Frequently Asked Questions
The most frequent oral cancer sites are the tongue, the floor of the mouth, and soft palate tissues in back of the tongue, lips and gums. If not diagnosed and treated in its early stages, oral cancer can spread, leading to chronic pain, loss of function, irreparable facial and oral disfigurement following surgery, and even death. Your general dentist can perform a thorough screening for oral cancer.
See your dentist immediately if you observe: any sore that persists longer than two weeks; a swelling, growth or lump anywhere in or about the mouth or neck; white or red patches in the mouth or on the lips; repeated bleeding from the mouth or throat; difficulty swallowing or persistent hoarseness.
Managed Care Answers
To purchasers primarily concerned with cost, managed dental care is likely to grow more prevalent. Short-term cost savings make it appealing, and too often quality considerations take a back seat to the bottom line emphasis. But aggressive, sophisticated marketing of direct reimbursement programs by the dental community has the potential to undercut the seemingly inevitable trend toward managed dental care. About one-third of Americans have dental insurance. While managed care will represent an ever growing portion of the insured dental market, most care will reflect a fee-for-service, market driven reality.
Because dentistry represents such a small slice of the American health care pie, it is too often mingled indiscriminately with medical care by public policy makers and independent health care analysts. Current dental care costs are 4.2 percent of U.S. health care costs compared to 6.2 percent in 1975 and 7.4 percent in 1960.
The conclusion is inescapable: managed health care too often saves money by denying patients needed and appropriate care.
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