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Gentle Touch Dentistry Dr. Steven Polevoy

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Does my insurance (Delta, Metlife, Cigna, etc) cover dental implants?

This is a question we hear almost daily.  While most dental insurance questions can be answered easily and quickly, this one is more complicated.

There are five separate procedures that are usually involved in a dental implant, and dental insurance companies cover each one differently.

A typical situation involves a tooth that can longer be saved. It may have had a root canal that failed, or a bad fracture, but now it is time to move on to the next step - the dental implant.

To go from your failing tooth to a finished dental implant crown, we typically do the following procedures:

-Tooth Extraction
-Bone graft to preserve the bone
-placement of the dental implant into the bone
-placement of the abutment that will hold the crown into the implant
-the crown that replaces the tooth

Each procedure has a separate insurance code, and gets covered differently.  Some are covered under BASIC coverage, some are under MAJOR, some not at all.  For the explanation of these terms, as more information about dental insurances, please see our financial coordinator's discussion here.

This is a brief overview of how dental insurance companies cover these procedures.  Usually, there are no differences between major insurance companies.

We work with Metlife PPO, Guardian PPO, Cigna PPO, United Healthcare PPO, Delta Dental PPO, and many others, and dental implant coverage depends on the individual plan, not the insurer.

1.  Tooth Extraction, codes D7140 or D7210 .
Most dental insurance plans place these procedures under the BASIC dental services, and typically cover them relatively well.  While every plan is different, most cover 60-80% of the cost of the extraction.

2.  Bone Graft, D4263.
Once the tooth is extracted, the bone quickly withers away from the site.  Bone grafting is frequently necessary to preserve the bone for the implant.  We place bone material into the extraction socket and allow it to form new bone over a period of several months.
Most dental insurance plans DO NOT COVER this procedure when done in conjunction with dental implants.

3.  Dental Implant, code D6010.
This is the placement of the actual implant into the bone.  The implant is inserted into the gum, and the bone fuses to it over a period of several months.  The gum covers the site, so that it does not look any different than before.
Some dental insurances cover dental implants under MAJOR (usually around 50%), but most do not.

4.  Custom or Prefabricated Abutment, codes D6056 or D6057.
Once the bone has fused to the implant, we place an abutment on it.  If you have had root canals and crowns in the past, this is similar to a post that will hold the crown.

5.  Abutment-retained Crown, codes D6058 or 6059.
This is an area of the highest confusion.  Some dental insurance plans refuse to cover any prosthetic procedure associated with dental implants.
Others cover it the same way as they would crowns on natural teeth.
If covered, it would be paid under MAJOR, typically at 50%.

If the tooth that's being replaced is in the visible area, most patients elect to have a temporary tooth that looks natural and cosmetic.
The temporary is called a "flipper", and is a removable tooth that slides into place.  If submitted to your dental insurance, it may be covered under MAJOR portion, and is the code D5820 or D5821.

How to get your dental insurance to pay for dental implants.

While getting full coverage is usually impossible, sometimes we can get maximum benefit by using these "tricks of the trade."

-Because the process from tooth to implant can take up to 9 months, doing it over 2 "insurance years" can double your effective coverage.  -Dental insurance plans have restrictive yearly maximums, typically $1000-2000.  Spreading the billing over two insurance years allows you to use both.
-If implants are not covered, we can sometimes ask for ALTERNATIVE BENEFIT.  Your dental insurance might not cover implants, but it has to cover something to replace the tooth.  While less than the implant coverage, it's better than nothing.
-Sometimes it might cover crowns on teeth but not implants.  Asking for alternative coverage can be a successful tactic.
-Dentists typically "bundle" their services - for example, there are multiple X-rays that are done during the process.  These X-rays are typically "bundled" with the procedure and are not charged separately.  "Unbundling" them can get you more coverage by getting some reimbursements for a part of the procedure.

Dr. Steven Polevoy is an experienced dental implant dentist in Harrison, NY.  He has been involved in implant dentistry since 1990's, training at some of the top programs for implant dentists.  Please see our website for more information.
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What to do in case of dental emergency

Dental emergencies come in many forms.

Some are truly life-threatening.
Others are very painful.
And some are just very, very inconvenient.


True life-threatening dental emergencies are rare.  The common one is a swelling due to a nerve infection.
The reason this constitutes a true emergency is because mouth or cheek swelling can travel very quickly.   It doesn't take much for the infection to begin to threaten the airway, making it difficult to breathe, or to travel to the brain, possibly causing brain damage.  Swelling is the most serious emergency we deal with, and must be addressed immediately.

