What Sixty Years in Dentistry has taught us about Dental Fear Part Two

Share on:

In Part One of this article, we highlighted the fact that, in 2018, the Australian Dental Association (ADA) reported that only 60.7% of Australians attended a Dentist in the past twelve months, and only 55% completed a dental examination and professional cleaning, or active maintenance as we, at Medland Dental, know it. These rates are concerning given the direct correlation between oral health and overall health. In light of this information, and as our sixtieth birthday approaches, we reflected on what we have learnt about why people may choose to avoid the Dentist. Part one of this article discussed aspects of clinical procedures that can engender fear in patients and how we at Medland Dental help to alleviate these fears making going to the Dentist a more comfortable experience. This article addresses those non-clinical fear factors that may pose a barrier to accessing dental care. 1.Cost There is no denying that quality dental care can be expensive. Furthermore, it can seem even more costly if you cannot see, or feel, a reason for having treatment, or see and assess the differences in technical quality of procedures. The financial outlay of dental care can undoubtedly be a factor for delaying important treatment or active maintenance appointments. How do we help:
  • Much like having your car serviced every twelve months ensures your vehicle stays reliable with any potential issues identified before it leaves you stranded on the side of the road, regular active maintenance appointments can help to avoid the cost of expensive, extensive dental treatment. At Medland Dental, our thorough examinations and professional cleaning help to keep your teeth and gums healthy, as well as ensuring that any conditions are identified early and treated before they become too costly. How frequently your teeth and gums  should be examined is different depending on your specific dental conditions and may be three, four, six or twelve monthly. Your dentist will always discuss with you your individual situation and the review period to best prevent issues.
  • This honest assessment and preventive approach can assist in helping to reduce the cost of dental care in the long run. We also offer various payment options, making maintaining your dental health easier. Ask one of our Front Office Coordinators for more information.
  • At Medland Dental, our experienced clinicians take the time to explain all aspects of any conditions identified, using photographs and radiographs to show you the effects of these conditions. We also discuss at length, all treatment options available to you. Our team will be guided by you as to your choice of treatment and its timing, and will support your decision. As part of this discussion, you will receive a written treatment plan which outlines all costs, appointment lengths and Australian Dental Association items codes so you can plan your treatment budget and appointment times according to what is best for you.
  • We all hope never to need urgent, or extensive dental treatment, but it can happen, and often when you least expect it. For the times when dental treatment might ‘blow out’ your budget, you can take advantage of our various pre and post-treatment payment options to make your treatment more affordable. Our friendly Front Office Coordinators can provide you with confidential advice on these plans.
2.Value for money Dentistry these days can be very confusing. There are so many Dentists practising, and their fees, relationships with health insurers or corporates and appointments can differ significantly. The confusion over how to find a Dentist that offers excellent value for your money can be overwhelming, which may lead to putting off making an appointment. How do we help:
  • We are an independent dental practice, which means we not contracted with, or protected by a health insurance scheme or a large corporation. Our independent status means:
    • The buck stops with us. As a locally owned and independent business, we must honour our work.
    • Our clinicians can take the time they need to ensure your treatment is carried out carefully and skillfully, using the highest quality dental products. The time our clinicians take is not determined or restricted by the health insurer or corporate owner.
  • Exceptional care and skill extend beyond the treatment room, to our onsite laboratory. Our team of experienced clinicians handcraft all restorations and dental appliances onsite using only TGA approved materials. None of our work is outsourced overseas.
  • Medland Dental clinicians all graduated from Australian Universities, each receiving Honours or higher. Each clinician invests in their professional development by attending regular training throughout the year.
3.Changes in personnel: We know that our patients form a unique bond of trust with their dental practitioners and the team. It is our aim for all of our patients to feel comfortable knowing they are in the capable, comforting hands of the Medland Dental team. How can we help:
  •  Our friendly Front Office Coordinators are your first point of contact and will inform you of any changes to your dental appointment.
  • You can rest assured that during your treatment appointments you will always be looked after by your Dentist. Should your Dentist be unavailable in the event of a dental emergency, your securely stored clinical records, radiographs and photographs are accessible to all Medland Dental clinicians for review prior to your appointment.
  • Our team of Oral Hygienists work closely together to ensure that your oral health is well looked after and that you receive thorough and consistent care at each active maintenance visit.
  • With a large, female-dominated team such as ours, it is not uncommon for faces and roles to change over the years, as hours change in balancing professional and family commitments. What always remains is Medland Dental’s continued commitment to providing our patients with exceptional clinical care and service.
4.Unfamiliar terminology: We have all personally experienced the unsettling feeling of not comprehending the jargon used by a medical professional, and not understanding what this means for us and our treatment. Dental jargon can be confusing and can increase the fear factor around dental visits. How can we help: Our staff remember how foreign and complicated dental terminology sounded before we worked in this field. We take the time to:
  • Show our patients photographs and radiographs which allow our patients to see what the Dentist sees.
  • Explain to patients the nature of any conditions found and what treatment options are available, using clear wording and analogies to help our patients fully understand.
5.Fear of the unknown: Many patients over the years have told us that, after putting off dental appointments, they fear ‘getting in trouble’ and being judged on the condition of their teeth. Many patients have expressed fear at just not knowing what the Dentist might find. How we can help:
  • From the first phone call, we take the time to understand your needs and concerns. Our friendly Front Office Coordinators will inform you of what to expect at your visit, as well as give you a range of costs. Your Dentist or Oral Hygienist will review this information before your appointment and treat you with care and sensitivity to your particular concerns.
  • We believe longer appointments allow us to be more thorough, not only in our examination of your oral health but in our explanations of any conditions that we find. We believe our role is to educate our patients about their oral health and options, and to support the decisions that you make around your treatment.
  • Viewing the photographs and radiographs taken during your appointment can assist with understanding any conditions or need for specific treatments. As they say, a picture tells a thousand words.
We certainly understand that some patients may always have reservations about dental visits. It is our highest priority to take the time to listen to your concerns and treat you gently, with kindness and respect to help you to overcome your fear, in whichever form it may take. If you have any questions about how we can better help you enjoy your dental appointment, please don’t hesitate to contact one of our lovely Front Office Coordinators on 3426 5777 or email info@medlanddental.com.au. *Source: Australia’s Oral Health Tracker Technical Paper