“Wait until It Aches” or Why Dentistry Seems So Expensive
Be it out of laziness, fear, depression, bad habits, or else, procrastination is never a good thing. And as used we all are to recognize procrastination in our personal and professional lives, we tend to forget about all delays our health suffers from.
“I will eat healthy starting next Monday.” And Monday never comes.
“I will do regular sports”. And this regularity lasts up to a few weeks.
“I will run some blood tests… But only when I have problems.”
“I will go to the dentist… But only when it starts hurting.”
The reluctance to act now always costs more time, pain, and money later. And this applies strongly to oral health.
However, procrastination is not necessarily the root problem. It might also be the symptom of a fundamentally flawed system. Let’s look at the base layer of it within the global dental industry frame.
The Battle for Oral Health:
Prevention vs. Treatment
The global economic impact of dental diseases amounts to USD $442 billion annually. The astonishing 90% of all dental costs are wasted on preventable problems that could be avoided with good oral hygiene, regular dental check-ups, and proper nutrition. One in five DentaVox poll respondents says they visit the dentist for a check-up only when they feel pain. Another 4% just don’t go to the dentist at all, even after detecting an issue. In these cases, regardless of their own approach towards prevention, dentists are left with no choice but to treat the already existing issue.
Quite naturally, in a world where
acute treatments take prevalence over
oral health education and prevention,
procrastination is the king.
But: Treatment for oral health conditions is expensive and usually not part of universal health coverage. In most high-income countries, according to WHO, dental treatment averages 5% of total health expenditure and 20% of out-of-pocket health expenditure. Most low- and middle-income countries are unable to provide services to prevent and treat oral health conditions, leaving approx. 80% of the global population with no access to dental care at all.
People Cannot Afford Dental Treatment,
So Why Not Try to Avoid It?
This would be the extreme question emerging from all the above-mentioned worrying facts. And it will definitely lead to another one: But wouldn’t this ruin all dentists as treatments are their source of money!?
Well, let’s not forget what all medical professionals, including dentists, have sworn in before undertaking their career path:
I will prevent disease whenever I can,
for prevention is preferable to cure.
– Hippocratic Oath
Besides, we are not talking about destroying the entire dental industry. We are talking about building a better version of it. This new approach will just require different patient relations and payment models with a stimulus for dentists to not only treat but also prevent dental disease. The goal is to shift its focus towards prevention while also making unavoidable dental treatments affordable to the masses. And it all starts with significant changes in the roles of both patients and dentists.
Building a Health System that Cares:
While individuals have been switching from passive to active when it comes to their own (oral) health, a new generation of dentists with a clear focus on oral health education and prevention has been slowly but steadily emerging in recent years. Both gradual changes are clearly influenced by Gen X and Gen Z, whose inclination towards sustainable models in all fields of life has already been loudly declared.
And that’s where Dentacoin steps in to accelerate the process and provide the needed infrastructure for this trend to develop to its full potential.
Dentacoin is the first and only blockchain solution for the global dental industry. It boosts oral health and patient-dentist relations globally using:
1) a preventive, smart contract-based dental assurance model
2) a set of dental apps, incentivizing beneficial user behavior
3) a functioning cryptocurrency, used for rewards and payments
Above all, the Netherlands-based Dentacoin Foundation allows everyone to capitalize on and contribute to a new health system that cares more and cures less. How does it work?
Raising Awareness and Giving Patients an
Active Role in Improving Their Oral Health
In this new model, the role of the
consumer has changed
from isolated to connected,
from unaware to informed,
from passive to active.
On its quest to engage patients in taking care of their teeth and realizing the importance of regular check-ups and timely treatments, Dentacoin implements the century-old approach to incentivize beneficial behavior in an entirely new way. To understand this approach better, let’s look at all smart apps, already used by 100K+ individuals:
- DentaVox Paid Surveys – a website that incentivizes users with DCN cryptocurrency for taking oral health surveys and polls while generating valuable industry insights.
