What to Consider in Your Choice of Dentists in Selangor, Malaysia
Locating the right dentist in Malaysia for your needs may not be as easy as you think. As with every profession, there are those who are extremely capable and those with less experience and different interests. There are dentists whose personality characteristics would appeal to you and those who would be less acceptable.
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WRONG REASONS FOR SELECTING A DENTIST
Patients often select dentists for the wrong reasons. Some of these follow.
Dental Fees in Selangor, Malaysia
Malaysian Patients seeking low dental fees usually can find them, but the fees are usually low for a reason: often low quality or less complete service. Low-quality service can lead to irreparable situations or expensive redoing of therapy later. Similarly, high fees do not necessarily mean high quality. Don’t select a dentist based on fees.
Dentist Participation in Your Company Dental Plan
Although so-called preferred providers may be competent, there is also a strong possibility that the dentists participate in the plan for various other reasons. Malaysian Dentists should not be selected based on their participation or lack of participation in a specific dental plan.
Dental Advertising in Selangor, Malaysia
Some Malaysian Dentists advertise in various ways, including telephone books, magazines, and newspapers. Although there are some exceptions, professionals who advertise are usually no worse or better than their lower-visibility colleagues. However, patients should be cautious of professionals who advertise with unrealistic claims or strong self-aggrandizement ads. Professional advertising can be helpful, or it can be significantly misleading. Generally, most professionals still refrain from advertising.
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RELIABLE WAYS TO FIND THE RIGHT PRACTITIONER in Selangor, Malaysia
Only the health practitioner in question and a few of his or her colleagues know the competency of health services rendered by a specific person. Each practitioner has had to pass relatively difficult examinations in school, and has then had to pass rigorous national, state, or other geographic division tests. However, as in any area of endeavour, individual dentists may constantly improve themselves professionally, or they may concentrate their efforts on other areas and let their professional skills remain static. It is up to you to determine the acceptability of the practitioners you are considering, with help. I suggest that you use more than one of the following selection methods before you select a new dentist.
Malaysian Dentists in Your Last Location
If you were satisfied with your previous dentist, he or she could probably help you locate a similar practitioner in your new location. Try to get at least two recommended names. Most dentists are members of professional organisations that publish lists of member dentists in other locations. Often your previous dentist may even know someone who lives in your new location. If referrals to specific dentists are not possible, your previous dentist may refer you to a well-known, high-quality practitioner near your new area. This person can then refer you to another dentist who practices near your home. One potential negative factor: Your previous dentist may not be up to the standard you would want if you were an expert, and practitioners tend to know and associate most with professional friends who are similar to themselves.
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Other Non dental Health Professionals of Your Acquaintance
Physicians (Doctors), podiatrists, optometrists, veterinarians, psychologists, pharmacists, chiropractors, hospital administrators, public health officials, and others are often knowledgeable about well-respected dentists in your area. If some trusted friends in your new area are health practitioners, you might ask them if they know of dental practitioners in that area who are known for their high quality services. Again, be careful; dentists who are prominent in civic, religious, or political groups are not necessarily the ones you want for dental care. In fact, the reverse may be the case.
Local Dental Societies
Regardless of your geographic location, dental societies represent your local group of dentists in a larger national organization. Usually these groups have a manager or an executive secretary who knows most of the dentists in your area. Look in the telephone book for the dental society; you will probably be able to reach the administrator of your local group. Although these people vary in their willingness to, help a person find a dentist, many will provide a few names of their choice in your geographic area. As with any other method for locating a dentist, you must verify these suggestions with some of the other methods described in this article.
Dental Universities in Selangor, Malaysia
If your city does not have a dental university, other cities close to yours might have dental university that serve your area. If you want to find a general dentist, you might call the dental university and speak to the chairperson of operative dentistry. Ask that person to suggest a general dentist near your area. This is one of the better ways to locate a practitioner. Dental educators know the abilities of previous students or of older dentists who may be active in clinical study clubs or teaching part time at the dental school. If you know that you need a specialist you
might call the chairperson of that specialty at the dental school: Excellent recommendations may be obtained in this manner.
