There are five main reasons frequently seen by dental practices that prevent patients from scheduling dental treatment: health fears, cost, time, insurance benefits, and perceived need for treatment. In order to help patients in these areas, your dental team should have open and honest conversations about treatments, assist with insurance and financing for treatments and provide reminders to schedule treatments before the end of the year to make the best use of their dental benefits.
A Price Waterhouse survey revealed that 32% of consumers are planning to adjust their spending on healthcare as a result of COVID. Teledentistry, infection control measures, and isolated emergency dental care centers are ways to maintain and also enhance oral care among the public. Teledentistry refers to patient care and education using live video, transmission of recorded health information through a secure electronic communication system, remote patient monitoring (RPM), and/or mobile health (mHealth). Such means are used depending upon circumstances when all persons involved are not able to be in the same physical location.
A 2016 CDC document brings together recommendations from the CDC 2003 guidelines on infection control with tools and checklists to help dental health care personnel follow infection prevention guidelines that meet or exceed the guidelines necessary for exceptional sanitization and cleaning. Use this document to train your staff in enhanced cleaning and disinfection procedures. You can also communicate these facts with your patients to maintain their trust in your dental practice.
The price of dental care is too much for many people financially, physically, and even socially. Most dental visits to emergency rooms are infections that could have been taken care of in a dentist’s office. More people avoid dental care because of the cost than any other type of medical care. Even people with dental insurance avoid the treatment. Other reasons delaying dental treatment can also include trouble finding a dentist who takes their insurance. All these barriers are related to cost. Bacteria in the mouth does affect bacteria in the body. Research has shown that having regular oral care can reduce overall healthcare costs.
For most people, going to the dentist’s office is not their favorite activity. “If something doesn’t hurt, why bother rushing to get the dental treatment scheduled? I’ll just wait until the tooth actually hurts again before I go back to the dentist”. Tooth decay and bacteria will eventually reach a point where you have a tooth that cracks or fractures into small pieces or reaches the nerve and causes an abscess. The best action to take is to use your time wisely while you can get in to see your dentist. Have any necessary oral care procedures before more serious trouble develops.
If you have dental insurance benefits, your benefits “expire” and are reset to the next calendar year if they are unused. This is like leaving free money on the table. Most insurance plans run from December 31st/January 1st. Your dentist can help you to determine the remaining amount before using your yearly maximum. They help you schedule remaining treatments and/or preventive services before the end of your benefit year. You should maintain a schedule and have regular checkups and cleanings if you have a dental plan. Take advantage of your dental benefits if extensive treatment is needed by splitting up your treatment into different annual benefit years if possible. This can help save a substantial amount of money.
Perceived Need for Treatment
There is a substantial difference between the need for dental care as seen by a dental health professional and what is actually reported by potential dental patients. Apparently, patients are not responding to their dental health assessments but are responding to specific oral signs and symptoms. Dental pain was most strongly associated with a perceived need, followed by social effects of oral disease, presence of cavities, and presence of loose teeth.
Patients experiencing dental phobia also seem to be quite common. They are associated with poorer oral health due to not seeking dental care. This phobia ranges from moderate levels to a significantly high degree of anxiety, which can affect the health and well-being of the person. People with dental phobia have more teeth with active disease, fewer restorations, increased bleeding, and more accumulations of plaque. Dental phobics are known to postpone dental appointments, even if they are experiencing pain. As a result, these patients may require more complex and restorative care.
Strategic Practice Solutions offers modern dental technology solutions to traditional dental problems. Our goal is to provide you with opportunities to deliver more efficient, effective, and comfortable dental care through the use of advanced medical and dental technology. We take a hard look at the dental practice management technologies you are currently using. And seek opportunities to streamline your dental practice by adopting other tools. We will also work with you and your practice manager to create a plan for integration and implementation before your purchase.
Contact Strategic Practice Solutions for your dental practice challenges. We can help you grow, improve and enhance care at every level.