Dental wait times slashed

Waiting times for public dental appointments at Bellarine Community Health (BCH) have been dramatically reduced thanks to additional Federal Government funding provided through Dental Health Services Victoria.

Since December last year, BCH has reduced wait times for public general dental treatment from 36 months to nine months, with more than 1,700 patients offered care during that time.

BCH Dental Services Manager Robyn Bastiaan said the short-term additional funding has enabled the clinic to address the blow out in wait times which were largely due to Covid-19 restrictions over the past two years.

“The restriction of dental services to emergency only during Covid-19 did impact significantly on wait times and having this additional funding has meant we can accelerate treatment services for our patients.”

The reduction in wait times has been achieved through a combination of additional in-house appointments at BCH and a voucher system allowing patients to access services at private dental clinics.

BCH has also developed a new approach to oral health education sessions which is providing additional support for dental patients.

Group oral health information sessions with a BCH Oral Health Educator are providing patients with the knowledge, skills, and resources to broaden their understanding of what it takes to improve their oral health. Support for how to navigate the public and private dental pathways is also part of the sessions.

The Dental Services Manager said feedback on these information sessions has been overwhelmingly positive.

“Patients initially said they thought they knew how to care for their teeth but by the end of the session they were shocked by what they didn’t know.”

Dental and oral health care are key to overall health care. Oral disease can cause pain and discomfort and have a negative impact on general health and quality of life. Poor oral health can lead to higher risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, stroke, and obesity and create a financial burden for both the individual and the overall health system.

To find out more about the BCH public and private dental services call (03) 5258 0828 or email [email protected]

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