Tuesday

Top Challenges Faced by Dentists



You may think that the biggest challenges in dentistry are facedby patients, who must overcome fear and pain in order to ensure that theirteeth don't fall out of their heads. But the truth is that dentistry, as aprofession, is extremely challenging (due in no small part to theaforementioned pain and anxiety that patients bring to the equation). Althoughmost dentists don't face the same pressure as, say, and emergency room doctor(very few deal with life or death situations with patients), they still havethe same responsibility as any medical practitioner. They must provide the bestpossible care in a manner that is safe, expedient, and cost-effective. And theymust always strive to do no harm. That's a pretty tall order considering themyriad of things that could go wrong (and the many ways that patients damagethemselves). So if you're curious about the challenges that most dentists faceon a daily basis, here are a few of the biggies.

1.    Theunderserved masses. Most dentists will cite this as the biggest problem facingtheir field. Those that go uninsured pose a huge difficulty for dentistsbecause they eschew preventive care and only come in to an office when theiroral health becomes so bad as to be unmanageable. By then they have often doneextreme damage. And without dental insurance their options may be severelylimited. Since many of these patients are underpaid (or even poverty-stricken),dentists have to decide if they're willing to treat them, knowing full well thatthey may not receive payment. This is a terrible dilemma for any medicalprofessional who is, after all, trying to run a business in addition toproviding proper health care services.
2.   Patientanxiety. This is definitely a major issue for many dentists. Dentophobia isextremely common and while most patients experience a mild nervousness that ismore or less manageable, there are also extreme cases wherein patients maybecome hysterical to the point that they need medication just to get acleaning. This can be stressful for both patient and dentist, but luckily thereare many therapies available to combat anxiety.
3.     Repetition.Like most professions, dentistry can be repetitive. Although dentists mayoccasionally be confronted with interesting, unusual, or challenging cases, forthe most part an average day will consist of giving consultations, cleaningteeth, and filling cavities. This can become pretty dull over time.
4.     Insurance.Dealing with insurance companies can definitely be annoying for dentists andtheir staff, especially considering how many companies are out there and themany different types of coverage they offer. Of course, many will also try tofind ways not to pay, which could lead to further problems with patients.Because of this, most dental offices limit the insurance providers they'rewilling to work with and seek companies that tend to pay out regularly onclaims rather than fighting them.
5.   Changingtechnology. Dentists don't necessarily have to seek out programs for online masters healthcareadministration in order tocontinue their education, but they will certainly have to take ongoingcoursework to remain up-to-date with changing technology within the industry(equipment, software, and procedures). Not only can technology pose a majorexpense for a dental office, but it can also quickly become obsolete. Sodentists must be very selective when it comes to the tech they choose toinclude in their practice, and becoming educated is a necessary part of theprocess.

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