.

Update Your Resume

Of course, you will want to be sure that your educational overview is updated; dentists will want to see that you have completed a dental assisting program, and the Sunrise School of Dental Assisting is a well-respected school here in the Carolinas. In addition, comb through your resume to be sure that your relevant skills are highlighted in your previous positions.

For example, if you previously worked in a restaurant, you might think that this is irrelevant to dental assisting, but working and succeeding in a fast-paced environment is often an advantage in a busy dental office. If you were a hairdresser, your gift of relating to people and making them feel comfortable is definitely relevant, so go ahead and focus on that.

While you’re updating your resume, be sure to update your profiles on business networking sites such as LinkedIn.

Network, Network, Network

When you are searching for a job, it’s helpful to talk to anyone and everyone. When you meet someone new, don’t feel shy about mentioning that you just graduated from the Sunrise School and that you are looking for a job as a dental assistant. Everyone goes to the dentist twice per year, so you just might run into someone who heard from his or her dentist last week that the office is looking for someone!

Use the Internet to your advantage, too. In addition to online job searches, you can let your acquaintances know that you’re on the hunt for a dental assisting position by posting on your Facebook or Twitter account. Put up a photo of your certificate on Instagram, or add a signature to the bottom of your emails that says you’re interested in hearing about any opportunities as a dental assistant.

Be Prepared at Your Interviews

Once you start getting some interviews, it’s important to be prepared. First, know ahead of time what type of services the dentist you are interviewing with provides. With the Internet at our fingertips, there’s no excuse for not knowing whether you’re interviewing with a general dentist, an endodontist or a children’s dentist. This will help you to answer questions as well as to ask questions that are relevant to the office.

Also, remember that as a dental assistant, your personality is a big part of your future success. Dental assistants need to be friendly and put people at ease, so it’s important to let that part of your personality shine through during your interview, even if you’re nervous. Being well-prepared can help alleviate some of your natural jitters.

At the Sunrise School of Dental Assisting, we give you the tools you need to succeed as a dental assistant. You can feel confident that you will be well-prepared for your new career and that you will be well-suited for your new position.

Hot Healthcare Jobs in the 21st Century

???????The healthcare industry is booming, and while technological careers can be outsourced or eliminated, people will always need healthcare providers. If you have been looking for a new career that offers security and the potential for growth, choosing one of the allied health fields might be just what you’re searching for. Take a look at this list of healthcare careers that are worth considering.

Medical Assistants
Do you enjoy helping people in a fast-paced atmosphere? Medical assistants help doctors by taking vital signs, going over a patient’s health history and take vital signs. They also assist with charting and various administrative tasks. You can get your certification through a medical assisting program; some doctors may prefer to train their own medical assistants.

Home Health Aides
Another job with good growth potential is that of a home health aide. Duties include taking vital signs, helping patients with tasks around the house, changing their sheets, assisting with grocery shopping or other errands and doing light housekeeping. Clients might range from postpartum mothers to the elderly or people who have had recent surgery. A nurses’ aide certification allows you to work as a home health aide in many areas.

Dental Hygienists
A dental hygienist cleans teeth and looks for evidence of gum disease. They work in dental offices, schools, health departments and other facilities. Dental hygiene is a fast-growing field. Candidates need to have an associate’s degree in dental hygiene. Some employers prefer a bachelor’s degree, but this is uncommon.

Dental Assistants
Dental assistants work with dentists in private offices, hospitals, schools and health departments. They work hand-in-hand with the dentist to perform various types of treatment. They also take dental x-rays, explain procedures to patients and, in some offices, perform administrative duties like making appointments or sending bills to insurance companies. In the last decade, dental assisting careers grew by 37%.

The Sunrise School of Dental Assisting offers a 13-week program that can get you started on your dental assisting career in a matter of months. Please call us to learn more about our program and to find out when the next session starts.

Top 4 Adult Education Options in Greensboro, NC

804190044_c6624295f6_zIf you’re looking for a way to increase your income and your job satisfaction, going back to school is a good choice for you. You can improve your current skills and earn the promotion that you’ve been looking for, or you can train for a whole new career that will take you to where you want to go in life. Luckily for you, the Greensboro, NC area offers a number of schools where a busy, working adult can find a program and schedule that they like. Take a look at some of the adult education options in Greensboro, NC.

#1 Sunrise School of Dental Assisting
At the Sunrise School of Dental Assisting, your instructors know that you don’t have time to waste. That’s why you can complete your training to become a clinical dental assistant in just 13 weeks. What’s more, the school offers flexible scheduling that allows you to take classes during the nights and weekends, so you don’t have to quit your day job in the meantime. At Sunrise, you’ll receive training for a rewarding career that’s always in demand, as well as job placement assistance to help you secure the job of your dreams. You may even qualify for tuition assistance to help you pay for it all.

#2 Guilford Technical Community College
At Guilford Technical Community College, you can start learning where ever you need to. Do you need a GED or a high school diploma before you can start pursuing your educational goals? You can get those at Guilford, then move on to the degree program of your choice. At Guilford, you can earn certificates, diplomas, and degrees in a wide variety of industries. Want to break into the medical field? Take the Certified Nurse Assistant courses, or train to be an EMT. More interested in technology? Train for a career in civil engineering or mechatronics. With Guilford, you can take your career training in almost any direction.

#3 Priority Nursing College/Medical Assisting
If you want to become a medical assistant, why not choose a college that specializes in just that? At Priority, you can earn your medical assisting degree in only 9 months. That means that in less than a year, you’ll be on your way to a more fulfilling and rewarding job. Not only will you receive instruction in medical assisting, you’ll also receive a chance to work in a real medical facility and preparation for the application and interview process so that you’ll be ready to begin applying for jobs.