Dental Specialists in Selangor, Malaysia
Some of the dental specialists interact closely with general dentists and depend on the treatment delivered by those general dentists to support their specialised therapy. Such specialists usually work with many general practitioners and have in-depth personal knowledge of the abilities of specific practitioners. Staff persons in most specialist offices are pleased to recommend a few names of general practitioners close to you, and they are likely to be very good suggestions. What specialists would have the best knowledge about general dentists? Periodontists, endodontists, and orthodontists treat many patients who have received dental restorative therapy. Call the specialist’s office and describe your needs; you will probably be satisfied with the suggestions offered.
Dental Laboratories in Selangor, Malaysia
The internet (Google) lists the names of dental laboratories. These firms construct the fixed prostheses (bridges), partial and complete dentures, orthodontic devices, and other laboratory work for dentists in your area. They see examples of each dentist’s work, because the dentists send models to the laboratories for construction of crowns (caps), dentures, etc. The laboratory technicians become knowledgeable about the abilities of specific dentists. This referral method is especially good if you know you need fixed bridges or some form of denture. The referrals you receive from dental laboratories, based on the observations of the laboratory technicians, generally will be reliable.
Commercial Firms Recommending Health Practitioners
Many geographic areas have companies that advertise (on television and radio, in newspapers, or elsewhere) that they will recommend dentists or physicians for you. They usually have in-depth files on the practitioners, including their educational background, special practice orientations, insurance plans that they accept, and other information. Obviously, these firms must generate funds to operate. Is there a potential for conflict of interest? Of course! On the other hand, such firms will not continue to recommend dentists who have proved to be unsatisfactory for their clients. Although the companies that recommend health practitioners are one source of information about specific practitioners, you should obtain strong support from other sources before you accept theirrecommendations
If it has been more than 6 months since your last dental checkup, you are already late. Look over the preceding list of ways to find a dentist. Select the methods that seem to best fit your needs. Start with the simplest one and get a few names. Try another method or two and compare the names. Gradually you will gain confidence in your potential dentist, and you will be able to take that important step toward selection. All dentists are not the same, as in any other field of endeavour, but there are certainly some practitioners in your area who will satisfy your needs.
Selection of a dentist solely based on geographic location is unwise. A dentist in your immediate geographic area could be perfect for you, but the reverse could be true as well. Unless you are assured by other factors that a local dentist is the right one for you, it is probably better to select a dentist because of other factors.
Many professionals appeal to patients primarily based on their gregarious, outgoing personalities. You may have met such people in civic, social, or religious situations. Although you may be able to judge your social compatibility with that of a potential dentist by such an encounter, social personality characteristics indicate almost nothing about professional skills and quality of health care services. Unfortunately, many persons select their health practitioners based on superficial social contacts. Don’t! If everything else is in order, a good personality is a pleasant bonus.
Dentists of Friends
Selecting the health care professional of a friend is dangerous without other selection criteria. Too often, professionals might impress your friends while delivering treatment that would not satisfy you. However, if after you have used some of the more substantial evaluation methods described previously in this article to find a practitioner, having a friend who also likes and supports that dentist is additional verification for you.
Managed Care Programs in Dentistry (Selangor, Malaysia)
Managed Care in Selangor, Malaysia
Over the past several years there has been a major effort-by business organisations to become involved with the administration and funding of health care. You are undoubtedly familiar with these programs as administered for your medical plans. Overall, there has been only fair to poor acceptance of the influence of these plans on the access and quality of health care. Some of these programs are now active in dentistry, but they are not nearly as dominant as they are in the other parts of medicine. This article provides a candid view of the various types of dental care plans that are now available in Malaysia viewed through the eyes of a Dentist.
Several methods of payment for dental services are available to you at this time. These major categories are described below:
This is the type of payment for dental services many readers will remember as a child, when it was the only form of payment that was available to dental patients. You had an oral need, and you consulted with the dentist of your choice relative to that need. The dentist provided a professional opinion to you. You accepted or rejected the treatment plan. The treatment was accomplished, and just as you pay for groceries or clothing, you paid for the treatment, and went home. Dental benefit plans were not available, and patients did not expect any third party to pay for their oral therapy. You selected the dentist of your choice and the quality level you could afford, and you received the treatment of your choice.
This type of oral care is still available. It is called fee-for-service dentistry. In fact, it is the only form of payment that many dentists will accept. In fee-for-service dentistry, you are in control of your oral health care. You select the dentist. You save the money for the service, and you pay for it. You receive the therapy of your choice that meets with your treatment preference and budget availability. However, this type of payment now constitutes only a portion of payments for oral therapy.
