As new funding and opportunities allow dentists to travel to overlooked rural areas, Dr. Deepika Verma advises dental professionals to engage in their specialty with professionalism and expertise. Many patients will be unfamiliar with and possibly wary of dental care.
For instance, Australia is taking steps to provide affordable dental care to rural children and adults who lack the means of paying for regular tooth care. A new $4 billion plan will create a six-year dental program to improve the oral health of rural residents, addressing in particular residents who have gone years without visiting a dental professional.
Three million Australian children and one million low-income adults will be eligible for the government-subsidized dental care. Particular focus will be given to senior citizens struggling with their dental health.
Rather than requiring rural residents to enter Australian cities to receive dental care, health organizations are promoting systems of transportation that allow professionals to treat children and adults in their own rural communities. The Outback Oral Treatment and Health program (TOOTH) is a $2.5 million effort to treat rural citizens, among them indigenous Australians without access to regular care.
The Royal Flying Doctor Service noted that up to 40% of Australians are currently unable to access necessary dental assistance. During rural travels, TOOTH employees found that more than half the patients they treated had not been to a dentist within the past two years.
To provide the basis for future oral health efforts in rural areas, the TOOTH program objectives include establishing clinics for the purpose of training university students in dental hygiene.
In rural areas and across Australia, the number of individuals pursuing dentistry as a career is increasing. The number of dentists in rural areas nearly doubled between 2006 and 2011. In major cities, the number of dentists increased by 19%. One third of working dentists reported were women.
As care expands and more individuals pursue dental health as a professional career, dental authority Dr. Deepika Verma advises dental workers everywhere to keep several principles in mind to provide the best possible care to their patients.
Professionals should sharpen their knowledge and oral health skills by pursuing quality education in the dental field. Expertise in areas of dental procedures, terminology and technology begins with a solid educational foundation and dedicated dental studies.
In order to provide accurate and high-quality care, dental professionals must be on the cutting edge of technology. A professional policy of keeping up with research and industry innovations paves the way for patients from all areas to benefit from the latest advances in dental work.
Building strong relationships is another characteristic identified by Dr. Deepika Verma as essential to the administration of quality care. Treating patients with respect and attention contributes to an individual’s lifelong association with excellent dental care. The need for strong relationships extends to the treatment of staff members and peers in the field.
As students and dental doctors interact with Australians from all corners of the nation, dental specialists in any area can pursue their own course of understanding and professionalism when engaging with their patients.
Dr. Deepika Verma received her dental education at the Boston University Goldman School of Dental Medicine, continuing her career by achieving residency at Maulana Azad Dental College and Hospital in Delhi, India. She currently pursues excellence in innovation, professionalism, and patient relations as dental director for the Community Health Centers of Southern Iowa.