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Dental Care For Children Disappearing

Media Release
26 February 2004

Dental Care For Children Disappearing

“Primary school children referred to dentists for treatment that cannot be provided by the school dental service are often going untreated because not enough dentists have signed contracts to provide Special Dental Benefits with DHBs,” said New Zealand First health spokesperson, Barbara Stewart.

“Free dental care is a thing of the past in many areas for high school students and it is becoming difficult to obtain in some areas for under 12s as well when they are referred for treatment by a dental therapist. Dentists are unable to provide free treatment and unless parents are able to pay this group of children is going untreated,” said Mrs Stewart.

“Those with acute problems can end up on waiting lists for treatment at public hospitals and the original problem is left untreated.

“This neglect can lead to unnecessary health problems further down the track and in a developed country this should not be happening.

“In view of the increasing number of adolescents and children who are going untreated a comprehensive oral health strategy for children and young people needs to be implemented as soon as possible,” said Mrs Stewart.

ENDS

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