The Australian Dental Association Victorian Branch recently urged the government to take a flexible approach to delivery of their school dental van program to ensure that all children have timely access to the dentist.
While access to dental care for Victorian children may be improved through this work, the ADAVB has some concerns about the program.
“Mobile dental vans are appropriate in some circumstances where families cannot readily access a dental clinic, [but] there are plenty of dentists in existing public and private clinics around Victoria that can provide quality care to children,” ADAVB president Dr Kevin Morris said, before pointing out there are 126,000 Victorian adults, who are still on public dental care waiting lists across the state.
While the average waiting time is currently 20.3 months, information obtained by the ADAVB about public dental services shows that some people are still waiting up to four years to see a dentist.
“There are adults in our community who are still waiting too long, and they need more assistance from the Victorian Government to access the dental care that they need,” Dr Morris said.
“With such long waiting times, simple dental problems that could be reversed or repaired can become complex, requiring emergency dental care and tooth extractions.”
Dr Morris added: “The government is committed to spending millions of dollars to build vans, when this money could be better spent providing treatment to children and adults in existing dental clinics in both the public and private sector.”