November 10 2015

NEXT STEP SUCCESS!

“Hello my name is Mereoni Foster and I’m 19yrs old. I was put into foster care at the age of 11 and last year I transitioned out of care at 18. However I still needed assistance to pay for medical bills. I believe Next Step After Care is a great organisation that are always there to give a helping hand to children like us. Because of Next Step, I successfully had 4 painful wisdom teeth removed and no bills to worry about. Next Step After Care were also there for support throughout my operation and rehabilitation. If I could give any advice to other children transitioning out of foster care, don’t be afraid to ask Next Step After Care for help,” (Mereoni Foster, 27 October 2015).

Dental fear (also called denta-phobia, odontophobia, dentophobia, dentist phobia, and dental anxiety) is the fear of dentistry and of receiving dental care. Associations have been found between dental fear and less frequent dental visiting; poorer oral health, and greater functional impairment[1]. It has been suggested that dental anxiety and fear may be a central aspect of a cycle of dental disadvantage[2].

Another issue that contributes to dental hygiene neglect are dental fees. People are now experiencing an additional anxiety that surrounds their dental visits – other than a fear of pain. We are talking about the painful expenses inflicted upon bank accounts. For young people transitioning out of care, dental fees can be a staggering inconvenience: particularly, when they have only just begun to successfully navigate household bills and expenses.

The average cost in Queensland of a comprehensive oral exam and cleaning (the removal of plaque and or stains) is $113.74[3]. As a foundation, these two services colour the strongly recommended bi-annual dental check-ups. Any other services, which may pertain to tooth removal, fillings, orthodontics etc., incur a far higher fee. Oftentimes, transition to independence and the emergence of wisdom teeth coincide for a multitude of young people.

Mereoni Foster is one such young person who recognised that the dental expense and recovery time of having her wisdom teeth removed could been a financial anxiety. She recognised that Next Step After Care have brokerage for every young person in Queensland who ages out of care. By tapping into her brokerage, Mereoni was able to undergo her dental procedure with a little extra help from Next Step After Care to make her dentist visit as painless as possible.

Mereoni took it upon herself to contact Next Step After Care to share her testimony about how Next Step helped her. Her advice to you is: “If I could give any advice to other children transitioning out of foster care, don’t be afraid to ask Next Step After Care for help.” If you require some financial assistance, from purchasing furniture, laptops or whitegoods, to getting payment for driving lessons and dental bills, don’t be afraid to ask Next Step After Care for help. Call or text 1800 NEXT STEP today for assistance.

[1] Dental fear in Australia: who’s afraid of the dentist? (Armfield; Spencer; Stewart, 2005)

[2] Dental fear in Australia: who’s afraid of the dentist? (Armfield et al)

[3] Average dental charges 2014 (Australian Government)

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