Waiting lists for dental treatment under the public health system are now up to more than 19 months for general care, and 17 months for denture care.
The State Government claims this is a result of a 30% funding cut by the Federal Government, aggravated by the state's expanding population. This forces more than 140,000 disadvantaged Victorians who cannot afford private dental care to wait longer, or miss out altogether.
On 24 May, State Minister for Health Jill Hennessy announced $12.1 million in State Government funding to reduce delays for dental treatment. This will ensure our dental services have the resources they need to begin treating more than 18,300 people, currently on a waiting list, by the end of June.
The State Government’s package also includes $760,000 for fluoride varnish for kids in disadvantaged communities, $600,000 to train dental clinics with alternative sedations to general anaesthetics, and $720,000 for oral care education.
Some dental clinics make a special point of putting children’s dental health first. The four dentists at Smart Choice Dental, in Maidstone, combine their technical skills with an ability to relate well to children, providing quality, affordable dental care for the whole family.
Dental conditions are the top cause of avoidable hospital admission for kids under ten, and the third highest for all age groups. In 2015/16, more than 5,500 kids had to have a general anaesthetic for preventable dental conditions.