Australia is on the list not because of poor conditions or problems with the quality of care, but rather for the time you have to wait to see a dentist. In some areas, patients are waiting up to 3 years to see a dentist, which goes against the most basic advice from dentists, who recommend at least one check-up per year. The longer you leave seeing your dentist for a routine appointment, the higher the risk of dental disease, but if you cannot see a dentist, what are you supposed to do?
Somalia is a war-torn country, which has suffered decades of extreme poverty. Healthcare services are extremely basic and most people do not have access to routine health care, let alone dental care. The ration of patients to dentists is incredibly high and many people go through life without ever seeing a dentist. If you suffer from dental pain in Somalia it may be possible to see a dentist in a major city, but if you’re out in the country or living in a smaller town, the chances are that you will end up either going without treatment or relying on an untrained practitioner, often known as a kind of teacher, who will use traditional techniques and sometimes practices based on alternative medicine, which may be painful and ineffective.
This may surprise you as the USA is widely regarded as the most influential and powerful country in the world; however, if you look at statistics for dental care in the US, you may be shocked. Prices for treatment are very high, making dental treatment inaccessible to millions, there is a severe shortage of dentists willing to treat patients who have low incomes or no insurance, and the queues for free clinics stretch for miles, with many travelling long distances and waiting overnight in adverse weather conditions just to see a dentist for free. President Obama is planning to try and improve the American health system, but it remains to be seen whether or not dental patients will see a significant change.
India is an emerging nation with a very bright future, but standards of health are extremely poor and the country ranks lower than many of its neighbours and other countries of a similar size. Standards of oral health in India are very poor, especially in rural areas, where almost all children show signs of tooth decay before they reach school age and oral health education is lacking across most of the country. There are some very smart clinics in the big cities, but access to dental care is a major problem for many Indians and oral health diseases are rife.