Dental Waiting Times Blowout
According to new data released by the Australian Dental Association Victorian Branch (ADAVB) waiting times for dental care in Victoria have ballooned over the past 12 months as the impact of restrictions on access to basic dental care begins to bite.
“There are more than 1.5 million Australian adults who are eligible to access public dental care in Victoria, but only 175,000 were able to receive care in the past 12 months, a decrease of over 70,000 patients from the previous year,” ADAVB CEO A/Prof Matt Hopcraft reported. “Public dental waiting times have now increased on average to 22.7 months across Victoria, the worst delays in care this decade. This average hides the dire story across the state, with many patients forced to wait more than three years.”
At Select Smiles, we believe that everyone deserves their best smile and access to the very best oral care, so in response we have increased our operating hours from 7.30am to 8.00pm Monday to Thursday and 7.30am to 5.00pm on Fridays during the current lockdown restrictions to provide as much capacity to provide urgent dental care to our existing and new patients.
Dr. Nick Trevlopoulos, Principal Dentist stated:
“I’m very concerned with the delays that patients in Victoria in need of dental care face currently. The data released by the ADAVB indicates we are facing a real problem as a result of the ongoing lockdowns we have experienced in response to the Covid-19 pandemic. These delays are masking another problem we will need to address when we return to Covid normal, in that a lot of non-urgent dental care has been deferred due to the lockdowns we have experienced across Melbourne and regional Victoria. Recent history has shown us that as we emerge from each period of lockdown, we have seen many patients with problems, that could have been managed through moderate treatment that have progressed to more serious problems. For example, tooth decay that could have been treated with a simple filling now needing more intrusive treatments such as root canal treatment or even extraction because this care was delayed.”
Dr. Trevlopoulos expanded further, “Oral health is essential to overall health and wellbeing. There are links between poor oral health and general diseases such as type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Poor oral health can lead to pain and tooth loss, if untreated, it can eventually affect nutrition, general health and can become an obstacle to a full and active life.”
“Our team at Select Smiles has recognised the issues these lockdowns are creating and has responded by working longer hours to enable all our patients, existing and new, every opportunity to have their oral health issues addressed in a timely manner in our safe and hygienic clinical environment,” he said. “By expanding our clinic practice hours within the current lockdown guidelines, we are receiving all patients that require urgent dental care helping them avoid long delays to access this care”.
“We invite you to call us at Select Smiles and avoid putting off the critical care you require,” Dr. Trevlopoulos urged, adding, “we are taking every precaution and have adopted a robust CovidSafe plan as mandated by the Department of Health which follows the Government’s guidelines and protocols. We continually monitor our implementation and consult with the ADAVB and DHS to ensure we remain vigilant and can maintain the very best care to our patients in a CovidSafe environment. This is just another example of how we at Select Smiles, are committed to our patients and to making the world a better place, one smile at a time.”