05.Finding a good dentist
- It's better to return to the same dentist rather than move around, so check that the practice is conveniently located.
- Ring around for quotes and compare these with the average prices for dental services. Ask for itemised prices for an examination, a clean (removal of plaque), or a scale and clean (removal of plaque and calculus), a fluoride treatment and X-rays.
- Ask how much a regular checkup will cost. Some practices charge more for the second visit after offering specials for new patients.
- Check your dentist is registered with the Dental Board.
What to look for
- Do they clearly communicate any problems and possible treatment plans with you? Do they provide you with options and inform you of the risks involved?
- Do they answer your questions?
- Do they ensure that you agree to all fees and treatment before starting?
- Don’t let a dentist pressure you into work on the spot. If he or she recommends treatments, get the item numbers of the proposed work so you can ring around for quotes.
Got a complaint?
Try to resolve any issues with the practitioner first. Complaints about professional conduct, performance, or the health of a practitioner should be made directly to AHPRA (except in NSW, where all complaints go through the Health Care Complaints Commission).
If you believe there are any other aspects of a service you received that were unreasonable, such as fees, you can complain to the health care commission in your state or territory.
ACT: Health Services Complaints Commissioner - 02 6205 2222
NSW: Health Care Complaints Commission - 1800 043 159
NT: Health & Community Services Complaints Commission - 1800 004 474
Queensland: Health Quality & Complaints Commission - 07 3120 5999 (Brisbane metro); 1800 077 308 (elsewhere)
SA: Health & Community Services Complaints Commissioner - 08 8226 8666 (Adelaide metro); 1800 232 007 (elsewhere)
Tasmania: Health Complaints Commissioner - 1800 001 170
Victoria: Health Services Commissioner - 1800 136 066
WA: Health and Disability Services Complaints Office - 1800 813 583
If you have a complaint about your private health insurer, you can direct it to the Private Health Insurance Ombudsman - 1800 640 695.