#4 ECPI University
The Greensboro branch of EPCI University is conveniently located near the Piedmont Triad International Airport. This branch offers a range of degree programs. Business administration, medical assisting, nursing, network security, and electronics engineering programs are all within your grasp at ECPI. The university offers tutoring, internships, and career counseling to help its students succeed.

If you’ve been hesitating about going back to school, don’t wait any longer. Look into your options in Greensboro, NC right away, and choose the program that’s right for you.

How to Pay for Dental Assisting School

CC image: Steven Depolo
CC image: Steven Depolo

The choice to go back to school is a financial decision for most people. You are probably looking forward to the potential to make more money in the future, but you might also be concerned with how you’ll pay for it. Fortunately, the Sunrise School of Dental Assisting offers several options for payment, because we would like our program to be affordable for anyone who is interested in expanding his or her career choices.

Pay Upfront
If you have the funds available to pay for dental assisting school upfront, then we encourage you to do so! We periodically offer special incentives and discounts for those paying the whole tuition at once, so be sure to call and ask.

Split It Up
We offer our own financing in that you can split your tuition into two or more payments. One option is to pay half of the fees at the time of enrollment and the other half before the midterm exam. Another is to have a portion of your tuition automatically withdrawn from your checking account over four months, on either a monthly or bi-weekly basis. This spreads out the cost over several months and allows you to budget for it.

Medical Loan
Although Federal funds are not available to pay for dental assisting school, you can take out a medical loan through Care Credit. If you pay off the loan within 18 months, you don’t even pay any interest. One benefit of this program is that you can also use your Care Credit account to pay for certain healthcare services, including eye care, dental services and even veterinary care for your pet. (Note that you need to qualify for an account through Care Credit. You’ll usually receive an answer within a few minutes of applying.)

Tuition Assistance
You might qualify for tuition assistance through the JobLink Career Center if you have been unemployed. Also, if you are the spouse of a military member, you may qualify for tuition funds through MyCAA. Take a look into these programs if you need help paying for dental assisting school.

With several options available, we hope that you will find one that works for your particular circumstances! This will allow you to embark on a new and fulfilling career as a dental assistant, making you more attractive to employers and putting you on the road toward increasing your income. Please call us with any questions you may have.

Adult Education Programs: Should You Go Back to School?

Computer Class: Cheerful Adult Student in ClassroomWhen you graduated from high school, or perhaps after you got your associate’s or bachelor’s degree, you might have thought you were done with classrooms and assignments. With some of today’s college graduates having a very hard time finding a job, however, now might be the time to look into adult education programs that can train you for a career. Are you wondering whether going back to school is the right answer for you? Take a look at this list of reasons why it might be a very good idea:

Gain a Competitive Edge
Some jobs allow you to be trained at the workplace. While these are great opportunities, employers are generally looking for someone who has all of the necessary training required. An adult education program can teach you what you need to know for a specific career, making you a more competitive candidate for whatever job you are applying for.

Make More Money
When you start a new career, you often begin at the bottom of the pay scale for that particular job. With a certificate or degree, however, you may be able to start a few rings up the ladder. Even if it doesn’t seem like a big difference in the beginning, starting at a higher salary adds up over time.

Boost Your Networking Power
While it shouldn’t be your sole reason for going back to school as an adult, taking classes and pursuing certification programs allows you to meet others in the same boat. These will be your colleagues and contemporaries once you graduate and begin working in your new career. Even if you don’t actually work together, fellow students are people to bounce ideas off of and meet for coffee to talk shop occasionally.

Find Balance
If you are currently working a job that you don’t love, or perhaps leaving the nest after sending your little ones off to school for the first time, looking into adult education programs allows you to stretch your brain and pursue something you enjoy. This can be fulfilling when other parts of your life might seem temporarily stagnant.

If you are ready to look into adult education programs, consider the dental assisting program at the Sunrise School of Dental Assisting. All of these benefits, and more, can be yours! Call us today to find out more about our upcoming programs.

Choosing a Dental Assisting Program

sunrise dental assistingSo you’ve decided to further your education and are planning to become a dental assistant. Congratulations! Dental assisting is a career that will allow you flexibility, creativity, responsibility and the chance to earn a competitive income. If you are looking for a dental assisting program, here are some characteristics to look for:

  • Experienced owners and instructors. While anyone can conceivably open a dental assisting school, you should look for one that is owned and operated by a dentist or other dental professional with years of experience. It’s best if the individual’s experience in the dental field is recent, as that way you’ll be getting the most up-to-date information and hands-on training possible.
  • Convenient location. Since you’ll be commuting to your dental assisting program, it’s important that the program is located convenient to your home. This is less important if the program is very short-term and more important if it is to last for many weeks or months.
  • Appropriate length of program. There is a wide range of time allotted toward various dental assisting programs. You might be able to assist after only a few weeks, but a dental office might be hesitant to hire someone without a dental x-ray certification and adequate time learning four-handed dentistry. You might also find programs that last a year or two, which gives you a lot of experience but will cost you a lot of time and money.
  • Payment plans. You might not be able to spend several thousand dollars (or more) at one time. Some dental assisting schools allow you to spread out your payments over time. Others might participate in programs that will give you longer to pay the tuition or might even cover some or all of the education. Inquire with any program you are considering to find out what your options are.

You’ll find that at Sunrise School of Dental Assisting, you’ll receive a lot of hands-on practice, including practice taking dental x-rays. We have several locations in both North and South Carolina, and our program is 13 weeks long. This is long enough to learn what you need to know to become a successful dental assistant, but not so long that you will be dedicating many months or even years toward learning your new career. We offer various payment plans, including monthly billing, and we participate in Care Credit and other programs that might be able to help you pay your tuition.

Please give us a call to find out more about our dental assisting programs and learn a trade that can change your professional life!