The Federal Budget $515.3 Million Dentistry Package

Many thanks to “The Conversation” for this enlightening post:

The Federal Budget includes $515.3 million dentistry package that will go some way to easing some of the problems with dental care in Australia. Of this total, $345.9 million will be used to treat patients on long waiting lists and providing other vital services to adults.

Medicare shows Australia has recognised that health care is a right, but oral health care has been largely excluded from that recognition. This has resulted in a social gradient in access to dental care, particularly for adults but, increasingly, for children as well.

The oral health of children has worsened since the mid-1990s. The number of school dental services that formerly provided free access to school-aged children in most states and territories have also declined.

Dental disease is now one of the most common reasons for children to have a general anesthetic in hospital. The options devised by the National Advisory Council on Oral Health to address these issues were intended to improve access to dental care for children, either by extending an existing entitlement, such as the Teen Dental Program to all children (and by including treatment), or by extending existing public services for children.

Sadly, the Budget has no specific recommendations for children’s dental care, although the money for employing oral health therapists and for oral health promotion may include a focus on children.

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