AFFORDABILITY OF DENTAL CARE IN AUSTRALIA – A COMPARATIVE STUDY

Dental problems are quite prevalent among the Australian population which is evident from the statistics conducted in 2011 by the Australian institute of Health and welfare (AIHW) that states: 26% of adults have dental decay, 23% of the population with severe gum diseases, 15% with frequent toothache

Total Dental workforce in Australia
Australia has a total of 11,551 practicing dentists as recorded in 2010 out of which about 83% work in the private sector. This is one of the main reasons that the dental health cost is alarmingly very high in Australia. The AIHW statistics also reveals the total dental workforce: For 100,000 people, there are only about 50 dental therapists, 3 dental hygienists, 2 oral health therapists and 4 dental prosthetists. The oral hygiene workforce can be divided into general dentists and specialists. Given below is a list of the total number of specialists: Specialty Orthodontics Periodontics Prosthodontics Oral pathology Oral and maxillofacial surgery Endodontics Pediatric dentistry Dento maxillofacial radiology Other speciality Total Total 533 153 171 11 212 121 103 8 73 1386

It is evident that only 1386 dentists are specialists whilst the remaining 10165 are general dentists. Since the number of specialists is quite low, the cost of special treatments is high and unaffordable by many.

Cost Analysis
Though Australians have the best dental facilities, people tend to move off to some other countries owing to the high costs for each treatment which is already given in the previous section. The most visited countries for this purpose are India, Malaysia, Philippines & Thailand. The average cost incurred for some of the dental treatments in Australia, Thailand and Malaysia are given below:

Dental treatments Consultation Fissure sealing –per tooth Removal of tooth or parts Full crown Adhesive restoration Implant Crown- veneered

Australia $59.32 $50.19 $149.58 $1397.98 $150.8 $6000 $1391.56

Thailand $35.75 $30.56 $71.51 $643.55 $71.35 $2860 $536

Malaysia $28.62 $24.14 $109.48 $379.38 $51.73 $1724.48 $689.70

It is clear enough that the various dental treatments in Australia are provided at a very high rate. It becomes impossible for people to avail these treatments and this becomes the reason for lack of proper oral treatment in Australia.

Effect of Income on Dental Treatments
It has been observed that owing to the high dental costs, people in Australia avoid visiting a dentist. Below given is a statistics recorded in National Dental Telephone Interview Survey by AIHW in the year 2010. Annual house hold income ($) <12,000 12000-<20000 20000-<30000 30000-<40000 40000-<60000 60000-<80000 80000-<100000 100000+ Percentage of persons avoiding dental checkup 40.4 39.0 39.4 36.6 37.0 34.0 24.8 17.2

This table clearly shows that income is one of the major reasons that affect a person’s visit to a dentist. A person with low income tends to avoid making a dental checkup frequently owing to the high costs of dental treatments. From all the above information, we can thus conclude that the dental costs in Australia are comparatively very high. The treatments provided in other countries are better with affordable

costs. So it is recommended that people could look for dental hospitals in the above stated countries but after a detailed research about the particular dental specialists.

For more details visit : http://www.dentistscost.com.au