Tuesday, 23 April, 2024

01 Aug 2000 | Australasian Dental Practice

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Dentists needed for internet duty

Community oral-health service, Your Dentist, is offering a free and/or upgraded website to any dentist who would like to answer questions from the general public about dentistry.


Your Dentist's website, www.dentist.com.au, has a Q&A section where a visitor can ask a dentist a question and subsequently receive an answer. To be eligible, the dentist must be able to answer a question within seven days and has access to email.

The range of questions Your Dentist receives is broad. Typically, patients want to know the cost of various types of dental treatment; the type of dental problem they have based on some rough symptoms; suggested treatments of dental conditions; and an explanation of a dental problem or treatment plan proposed by a dentist.

"Your Dentist has a growing roster of dentists who have agreed to participate thus far," said Joseph Allbeury, director of Your Dentist. "However we would like more people to get involved.

"The procedure is quite simple really. The questions are stored on a database and distributed via email for reply. Once the dentist has formulated their answer, they send the reply back to us at the email address: answers@dentist.com.au The question and answer is then posted onto the website and an email sent to the visitor to direct them back to the website to read the answer. The question and answer are subsequently available for any visitor to the site to review. In this way, hopefully no questions will be asked twice and an ever-expanding resource of information is dynamically built.

"We send each dentist only a few questions a month. If at any time, they feel they are receiving too many questions but still want to participate, then we'll limit the number of questions sent. Also, if a dentist feels that a question they receive could be better answered by someone else, they just have to let us know.

"If a busy schedule does not allow questions to be answered within a week, notify us and the dentist is taken off the roster. If we send a question and do not hear back within a week, we will notify by email that we are sending the question to another dentist to answer."

Mr Allbeury said the dentist that answers a question does not have direct contact with the visitor and the reply is posted onto the website anonymously. Your Dentist reserves the right to alter the reply to conform to style and other guidelines.

"The purpose of Your Dentist is to promote dentistry and active oral healthcare to the public," Mr Allbeury said. "The tone of the answers should reflect this by providing a positive view of dentistry. The information provided will always be general and non-committal and may result in a recommendation to visit a dentist.

"It is not a forum for voicing opinions or debating current issues or passing judgement on the treatment plan, manner or professionalism of another dentist. The objective is to educate and motivate the person asking the question into taking care of their oral health."

He said the purpose of Your Dentist is to promote the dental profession as a whole and to help lower some of the perceived barriers that the public may have that prevent them from visiting a dentist regularly, or at all. Education about oral health or reinforcement of a treatment plan proposed by a dentist may be just the catalyst a patient needs to take better care of their teeth.

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