The number of people who need to go to the dentist every year in Melbourne is on the rise, and with that comes an increased demand for the service.
Read moreA new study by dental health provider AICOM and the Melbourne Dental Society has revealed that more than 5.3 million people aged 18 and over are in need of a dental appointment every year, with many of those being in areas with high rates of poor health.
It’s a trend that is being felt across Australia, with dental services in the capital, Melbourne, and in the south and east also seeing a rise in demand.
“The average waiting time to get a dental consultation in Melbourne has increased from 18 days to 22 days in the past four years,” Dr Sarah Brown, the dental health program director for AICO, said.
“Dentists are seeing more patients who are more likely to require a dental visit because they have a chronic health condition or need to have their teeth cleaned.”
Dr Brown said that in Melbourne alone, people are waiting more than 60 days to get dental care, and the need for dental care is increasing because of the rising number of dental patients.
“We’re seeing more people coming in for care, with a more aggressive increase in demand,” she said.
Dr Brown’s organisation has launched a campaign to raise awareness about the issue of dental care for the general population, and encourages anyone who has had a dental procedure to get their opinion.
“People are more than happy to get the care they need in a timely manner,” she explained.
“That’s what we’re hoping to do.”
Dr Andrew Macdonald, the managing director of the dental practice of Melbourne’s South Coast, said he was concerned about the rising demand for dental treatment.
“There is a concern among the dental profession that we have an increasing number of older people needing dental treatment, and we need to do a better job of ensuring they’re treated properly,” he said.
Dental health provider Dr Brown said while there was no doubt that dental care was important, it was also vital that dental appointments were as timely as possible.
“It’s important to have dental appointments as soon as possible, as soon a patient comes in, to get them to be on the spot and to have a good oral health history,” she told News.COM.AU.
The new study found that the number of patients who need dental care every year is increasing by a significant margin, from around 4.3 per cent in 2012 to 5.7 per cent last year.
The study also revealed that in Victoria, the most popular region for dental visits, the waiting times to get care have increased from 22 days to 26 days, and that in the state of South Australia, the number waiting to get appointments is on track to increase by more than a third.