Some dentists who have fee-for-service practices accept so-called dental insurance funding as a part of the payment for services. However, some insurance plans will not allow the patient to receive treatment from fee-for-service dentists. In such plans, you must seek the service of so-called preferred providers who have contracts with the third-party payer.
Most high-quality dental practitioners practice fee-for-service dentistry. They cannot afford to meet the requirements for the discounted plans and still provide the quality level, and type of services they desire. Although there are many excellent dentists who are involved with dental insurance or dental benefit plans, you, the consumer, must be careful to analyse the potential reasons for a specific practitioner’s participation in an insurance plan.
DENTAL HEALTH MAINTENANCE PROGRAMS (DHMOs)
These plans are patterned after the other medical HMO plans. A dental insurance company contracts with your employer to provide discounted oral care services for the employees of your company. The services provided by these plans are usually very minimal in nature. They provide emergency services and a few of the more rudimentary oral therapies. Almost always, they do not provide the more advanced or elective oral care services, including dental implants, veneers, orthodontics (Braces), complex dental crowns (caps) and bridges (prostheses) required in oral rehabilitation, major surgical services, and many other cosmetic or aesthetic services. You will find that if you are involved with a dental HMO you will have some difficulty obtaining many of the services that you desire. You may find difficulty in obtaining an appointment at a time of your choice. You may find that in many offices accepting such plans the level of care you receive is different than the care you would receive from the same practitioner if you were paying a normal fee. Why do dentists become involved in DHMOs? These plans provide a specific amount of payment to the dentist for a certain time period. On many procedures, if the dentist sees the patient and provides services, he or she does not receive any additional payment. If the dentist does not see the patient, he or she receives the same amount. Is there a motivation to treat the patient? The likelihood of the patient receiving optimal dental care in a dental HMO may not be good, unless the
patient has nothing to do except have an examination and go home. It is the considered and candid opinion of the author that with very few exceptions, there is a very minimal place in a quality-oriented dental practice for DHMOs. I am pleased to report that over the past few years the number of patients involved with HMOs has declined.
PREFERRED PROVIDER ORGANIZATIONS (PPOs) in Selangor, Malaysia
Another type of dental plan has evolved over the past few years. In a PPO your company contracts with a dental insurance company to provide dental services for its employees for a discounted amount. The plan makes contracts with some dentists to be their “preferred providers.” The discount these plans provide to you is usually about 20% off the dentist’s usual fee. Some plans are more or less discounted. The plans have many limitations on the type of dental services you can receive, and usually a cap on the amount the dentist can charge. Of course the 20% discount is off the top of the maximum the dentist can charge.
A lesson in dental economics is in order. Let’s say that a typical fee-for-service dentist has a fee to you for RM200. You may feel that the fee is high for the time the dentist spends on your services. However, the Dental Association surveys
show that the average overhead cost to run a dental office in Malaysia is about 70% before taxes. That leaves about 30% of the RM200 for income to the dentist before taxes. Now let’s discount that fee of RM200 by the average PPO discount of 20%. It is now RM160 coming into the dental office for your service.
The dentist does not have a lower overhead in a PPO plan. In fact, there may be an even higher overhead because of the need to treat more patients to make enough money to survive at the lower income level. Therefore, there is still a RM70 or more expense to serve the patient. Take the RM70 overhead off the RM80 income, and you now have an astounding RM10 staying with the dentist before taxes. How do practitioners stay in practice with such a low percentage of profit?
The fact is that many of them do not! They must survive on the income from their fee-for-service patients. By cutting costs and working with more dental staff performing oral clinical services, some dentists can still provide quality services and participate in PPOs. However, in the author’s opinion, the likelihood of a patient receiving consistently high-quality, complex services is not good from a dentist whose patients for the most part are involved with PPO plans. What groups or individuals benefit from so-called dental managed care programs? You don’t have to consider this question very long. Of course, the insurance companies are the major benefactors. In the author’s opinion, the patients and the dentists are the losers! Some of the plans take 20% or more of the money your company spent to provide you with services to administer the plans. Is there a way for you to receive more of the dollars that your company designated for your dental services? YES! The following types of plans provide to you nearly all of the dollars that your company designated for you, and you actually have a choice as to what services you receive and to which dentist you may go for treatment.