- Dentacoin Trusted Reviews – the first platform for verified, detailed, and incentivized dental reviews that also helps dentists improve their services and online presence.
- Dentacare Mobile App – a mobile app that helps users build and maintain oral health habits through embarking on a 90-day challenge. Good results are rewarded.
- Dentacare: Jaws of Battle – the latest collectible card game aimed at indirectly educating children and adults on good and bad oral health habits. Available for Android and iOS.
Dentacoin Assurance further emphasizes on the role of patients by including dental check-ups and tooth cleanings as a mandatory condition in each contract.
As it becomes obvious, this entire concept is aimed at indirectly raising oral health awareness and making patients active towards dental matters that usually stay out of their focus. By applying intelligent incentivization and gamification mechanisms, the Dutch Foundation brings oral health participation to a new, more entertaining and engaging level.
Helping Dentists Capitalize on Prevention
and Build Solid Patient Relations
Dentacoin could shift the paradigm from
“drill-and-fill” dentistry to a prevention-focused
approach. It’ll also help build a tightly knit
– Dr. Max Ganhewa
In today’s turbulent, highly competitive business environment, it gets harder and harder for dental practitioners to acquire and retain patients. Moreover, the current system of tariffs, settlements, and insurances forces dentists to work on short notice and leave the focus on prevention aside.
Dentacoin Assurance has been developed to change this deplorable state of affairs by helping dentists set up their own dental membership plans using a free, highly automated, and secure system. The plans are based on smart contracts between dentists and patients that cover preventive services (check-ups, tooth cleanings) and basic dental care against affordable monthly fees in DCN cryptocurrency. It eliminates all third parties from the picture and thus allows dental professionals to get additional regular income while building a loyal patient base.
Dentacoin also supports dentists in acquiring and retaining patients by providing them all smart apps described above for free use. Combined, Dentacoin apps serve as a digital loyalty program for dental practices as they engage their patients with beneficial activities and allow them to earn rewards that can later be spent on dental treatments and assurance fees. This further reduces the barrier to step into the dentist office, considering the severity of fear towards expected costs as well.
Last but not least, the Dutch Foundation helps each partner dentist with free advertising campaigns upon onboarding, better online reputation and search ranking, useful market research results, regular dental marketing education and ideas.
Aiding Dentists and Patients in Saving Costs
While Providing/ Receiving Better Care
Dentacoin reduces my transactional costs
which ultimately reduces my patients’ costs.
Its mission to incentivize preventative self-care
is congruent with my dental philosophy.
– Dr. Trino Nuño
It is no secret that in all highly regulated fields, it is nearly impossible for lone fighters such as dentists to achieve high efficiency. Applying blockchain technology and the Dentacoin (DCN) token as a base layer of the entire Dentacoin ecosystem allows for:
- Faster, cheaper, and more secure transactions, independent from physical locations, banks, or governments.
- Automated regular payments (e.g. assurance fees) and digital handling of contracts and payments with no intermediaries.
- Closed currency system with various ways of earning and spending DCN cryptocurrency, thus enabling a further reduction of costs.
All the above not only aid dentists and patients in saving costs but help optimize the international supply chain including all market participants from manufacturers and suppliers, through media and dental marketing agencies, to dentists and patients.
In order to dethrone procrastination from power, the underlying system that praises it must be fundamentally rethought. The keywords in this process are awareness, education, and prevention. Thankfully, new technological advances – such as blockchain and in particular Dentacoin – can help build a health system that truly cares about people’s health.
With more market participants recognizing the detrimental effect of the “wait-until-it-aches” approach, a new level of oral health consciousness would be reached and an unimaginable amount of time, costs, and pain would be saved. Hand in hand, active patient participation and capitalized focus on prevention have all it takes to put an end to the flawed era of “patchwork” dentistry or “drill-and-fill” care.
Also published on Medium.
Marketing Manager at Dentacoin Foundation - the organization behind the first and only blockchain solution for dentistry. She is experienced in online medical marketing and content writing, and has developed feedback systems and patient loyalty programs for international dental clinics.