A national survey conducted by Smile.com.au of more than 160,000 Australians has revealed Australians fear the cost of dental treatment more than a visit to the dentist, with 55% of respondents admitting they avoid the dentist due to the cost.
Alarmingly, more than 60% of those surveyed said they had no plans to visit the dentist in the next 12 months due to concern about the cost of treatment. Despite thism they were brave when it came to visiting the dentist, with only 5% saying fear of physical pain kept them out of the dentist's chair.
Founder of smile.com.au, Dion Kramer, said more than 500 dentists across Australia were now participating with Smile, with over 600 dentists on a waiting list to participate.
"The length of the waiting list is indicative of the growth that Smile will experience in the near future as word continues to spread and demand increases," Mr Kramer said.
"Smile continues to gradually work through applications received from dentists wishing to participate. Smile asks for patience as they work through the applications as quickly as possible."
Mr Kramer said he was optimistic the expansion of Smile would be a major step in addressing Australia's oral health crisis, which has been going from bad to worse for far too long.
"Dental plans have existed overseas for decades with over 100 million members in the United States alone, yet until now Australians have missed out on the opportunity and as a result, oral health has been neglected.
Key survey findings
- 55% of Australians avoid visiting the dentist due to cost;
- 60% have no plans to visit a dentist for at least a year;
- 78% of people with health insurance remain concerned about their dental costs; and
- 5% of Australians avoid the dentist due to fear of treatment.
"Smile is also delighted to offer a solution to participating dentists that increases their number of new patients, treatment acceptance and patient retention and thank all the participating dentists that have chosen to participate with Smile and do their bit to address this growing epidemic,"
Mr Kramer said.