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QLD_GCB_NEWS_DENTISTONLINE_TOXWARDE

Dentist offers free consults amid crisis in profession

A HELENSVALE dentist is bracing for a tsunami-like rush of clients once coronavirus restrictions are lifted and he's offering free video consults to get ahead of the game.

Helensvale Dental's Doctor Jin Kim said revenue was just 5 per cent of what it usually was because he was only allowed to open for emergency treatments.

"A patient was in tears the other day as I told her that we couldn't remove the braces she's had on for years," he said. "Another was supposed to get her braces off and get married so that's double loss for her."

 

Dr Jin Kim at Helensvale Dental is has had to cancel all appointments but from next week is offering free online consults over the internet together with practice manager Lauren Eastwood. Picture: Glenn Hampson
Dr Jin Kim at Helensvale Dental is has had to cancel all appointments but from next week is offering free online consults over the internet together with practice manager Lauren Eastwood. Picture: Glenn Hampson

 

Dr Kim said while it's "strangely quiet" at the moment, he was expecting an overwhelming demand from patients needing dental work and treatment down the track.

"We can't produce aerosols at the moment so we can't drill so I'm only able to do so much for my patients using hand instruments.

 

"For those in severe and constant pain I'm doing my best to minimise the damage in the meantime, but bacteria will continue to do its damage in some cases.

"The unfair thing is that people who are consciously taking care of their teeth by coming in every six months for a clean will lose out if things go backwards in the meantime, this is particularly the case with gum disease."

 

Dr Jin Kim at Helensvale Dental is offering free web consults from next week, to new and existing patients. He’s pictured here with practice manager Lauren Eastwood. Picture Glenn Hampson
Dr Jin Kim at Helensvale Dental is offering free web consults from next week, to new and existing patients. He’s pictured here with practice manager Lauren Eastwood. Picture Glenn Hampson

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According to the Australian Dental Association (AVA) gum disease has been linked to a raft of ailments including pneumonia, hardening of the arteries and exacerbated diabetes symptoms.

Dr Kim said once dentists were allowed to operate as usual, resources would be stretched to meet the demand of people with untreated cavities and gum issues.

"I really hope restrictions are just for three months, but if it's six months people will be trampling over each other to see their dentist."

Gold Coasters stuck with a dental problem can book a free video consult through Helensvale Dental, with new patients welcome.

 

Dr Jin Kim at Helensvale Dental says he’s no handyman so while it’s quiet he’s going to give away free video consults. Picture: Glenn Hampson
Dr Jin Kim at Helensvale Dental says he’s no handyman so while it’s quiet he’s going to give away free video consults. Picture: Glenn Hampson

 

"I know lots of practices are shutting down all together, but I figure what else have I got to do? I'm not a handy man and hate home renovations so why not give a little back to the community. It's good karma.

"By having a chat and then asking people to show me their issue through a web or phone camera, I can assure them that it's OK to hold out or whether they needed to come in."

Video consults are available on Mondays and Wednesday but if demand is high, Dr Kim will increase it to three days.

"As usual my advice to everyone is floss, floss, floss," he said.

The AVA website says genuine dental emergencies include knocking out a tooth, severe and constant pain, significant bleeding, or swelling of the head or neck.

Originally published as Dentist offers free consults amid crisis in profession


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