Across the globe, there are many barriers when it comes to accessing healthcare and dental care is no different. For many patients, there are some issues in how they can access healthcare, including visiting the dentist, which can be down to a number of different reasons.
No two dental patients are the same and whilst there are some common triggers, each patient will have their own reasons for facing hurdles when getting the dental care they need. Let’s look at some of the barriers patients face when it comes to getting dental care.
A lot of people don’t get the dental care they need simply because they have a fear of the dentist. Being scared of the dentist is very common; this fear can stem from various factors and causes and, when left untreated or unchallenged, can get worse as the patient gets older.
Fear of the dentist usually results in some kind of avoidance behaviour and dental care concerns are usually left until the issue cannot be ignored anymore, at this point, the patient will likely require quite serious treatment. If you suffer from a fear of the dentist, but would like to overcome this fear or have some oral health concerns that you’d like to address, then it might be worth considering a visit to a private dentist. This is because they are more likely to be able to dedicate more time to your care and help to ease any fears or anxieties you may have.
Access to dental care in the UK is, on the whole, relatively good. But, when it comes to waiting times for appointments, there is a huge downfall. This is largely down to the divide between public and private dental care.
Around 65% of dental practices offer private dental appointments where NHS-funded public appointments are not available, which means that more and more patients are having to go to private dentists for their treatments. In terms of cost, most private dentists don’t offer subsidised treatments, so if students, children or elderly dental patients are waiting for treatment, they could experience long waiting times with an NHS dentist. Treatments, such as orthodontics, are now not routinely offered to children and teenagers on the NHS, meaning that these patients are having to go elsewhere in Leamington Spa for Orthodontics and pay private fees. Although the treatment is done at a much quicker and often higher standard, it can be costly compared to the free treatment that used to be available with the NHS.
For many people with disabilities, visiting the dentist is often a much harder task. Accessibility to dental surgeries can often pose issues for those in wheelchairs, as dental surgeries often involve stairs and narrow hallways. For those dealing with developmental disabilities or disorders, such as autism, then the noises and sensations with dental care can be enough to stop them from making an appointment. There are dental surgeries that specialise in treating those with disabilities and who take the time out to get to know patients and get them used to the environment of a dental surgery.