Dr Ved Berani is a firm believer in the far-reaching benefits of preventative oral healthcare for the whole community, but recognises that many people have been held back from having as much treatment as they should by cost concerns. So he’s very enthusiastic about the new level of public confidence Bupa’s expanding role as a dental care provider is creating.
“The mouth is the gateway to the body,” says Ved, the principal of Bupa owned Healthy Smiles Dental Group in Blackburn, an eastern suburb of Melbourne. “Your digestive system starts in the mouth, and current research is exploring the co-relationship between dental issues and chronic disease. Dental caries and gum disease are being linked to conditions like diabetes and heart disease.”
Australians spend over five billion dollars on dental treatment each year, but more preventative care could help reduce that amount. So there are also more dramatic advantages to seeing your dentist before there’s a problem.
While he acknowledges that many people get nervous about the treatment itself, for Ved its finance that’s “the number one factor in the neglect of oral health.” He has observed that patients with ancillary cover are more proactive about having check-ups. “The first thing patients do after taking out private cover is book a dental appointment.”
Dental Corporation became a part of Bupa eighteen months ago. Bupa now has some 200 dental practices, over half of which are part of the Bupa’s Members First network, including Healthy Smiles Dental Group.
Ved feels a lot of new patients walk into other dental practices with some trepidation, but the Bupa brand gives first-time patients at Healthy Smiles Dental Group immediate confidence in the quality of care. “It creates a lot of instant goodwill, and that’s a very important thing,” he says.
...Bupa dental practices will quickly become synonymous with “the best value for your money, hassle-free dentistry and the highest quality care.”
Bupa Dental Corporation’s plans are to continue to grow the business and acquire new practices – provided they’re the right ones.
“We’re looking at the top end of the market,” explains Chris Chambers, Executive Director of Bupa Dental Corporation. “That’s why we attract great clinicians like Ved, who are just focussed on the best clinical outcomes.”
As a co-founder of Dental Corporation, Chris has seen how the strength of the Bupa brand has boosted the network’s ability to attract both top operators and new patients. “I think we can really transform the business in a way we couldn’t have without Bupa,” he says. “They’ve been fantastic partners and having the blue cube sprinkled across the network really helps – piggybacking on the outstanding job Bupa’s done of positioning itself in the marketplace.”
Bupa Dental Corporation is also now able to promote the practices direct to Bupa members, who get the best possible rebate if they choose a Members First or Bupa co-branded practice as well as being attracted by the Bupa-wide commitment to care.
“When Bupa took over Dental Corporation, we were just ecstatic, because we could see the potential,” says Ved. He believes the Bupa dental practices will quickly become synonymous with “the best value for your money, hassle-free dentistry - because you know exactly what the fee is and what your insurance will cover - and the highest quality care.”
To show its confidence in the quality of its practices’ care, Bupa Dental Corporation has adopted the practice accreditation standards launched by the Australian Dental Association just last year. “While it’s voluntary for the industry,” says Chris, “we’re taking the viewpoint that it’s mandatory for our practices.”
Ved sees accreditation as “the biggest bonus we could ever have.”
For him, its official recognition of the high standards he has always maintained and that the public now associate with the Bupa brand.
AT A GLANCE
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