The whole dental profession could self-combust, or at the very least, lose its credibility. What? You say, I haven’t heard anything in the media. Well, in fact, you are hearing about it all day, whether you realise it or not.
Health fund and corporate ownership of dental practices has now become a thing. Big companies with big advertising budgets promoting their new state of the art clinics.
Health insurance companies now want you to visit their own clinics. Think about that for a moment, the insurance company takes a premium from you to cover you against treatment required, then, when they have to make a payout, they want you to go to one of their own practices, so they can pay themselves, as well as taking more money from you if there is a gap payment. Conflict of interest?
Now remember, these corporations exist to make money. Although you will be persuaded that they have your best interests at heart, don’t forget, these companies report to shareholders who as a distant third party, have no interest whatsoever in how your teeth are being cared for.
Yes, some of these clinics offer low cost dentistry, but how is this achieved? The reality is, these clinics work on volume and keeping expenses low, using lesser quality products and paying lower wages. They may charge a lower fee per item, but consequently, they must work faster or perform more treatment in a certain time period to keep the business profitable. Something has to give, and more often than not, it is the quality of the treatment or service received.
The word quota has never been a word used in any practice that I have worked in. What if I told you that I have heard of a corporate run clinic that tracks the dentists’ hourly billing and pays them more for the hour if they reach a certain ‘quota’. Is this the type of dentist you want to visit?
Do you really want to see any professional based on price alone? If you listen to your friendly health fund, their clinics appear the affordable choice, but what’s the cost over the long run? Are you actually getting value or are you receiving a compromise in professional experience and care?
Would you see a surgeon for a procedure based on who your health fund recommends, or do you value the opinion of your GP or a friend/relative who has had experience with this professional? Do you see your hairdresser because of their ability or because they are cheap?
I fear the day that my patients want to see me because I am cheap. Next time you need to see a dentist, think about quality, think about service and think about professional experience. Don’t base your decision on getting a bargain.
The fees we charge at our clinic reflect our professionalism, the quality of our work and the time we have for our patients. Our fees are neither cheap nor exorbitant, we charge fees that are regarded as average across Melbourne. I want my patients to see me because they trust me and know they are receiving quality treatment and care.