Hello Nigerians, in a bid to make dental care available to everyone both educated and the uneducated; accessible to both rural and urban dwellers; affordable to both the rich and the poor and acceptable to all and sundry. We at Dental Channel Nigeria decided to use this medium to reach out to Nigeria citizens online who choose to and are willing to enjoy improved oral health.
Choosing the right dental clinic in NIGERIA suitable for your individual and family needs can be very challenging. A wrong choice can mess you up and affect the way you see the dental profession in the country. Here are few quick clues upon which you can base your choice of right dental clinic for you and your family in Nigeria.
- CLOSENESS OF THE DENTAL CLINIC
Most dental treatments usually require several visits or multiple appointments for completion based on the type of treatment procedure carried out. So, wisdom is when you choose a clinic in close proximity either to your workplace or house.
For your whole family care, it is better you choose the one close to your house. This reduces the time that you might have to spend otherwise for travelling. Many a times this simple factor alone might contribute for postponing needed treatment for your dental issue and allow it to progress to the advanced level. As an individual, you can choose a clinic close to your workplace, should you want to breeze in and breeze out during working hours. For your children, you can also choose the one close to their school especially if they are in boarding school or if they need an orthodontic treatment.
- BASED ON YOUR FINANCIAL STRENGTH
It is true that health care should be made affordable to everyone. However, frankly speaking, there is no equity in cost of health. Private clinics charge higher than government owned facilities for many obvious reasons. When you see a cosy office environment that tends to be corporate in feel, situated at a place filled with mix of city’s highbrows and captains of industries, with a number of dentists all working for an entrepreneur or a business man with guaranteed prompt and quality care in a fully air conditioned rooms, with DSTV subscription, constant power supply and no need to wait till eternity before you are attended to, then it’s expected to be more expensive.
So my dear, if I were you, I would cut my coat to size or do a quick survey (prior to any emergency), compare prices and choose wisely. It’s always a good idea to shop around. Ask about cost upfront by requesting a pre-treatment estimate and then do some comparison shopping before proceeding.
A SHORT STORY
A 38 year old woman went to a clinic situated on the Island in Lagos recently with pain in her tooth, the tooth has a big hole, the pain was sharp, continuous, and so severe that it disturbed her sleep, it gave her headache and could not chew food with the that side of the mouth. After registration and consultation with #5,000. She was asked to take radiograph using dental x-ray machine for #5,000 to investigate the tooth. This investigation was carried out to determine whether the tooth could still be saved by Root Canal Treatment of #60,000 or will be extracted with #15,000:00 after which she would be placed on medication worth of #3,000. Hmmm, after the investigation the dentist gave her the best treatment option of RCT but patient promised to come back for extraction when she heard the cost implication of the proposed RCT.
In the long run, patient pleaded that medication be given to her to subside the pain so till she would be able to raise the money needed. The patient actually absconded and never came back.
She paid #13,000 that morning but her problem was not fully solved as the medication could only alleviate the pain for a short while.
- SPECIALIST DENTAL CLINICS
There are several specializations in the field of Dentistry and each one is unique. For example, an area of specialization that takes care of crooked or misaligned teeth is different from that which takes care of gums and supporting structures like bone, the one that get the holes on the teeth filled and crown the teeth is different from the one who prescribes drugs for you alone to cure dental ailments. The one who replaces one’s missing tooth is different from the one who performs major surgeries on the jaw and cheek bones. Though, specialist dental clinic are not common here, what we have mostly here is general dental practice clinics with one or more specialists that consult for them. You need to know that you can choose a dental specialist clinic based on your knowledge of the dental problem. Otherwise, when you visit a dental clinic, the resident dentist would diagnose and call on the specialist to attend to you or refer you to the right specialist.
- BASED ON EXPERIENCE OF THE PRACTICE
There is a reason why it is called “dental practice’ and not ‘’dental expertise’’. Years of practice surely provides good exposure and competence to varieties of dental challenges and the proper disease management technique to institute. So, it is expected that an experienced dentist would be doing a better job than an inexperienced one.
But there is a catch, whatever the number of years of experience of the dentist, if he doesn’t improve himself with advanced treatment procedures, equipment and materials he would not be very competent. So, please look out for dental surgeons who would upgrade and keep themselves at the cutting edge technology by attending seminars on relevant topics, conferences, and continued dental education courses as this is the criteria for renewal of annual practising license by the medical and dental council of Nigeria. CHOOSE THE LEGIT & SHUN QUACKS
- BASED ON VARIETIES OF TREATMENT OFFERED
The field of dentistry is very vast and dynamic. Changes and technological advancement are integral part of this field. Varieties of new equipment, materials are being introduced time to time and more advanced treatment procedures are emerging. Hence you should choose a dentist or a dental clinic based on various dental treatment procedures offered. Now it is trending for patient to demand more and to get the best. Hence, choose the dental clinic based on varieties of treatments offered. Read our DENTAL TREATMENT GUIDE to see varieties of treatment options available for dental care.
N.B. Some clinics are notorious for extraction of every painful tooth. So, be guided lest you remove all your teeth before you know the other ways to salvage an aching tooth.
- PATIENTS’ TESTIMONIALS
One thing about this is that rumours spread very fast. Many dentists own a website or are visible in directories and would have uploaded pictures of the cases they have attended to. Some patients upload their pictures and experiences online for the world to see. Who would dare do that if they had nasty experience at a particular clinic? This would be a guide to know what to expect from that clinic. Good results with previous cases should help you in choosing your dentist.
All these above mentioned factors are essential for having good and safe dental care. There are some dental surgeons or practices which go further ahead in providing advanced comfort features for their patients.
- OTHER SIDE BENEFITS
Make a conscious effort to find out if the clinic is doing well in these areas:
(a) Ease of payment options– In Nigeria, it was only cash transaction that was the order of the day in dental clinics in the past. Now many dental clinics accept cards as well using POS (point of sales) option. Online payment option can also be helpful for patients. Don’t feel embarrassed if you are asked to pay before service especially when the payment option is via online.
(b) Presence of other facilities– Some clinics offer other features like Wi-Fi enabled reception area, Air-conditioned chambers, Music, children playground or section, Television and other comforts especially if you plan to go with your kids, promo time when you will enjoy some discounts. All these add to the comfort of the patients.
Does the practice use management software? This system supports the dentist in maintaining diagnostic as well as treatment records of each of his patients. Thus, he/she would be equipped with all your information even after years. In such cases, you getting a better service is ensured.
(c) Online appointment booking facility– This allows you to book appointments with the dentist of your choice even during non-working hours of the clinic. The biggest advantage is you don’t have to call up the clinic and wait for scheduling of your appointment. This facility can prevent postponement of the required appointment with your dental surgeon. SMS reminders help in confirming and reminding the appointments to the patient as well to the surgeon.
N.B: Most times, people wait for when there is a challenge before they start running helter-skelter and thereby taking decisions under pressure. Do a quick survey before any dental emergency comes up.