26 September 2023

Regional kids open up for free dental service

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Children in regional areas are to receive free specialised dental care closer to home with new hubs to be established under the public health system.

Announcing the new hubs in the Bendigo, Geelong and Latrobe Valley regions, the Minister for Health, Mary-Anne Thomas said the hubs would expand the metro Melbourne service and save parents time, money and hassle when it came to their child’s health.

“The hubs will offer a range of specialised dental care that not all general dentists are able to provide, including in areas such as paediatric dentistry, oral surgical care and treatment for children with special needs,” Ms Thomas said.

“This means children in regional areas will no longer have to travel long distances to Melbourne to receive treatment through the public health system,” she said.

“Additionally, the hubs will free up appointments for adults in the public health system and shorten wait times for those who need specialised dental care.”

Ms Thomas said children could be referred to the new services through the Smile Squad program, which provides free dental care to government school students throughout the State.

She said the new hubs would also provide career opportunities for people interested in dentistry in a way that benefitted regional communities.

“The new hubs are expected to open later this year and will ultimately save families hours of travel time and will see more kids getting the specialist dental care they need closer to home,” the Minister said.

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