11 September 2020
Call on government to remove restrictions on accessing necessary dental care
The Australian Dental Association Victorian Branch (ADAVB) is calling on the Victorian Government to remove the restrictions to only perform urgent dental treatment in the interests of the health of people in Melbourne.
When Stage 4 restrictions were introduced, one of the requirements was that only urgent dental treatment could be performed. Whilst this was seen as a necessary step to restrict the movement of people at the peak of the pandemic in Victoria, there are significant concerns now that keeping restrictions in place is harming dental health.
Some of the major areas of concern include:
- An increase in patients presenting for emergency treatment including broken teeth, swelling and infected wisdom teeth
- An increased risk of oral infection spreading, which can lead to hospitalisation
- Restricted access to general anaesthetic services so patients with infected wisdom teeth are having to be treated with antibiotics instead of definitive treatment
- Increased anxiety level for patients not able to have existing treatments completed and potentially leading to more complex treatments
- Patients undergoing orthodontic treatment having to delay their regular appointments, potentially compromising their care
- Lack of routine screening for serious conditions like oral cancer
- No government funding and limited private health insurance rebates for teledentistry
- Patients with chronic conditions like periodontal (gum) disease not receiving ongoing maintenance compromising the general health, with poorly managed gum disease associated with other health problems like heart disease and diabetes.