If you have any of these signs:
 - swelling you can feel from outside the cheek
-  any new mass under your tongue
-  fever or chills after a recent dental treatment
contact your regular or emergency dentist immediately.  Some hospitals have emergency dentists on call or may have emergency dental clinics.  Please call the right away.

If you feel any swelling in the floor of your mouth or under your eye, you may want to head straight to the ER!


Although much rarer, bleeding is another life-threatening emergency.  Typically, it is a complication of dental surgery when the patient is taking blood thinners.  A patient on blood thinners, such as coumadin, warfarin, or even asprin is much more likely to bleed profusely.  Usually this is known in advance, and steps are taken to make sure the patient can stop bleeding in a reasonable time.
If you are still bleeding after a dental surgery, you can see the instructions we give to our patients after they have extractions or surgery done at our Westchester dentist office.

-  if you were given gauze by the dentist, apply heavy pressure to the extraction site for several hours
-  if the gauze still gets soaked after 2 hours, contact your dentist
-  if you are unable to reach your dentist, place a moistened tea bag on the extraction site and see if that stops the bleeding,
-  if you are still unable to stop the bleeding, please go the ER immediately.


The most familiar dental emergency is a toothache.
A dentist will try to determine the cause for the toothache by asking question about what causes it.
- Does it last or go away right away?
-  Does it hurt to chew?
-  Does it hurt to tap?
-  Does it hurt to hot or cold?

Your answers will guide the dentist to find out what's causing it.

For instance, a toothache that is caused by very cold liquids or foods, doesn't linger, never begins if you're not doing anything, never wakes you up at night - is typically tooth sensitivity caused by something being exposed - a root surface because of gum recession, a cracked filling, a loose crown.  It is usually not likely to get much worse, and treatment for it is relatively simple.  Sometimes it's as easy as applying a fluoride paste to the sensitive teeth, or replacing or repairing the filling or crown.

If the tooth is sensitive to HEAT, THROBS constantly, or wakes you up at night, the cause is most likely a nerve abscess.  Nerve abscess means that the nerve inside the tooth is infected, and needs to be removed.  Two ways of taking care of it are a root canal or an extraction.

Dealing with dental pain

While you are waiting to see the dentist for definitive treatment, you may need to deal with dental pain.  Unless your dentist or physician recommended something else, we suggest using over the  counter painkillers to help.  Motrin, Advil, or Alleve are all excellent painkillers that can deal with mild to moderate pain levels.  For an added pain control, you may want to consider adding one tablet of Tylenol.  Advil/Tylenol combo is usually safe and effective painkiller FOR MOST PATIENTS (CONTACT YOUR DENTIST OR PHYSICIAN FOR ADVICE SPECIFIC TO YOUR SITUATION)

Loose Crowns

Dental crowns can get loose and come off of the tooth.  Whether or not it constitutes an emergency depends on several factors.
-  Is there dental pain/toothache?
-  Is the tooth root canaled?
-  Is it a front tooth?

Typically, if a crown comes off, you do not need to worry about the exposed tooth getting infected in a couple of days.  The tooth underneath is sealed, and will be fine for a day or two until you can see your dentist.  But don't wait longer than that!   Teeth can shift very quickly, and the crown may no longer fit.  Waiting for more than a few days raises the chances your dentist may not be able to just glue it back in.

If the tooth is very sensitive, or is a very visible, you may want to try to put the crown back on yourself in the short term.  While many pharmacies sell temporary cements, they are not very user-friendly.  You may have a better luck with denture adhesive such as Fixodent.

Avulsed (Knocked Out ) Teeth

This typically happens with kids and adolescents.
If the knocked out tooth was a baby tooth, no treatment is typically needed.  We rarely place the baby teeth back in, because the prognosis is very poor.
More often, it is an adult tooth that gets knocked out.  If that happens, the tooth needs to be reimplanted.  There is an excellent step-by-step guide here (
Cracked/Broken Teeth

If the tooth was broken due to a severe trauma (ball to the face, fall, or any other injury), the tooth needs to be examined right away.  Fracture lines frequently go through the nerve, and we can sometimes take measures to prevent the nerve from getting infected.
On the other hand, if the tooth cracked under a normal stress, it frequently means it had been weak for a while, due to a large filling or a cavity.  Broken teeth can often be saved with crowns,  although if it has been broken for a while, the chances of success go down significantly.
If you are having a dental emergency, please contact your emergency dentist immediately.
If you are in the Westchester area, we offer emergency dental services.  Please call us at (914) 630 - 2833 to speak to us.
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Dental Implants vs Bridges

Anyone who has lost a tooth has faced a decision whether to replace it, and if so, with what? 
In the past, there weren’t many options.  Some would choose partial dentures , others bridges, but these days, more and more people choose #dental implants.
Most people dismiss partial #dentures out of hand.  While they are better than no #tooth at all, they never feel like they are part of your body.  There’s always some movement, they need to be taken in and out, and in general, if there are other options, they are best regarded as temporary replacements.

