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Dental treatment too expensive?

19 May 2011

I was just reading some scary statistics just out of the UK that showed that 1 in 5 people were delaying dental work because of the cost of dental treatment. Earlier this year, the British Dental Association found that patients were cancelling treatment and deferring appointments due to the current economic climate. And as a result there was an increasing number of patients that needed emergency treatment. While Australia is not feeling the pinch quite as much as over there, I am sure that the sentiment would still be the same.

However, dental treatment should not be viewed as a luxury like big flat screen TVs. It has been proven that looking after your oral health reduces the risk of infections. In the past, before antibiotics, dental abscesses had a more than 50% mortality rate! ( More than that though, current research is showing that conditions like heart disease, diabetes, lung disease, premature and low birth weight babies can be made worse or even caused by gum disease.

Delaying dental treatment almost always results in the work becoming more expensive as the bacteria extend deeper in the tooth or the problem becomes more complex. A small filling that is left too long can become a large filling with a need for root canal therapy and a dental crown to protect the tooth from breaking down further.

The Commonwealth Government does provide some assistance to the chronically ill in the form of the Medicare Enhanced Primary Care Program. This is the program that provide $4250 over two years and gives a reasonable rebate for some procedures but again does not cover the whole cost of dental treatment. The dental hospitals also treat patients who have a health care card but only in an emergency. Otherwise you will be placed on a waiting list based on priority.

Private health funds do help to provide some rebate for dental treatment but the amount is almost always less than the premiums paid. From a purely dental standpoint it helps but is by no means a good reason for joining a health fund.
We are not a preferred provider of any of the health funds and we don’t want to be. The reason is that they dictate the amount that is charged for dental procedures and the do not take into account the individual nature of dental treatment. It encourages treatment with high turnover and we do not believe that allows us to provide the highest quality service.
Services like providing a hygienist, equipment like the Cone Beam scanner, dental laser, Fotosan light, Velscope, or cosmetic dental services like teeth whitening, Snap-On Smile, LUMINEERS are simply not reflected in the rebates of the private health funds.

In cases where alot of work is required, we work with companies like GE Credit so that you can pay off treatment over a number of months (interest free!) or even years (with interest). A service like Invisalign can cost as little $120 a month! We believe in providing excellent value for our patients and having our patients leave happy.
If you think that you might need some treatment, take a look at our New Patient Specials and you will find great offers there. Hope to see you soon!