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Coffs Coast Advocate Coverage: ADA member Dr Kate Amos highlights why you shouldn't put off dental treatment

16 November 2020
Coffs Coast Advocate

Reporter: Tim Jarrett

One in four Coffs Coast residents have put off seeing a dentist in the last 12 months due to the perceived cost according to data from NSW Council of Social Services. However, there may be signs that could be starting to change.

“In the last six months or so some people who have been putting off treatment for a long time have been coming out of the woodwork,” Dr Kate Amos said.

While unsure of their motivations, Dr Amos – a local dentist and member of the Australian Dental Association – said it could be due to the increased focus on general health during the pandemic.

Nevertheless, Dr Amos said the figures indicated there were still a lot of people putting off a trip to the dentist and this had a particular impact on oral health problems such as gum disease.

As gum disease doesn’t cause pain, it is something which may only be picked up from a detailed examination and Dr Amos likened the situation to servicing a car.

“If you haven’t serviced your car for ten years it is pretty likely there are a few things that need attention,” she said.

“Some of those patients we have seen put off treatment … the conditions they are presenting with are much more severe.”

That meant the sooner people took a trip to the dentist the better, and the less likely they were to have more serious oral health problems.

While there is a common perception that dentists are expensive, there are a number of programs which can dramatically reduce costs which Dr Amos said were actually undersubscribed.

If eligible, the Childrens Dental Benefit Schedule covers up to $1000 worth of treatment over two years and is available to children between the ages of 2 – 17.

“The sad thing is that only about 30 per cent of people who are eligible actually use those funds,” she said. “So our thinking is that it may not just be about cost.

“It’s just as much about promoting the importance of oral health while trying to reduce barriers such as pain and fear … so that people approach it like they see a doctor.”

Finding out about eligibility for the program is as easy as calling up a local dentist with your Medicare number or visiting servicesaustralia.gov.au

Read the full article online here >

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