INDEMNITY DENTAL INSURANCE PLANS IN SELANGOR, MALAYSIA
Because of their funding for dental services over many years, these plans are the ones responsible for the major increase in access to dental care by Malaysian public over the past several decades. These plans have provided reasonable reimbursement for dental services, based on community-level fees. In some situations, the insurance company allows co-payment for services when it does not pay for the entire therapy, while in other plans, the dentist is allowed to charge only a given amount, and the company pays a percentage of that amount. These plans have become less attractive to dentists and patients over the past few years, since insurance companies have reduced the amount they will pay for specific services. Under close observation, such reductions have made many of the indemnity programs appear as discounted PPOs. However, with a few exceptions, indemnity insurance plans have been good.
This is one of the few types of benefit plans that actually provide advantages for both you and your dentist, and not just the insurance company!
The following example shows how direct reimbursement works. Let’s say that your company wants to provide RM1500 per year for your dental benefit. In a typical direct reimbursement plan, you find the dentist of your choice, and receive the services of your choice. The services need to be in line with the Specifications of the plan as elected by your employer. These requirements are usually quite liberal, and not as restrictive as the previously described plans. You submit a receipt for the amount you paid to the dentist for the treatment you received. This receipt is given to a designated administrator in your company, and your company reimburses you according to the regulations of your direct reimbursement plan up to the RM1500. The overhead for this type of plan is very low compared with the other plans we have discussed. It can be as low as a few percent. In direct reimbursement plans, you receive almost all of the money that was designated for your dental services!
Direct reimbursement plans have at least two disadvantages. First, you must pay the dentist and then be reimbursed by your company. This is a hardship to some patients who may not have enough cash flow to afford such an expenditure. Second, infrequently there may be an overuse of the plan by the employees that would stress your company. These disadvantages can be overcome in another type of plan described below.
This type of plan is similar to direct reimbursement, with a few exceptions. Your company contracts with a local bank in your area. Your company places in the bank the amount of money it plans to spend on its dental benefit plans for a given amount of time. When you receive authorized dental therapy, your dentist submits a bill to the bank for the services. There is a small charge for the bank services, and the bill is paid to the dentist. If there is overuse of the plan by the employees for a given time period, the bank has insurance for the overage, so your company is not at risk. It overcomes the few challenges that are present with direct reimbursement.
OVERVIEW OF DENTAL BENEFITS AS DESCRIBED IN THIS ARTICLE IN SELANGOR, MALAYSIA
The information below describes the distribution of funding coming from companies to pay for dental services. This is a constantly changing area, but the trend is for fee-for-service dentistry to remain and increase slightly, dental HMOs to reduce in influence, dental POs to increase in influence, dental indemnity programs to decrease slightly in influence, and direct reimbursement and direct assignment to increase in influence. It is the author’s preference that fee-for service payment increase, legitimate indemnity programs increase, and direct reimbursement and direct assignment increase. Why? These three types of payment provide the most freedom for patients to select the type of therapy they desire from the practitioner they prefer. These areas preserve the freedom of choice that has been so important in the American way of life.
AN IDEAL DENTAL BENEFIT PLAN
The ideal plan characteristics listed in the box have been suggested by the author
to third-party payment companies designing dental plans. Consider them and see
if your benefit company provides these characteristics.
IDEAL DELIVERY SYSTEM in Selangor, Malaysia
• Patient ability to choose dentist
• All procedures included
• Patient ability to pay for extra costs over plan payment
• Rapid payment of claims by company
• Simple claim forms
• Dental society partnership in plan administration
– Dental society dominance in treatment plan review
* As proposed to dental insurance companies by Gordon J. Christensen, DDS,
SUMMARY OF PAYMENT METHODS FOR DENTAL SERVICES
You need to determine what type of plan, if any, you have at this time.
Many employers feel obligated to provide dental services as a benefit for their employees. It appears to be logical that money designated for these plans should go to the employees, and not to dental insurance companies. Dental managed care plans (DHMOs and PPOs) take a significant amount of the money for themselves.
They are in business to make a profit. When patients pay for their dental services themselves, all of the money goes for the services, and this is called fee-for service dentistry. Direct reimbursement and direct assignment provide almost all of the money your company provides for your dental services TO YOU!