Some offices are what's called "insurance driven"- they are in network with insurance carriers; most of their patient base comes from the insurance members; to an extent, they may let insurance preferences dictate treatment.
For a dentist to be "in network" they have to agree to charge less for procedures so that the insurance company doesn't have to pay as much. In return, they get a patient base from this. The catch for the patient is that since the dentist is charging less money for procedures, they have to make up their costs elsewhere- they use amalgam instead of white resin on fillings in back teeth, they charge extra for nitrous, they hire lesser-trained staff, they charge extra for other technologies they use (using a laser on cavities, using a Velscope
to detect oral cancer, a Diagnodent
to diagnose cavities, the CEREC crown system I mentioned before, etc.) They also shorten the appointment lengths so they can pack more people into a day.
Our office believes that this compromises the care we give and we choose to not be in network with any insurance companies. This doesn't work for all people, but in reality, what the insurance company will pay for an in-network dentist vs. an out of network dentist is relatively small, especially considering what we are able to offer people at no additional cost.
I don't necessarily think every in network dentist is bad- I think they've got to look at their potential patient base- if their office is in an area where most people rely on dental insurance as their only option to get the care they need, then insurance-driven is better than nothing.
But anyway, if you're willing to pay a little more for your fillings to have them done in white, I don't see why your dentist would object. Good luck!
It's funny- now that I work at a dentist's office (I've been there just over a year now), I notice other people's teeth so much more than I did before. I was watching Oprah a few months ago and she opened her mouth really wide when she was laughing, and I could see that she had amalgam fillings in all of her molars! I was so shocked! They could be really old, but you'd think if anyone would risk the chance of mercury exposure because of how visible she is AND could definitely afford to have all her fillings re-done, it would be Oprah!!