The choice between bridges and #dental implants is not so clear cut.  Both present advantages and disadvantages, and sometimes it is a difficult decision to make.

Dr. Steven Polevoy has helped many of his patients make this decision.  To find out what’s best for you, we would take you through this decision tree.
The simple illustration below can serve as a guide to the best decision for you.
Both dental implants and dental bridges are excellent treatment choices, but sometimes one is better than the other, in your particular circumstances.  This diagram can help you determine what the right choice is.
Of course, in real life the answers are not as clear cut as this diagram suggests.  You may have weak teeth on the sides of the gap, and little bone to support an #implant…or strong, “virgin” teeth on both sides, but poor quality bone making implants less predictable.

These situations require careful consultation with your dentist.
In Westchester, dental implant patients turn to Dr. Polevoy to help them determine the right course of action.

“I lost another tooth and needed another implant.  I’ve had one done before at a different practice.  The process was so long!  I had to go to an oral surgeon first, and back to my dentist, and back to the surgeon, and back to the dentist – it seemed they played ping-pong with my mouth for over a year!  The implant at Dr. Polevoy’s office couldn’t be easier.  Everything was done by him, and I never felt any pain.  I was ready for another year-long adventure, but to my shock, we were done in 5 months.  I couldn’t believe how simple it was!”
Peter M., White Plains, NY.
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Dr. Steven Polevoy - Top Harrison Dentist

Picking the right dentist for your family is no easy task.
There are many excellent in - how do you select the that the right match for you?

Throughout our website.,, we have told you a lot about our Harrison dental practice - about the amazing dentistry that transforms our patients' lives,  about that helps kids grow up cavity free, and about family dentistry that helps your adults maintain healthy smiles for life.

But perhaps you would like to know more about . Polevoy before you make the decision to call us.

Dr. Steven Polevoy had a keen interest in healthcare all his life.
After his pre-dental studies at Long Island University, he graduated at the top of his class from University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey (now named Rutgers School of Dental Medicine ) in 1998.  He continued his training at the very highly regarded Staten Island University Hospital.

After entering private practice, Dr. Polevoy worked in several New York dental offices, caring for patients from very diverse backgrounds.

But his dental education did not stop.  He continued to improve his skills, eager to learn all that modern dentistry has to offer - from amazingly dental anesthesia techniques to advanced restorative and surgical treatments.

In 2002, he took over a dental practice of Dr. Louis Maro, who moved out of New York and began practicing in Westchester.
The practice was located in Brook.  Because of Dr. Polevoy's chairside manner, his skills as a dentist, and his painless and comfortable dentistry, the practice grew rapidly.  Within 5 years, we were bursting at the seams of Rye Brook office, and had to find a new location.
The building at 550  Ave in Harrison was a perfect match.  Only a few miles away from Rye Brook, it was  an easy transition for most of our patients.  Easily reached from anywhere in Westchester, only a few blocks from , Plains, and ,and just an exit or two from Rochelle, , , and , it offered convenient and easy access, along with plenty of free parking - a rarity for a Westchester dental office.
The space in which the office is presenlty located used to be occupied by March of Dimes before they moved up Mamaroneck Ave to White Plains. 
Great care went into making sure the new office met Dr. Polevoy's highest standards.   Everything in the office was designed with patients' needs in mind.
A private entrance on the outside of the building allowed patients to enter and exit easily and quickly, without having to enter the main entrance of the buidling.
It also meant that we could be open as early as 7.30 am, and as late as 8 pm - helping our busy patients get their dentistry done before and after school or work.
All rooms received televisions to help patients relax, and oxide (laughing gas) was readily available.
And the office had plenty of space, ensuring that we could stay in for a very long time.
In May of 2007, the office was complete.
Since then, we've become the premier dental choice of many Lower dental patients.  Many of your neighbors from Harrison and surrounding towns call our office their dental home.
But Dr. Polevoy's pursuit of perfection did not stop.   He continues to keep up with all the latest advancements in dentistry, bringing world class dental care to Harrison.  He has received extensive training in cosmetic dentistry, adult orthodontics, dental implants, and delivering completely dentistry to the most apprehensive and fearful patients.
We welcome you to our office - and we know that when you pick Dr. Polevoy to be your family or cosmetic dentist, you will make the right choice!
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A HUGE THANKS to all of you who emailed, called, and commented on our website about Joyce's retirement. She was very touched by your kind words and well wishes.
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