Investigating Freelance Dentistry: Are Patients Still Safe & Indemnified?

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Investigating Freelance Dentistry: Are Patients Still Safe & Indemnified?

  1. Home
  2. Dental Articles
  3. General Dentistry Articles
  4. Investigating Freelance Dentistry: Are Patients Still Safe & Indemnified?
Investigating Freelance Dentistry Are Patients Still Safe & Indemnified? At Sunbury Dental House In Sunbury
Freelance dentistry has an unfortunate visual connotation inherent within it. Long, sharp pointy things being wielded by people in white lab coats. Of course, dentists are highly trained professionals not prone to unpredictable acts of aggression. When investigating the concept of freelance dentistry, first and foremost we ask: are patients safe and indemnified? In this instance, we are talking about those dentists who operate like locums or relief teachers coming into a clinic to fill a vacancy or who may operate on a semi-permanent basis. Fears about the ‘here today and gone tomorrow’ nature of such arrangements may strike some clients. What are the covers in place to protect patients in such situations?

How Credible Are Freelancing Dentists?

Although we live in the age of the gig economy one might doubt whether many dental practitioners are operating out of their own homes or rented office space here in Australia. Unlike the freelance hairdresser, dentists require a lot more back up equipment than a pair of scissors and a blow dryer. We would be right to be highly suspicious of a dentist operating out of a residential space or unsuitable commercial one. Dental clinics are very expensive places to equip and maintain with the necessary treatment couches and high tech devices now considered indispensable. I would be asking to see any dentist’s credentials before opening wide and closing my eyes.

The Accountability Of Dental Practitioners In Australia

Normally, when you enter a dental clinic you will see the dental team’s framed certificates of dentistry hanging on the walls. These are there for clients to register the credibility of those practicing within this establishment. However, is this enough or should we enquire as to the insurance capabilities of the practice?

“By law, all dental practitioners must be covered by professional indemnity insurance to protect both patients and dentists from events related to adverse outcomes, inquiries, and disputes.
1.1. The National Law requires Dental Practitioners to maintain professional indemnity insurance.
1.2. Federal legislation requires that Professional Indemnity be in the form of insurance.
1.3. Dentists in Australia are offered Professional Indemnity insurance by insurance companies, often in a scheme in cooperation with ADA Branches.”
– Australian Dental Association

It would be perfectly acceptable to ask to see proof of this indemnity cover before being treated by any dentist in Australia. I would recommend that you challenge any freelance dentist about this if you have concerns as to your safety in the long term. No discounted rate is worth the risk of damage to your health, especially involving the delicate realms of the oral cavity. We all know that dental care in Australia is expensive in upfront terms because it is not covered by Medicare. Therefore, some folk may feel that getting a bit off the bill is a good deal and worth looking the other way in regard to short cuts with the paperwork. This is not a good idea and the road to ruin is paved with such seemingly good intentions. Rather, get the best treatment, pay for it, and it will serve you well into the future.

Investigating Freelance Dentistry Are Patients Still Safe & Indemnified? In Sunbury At Sunbury Dental House
Dental Clinics An Investment In Patient Safety

The bricks and mortar of a solid dental clinic are imbued with an investment into the safeguards of all the patients this dental practice will treat. Some things in life are well worth paying for and quality dentistry is one of these. You have to factor in the time frame involved in fixing teeth and gums for the long term. You are not paying for a one night stand but a lifetime of structural functionality. Yes, you have to play your part too by looking after your oral care going forward. Hopefully as you age you get smarter about taking care of your dental wellbeing. Ultimately, we are all responsible for our own health and medical professionals are just technicians helping us along the way. Thinking like this will save you money and grief over the journey.

Freelancing vs The Fly By Night Approach

Fly by night dentists are not recommended. If you want to take risks in your life take up skydiving, but better to put your trust in your local dental clinic when it comes to dental care. Over the millennia tooth ache and oral care issues have caused humankind plenty of problems – it is all there in the archaeological evidence. Dentistry has ben an age old challenge. Now, we have the best oral care available in the world here in Australia. Pay the price and evaluate the cost over the long term and not merely via the upfront sting of it. Times are tough right now because of the bite of high inflation over the last couple of years. Everything has been going up across the board and this hurts many of us. Housing is a huge problem in Australia at the moment with rents and home loan repayments at record levels. This impacts the cost of doing business, as does insurance premiums being whacked up wickedly. Likewise oil price rises increase business costs in every direction too. All of these things make affording dental care much more of a challenge for everyday Australians. Freelance dentistry may look more attractive in relation to these economic pressures but be warned about the dangers of dodgy dentists to your health.

AHPRA Is There To Protect Patients

“The 15 National Boards regulating registered health practitioners in Australia are responsible for registering practitioners and students (except for in psychology, which has provisional psychologists), setting the standards that practitioners must meet, and managing complaints and concerns (notifications) about the health, conduct or performance of practitioners. The Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) works in partnership with the National Boards to implement the National Registration and Accreditation Scheme, under the Health Practitioner Regulation National Law, as in force in each state and territory (the National Law). The core role of the National Boards and AHPRA is to protect the public.”
– DentalBoard.gov.au

We live during an era where a battle between, not good an evil exists, but one between rigour and convenience. Thoroughness vs slapdash. Exactitude vs ‘she’ll be right mate’. The gig economy may offer hacks but these are not always beneficial when it comes to things that have to last a long time like teeth. In investigating freelance dentistry, as a society, as an industry association, and as individual dentists on the ground, we have to be vigilant and ask: are patients safe and indemnified?

To patients we say, check the fine print prior to opening your mouth for gloved fingers bearing sharp instruments. Better to be safe than sorry. No discount is worth the damage which can be done inside the confines of your vulnerable oral cavity. In an area made for kisses and caresses and sweet treats you want well trained dental hands wielding those high powered drills.

Note: All content and media on the  Sunbury Dental House website and social media channels are created and published online for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice and should not be relied on as health or personal advice.

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Great dental practice! Fong is a very experienced dentist acquiring all my dental needs and the nurse Emily helped my dentist experience a comfortable one. Highly recommend them.

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Great dental practice! Fong is a very experienced dentist acquiring all my dental needs and the nurse Emily helped my dentist experience a comfortable one. Highly recommend them.

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