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If you’ve ever struggled to afford dental care, welcome to the real world.

Most Australians at some point can afford basic treatments like a prophylaxis clean, a filling or two, and maybe even a bit of scaling and root planing, but the cost of oral care steeply increases as dental procedures become more complex.

Which isn’t hard, since statistically most Aussies are pretty lax with making regular 6-monthly appointments.

Root canals, bridges, crowns and TMJ surgeries can cost thousands; of which health insurance will cover only a portion.

If you’re in need of veneers, either porcelain or composite, or there’s some other cosmetic dental treatment that will literally change your life, you best be ready to pony up because your health cover won’t cover it.

Not one bit of it.

What exactly is “luxury dentistry” when the expense all dental makes it a luxury for most of our apparently first world nation?

Most patients experience some level of dental anxiety, and many clinics have taken to swapping the traditional dentist’s chair for a massage chair, or offering massages to patients during their treatment. Creating a spa-like atmosphere is a growing expectation and dental providers are experiencing firsthand how these simple spa services encourage patients to return regularly for check-ups. It’s a win-win for patient and provider: keeping regular appointments lessens the possibility of later dental complications.

Once the reserve of paediatric dentistry, the welcome distraction of a TV screen reduces nervousness in adults as well. Many now offer individual screens so patients can choose videos of their liking. This small comfort is a huge influence in the difference between a stressful examination or treatment, and a more comfortable one.

Dentists are increasingly aware of the value of quality of service, and the result is the emergence of luxury dental care.

From big screen TVs, built-in tropical aquaria and deep tissue massage chairs, the dental experience has come a long way from the dental offices of the past.

There are dental clinics now that offer clients a ‘spa’ treatment as part of their visit, with massage figuring prominently in the mix.

Increased competition in the healthcare industry has spurred providers to aim for dental visits that are more convenient and more comfortable. Online appointment scheduling are coupled with luxury amenities not previously available. There is an increasing inference from patients that quality dental care extends beyond professional expertise with its focus on ambience.

Luxury Dentistry vs Affordable Dental: Can One Clinic Include Both Aspects?

Gone are the days of being on hold while the receptionist checks the appointment book. Dental offices now offer convenient online scheduling so patients can make their own appointments when it occurs to them during their busy schedule. Practitioners offer virtual consultations too; patients can upload a photo, submit details about the symptoms or type of work they’d like done. Their clinician then diagnoses, plans and sends their personalised treatment options.
Holistic dentistry services are on the increase. Patients are treated not simply as a set of teeth but in combination with their body as a whole. Allergies, chemical sensitivities and autoimmune deficiencies are reason some require this approach. Holistic dentistry also includes the safe removal of mercury fillings, and treatment for bite realignment. Neck pain, a persistently tender jaw, severe headaches and bruxism can cause a range of dental and secondary issues, and dramatically impact facial aesthetic.

Patients who have suffered misalignment for many years are often interested in the non-surgical treatment of Face Lift Dentistry. It’s an exclusive treatment that reverses the appearance of aging and replaces old fillings, bridges and crowns with healthy biologically matching restorations created specifically for the bite and the shape of the patient’s face.

Dentists have always endeavoured to make dental visits convenient, comfortable and painless for all their patients. It’s imperative from the perspective of both patient and practitioner because distress is equally difficult to deal with; treating a frightened patient makes an intricate procedure even harder. The industry is very aware of dental anxiety, the usefulness of holistic approaches, and the tight schedules of busy professionals. Their knowledge and training in oral health is becoming vastly expanded with the tailoring of extra services that put a smile on their patients and strengthens rapport.

All this gives rise to the luxury vs necessity debate in dental care.

Is it essential? Or a luxury for those privileged enough to afford it?

Globally, there’s much talk about why it is that dental care is too costly for the average person to regularly afford.
Some experts allege healthcare providers are to blame but it stands to reason the dental industry has some of the most skilled and highly trained health professionals and any service by these experts is going to be pricey.
Still, other experts tell a different story about the role of health insurance companies in the cost of dental care.

When your insurance won’t pay for the dental procedures you need, is it suggesting dental care isn’t necessary?

Almost 50% of the population over the age of 30 suffer some form of gum disease. Just because it’s common, doesn’t mean it isn’t harmful. Without treatment, periodontal disease is associated with poor cardiovascular health, and the neurodegenerative diseases of Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s.

Oral health isn’t a luxury. It’s essential. It’s essential, it’s necessary and it’s important because not having a healthy body is nothing to smile about.

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