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Free Dental Care A Thing Of The Past

Free Dental Care A Thing Of The Past

Many adolescents no longer receive any free dental treatment despite the fact that it is supposedly available to teenagers says New Zealand First health spokesperson, Barbara Stewart.

“This was one of the key concerns expressed by adolescents at the Children’s Rights Symposium in Wellington last week and it should also be a matter of concern to the Government.

“In past years free dental treatment was supplied by dentists who had signed General Dental Benefits Contracts with District Health Boards. However dentists have found contracts to treat adolescent patients are insufficiently funded to make it worth their while and many no longer offer the service. It is now very difficult to find a dentist who gives free treatment to high school students,” said Mrs Stewart.

“This is unfortunate but understandable as they cannot subsidise what should be a government responsibility.

“Parents who can afford to pay for dental care for their children do so but other teenagers miss out entirely.

“The consequences of going without dental care can be serious and extremely costly in later years. The provision of basic dental care for teenagers is vital and the Government must either ensure that DHB’s employ dentists for this purpose or extend school dental services,” said Mrs Stewart.

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