DOI: 10.1111/adj.13012 ISSN: 0045-0421

Commentary on the senate select committee into the provision of and access to dental services in Australia: an opportunity for reform

MS Hopcraft
  • General Dentistry


A recent Senate Select Committee has tabled its report into the provision of and access to dental care in Australia. The Senate Committee heard:

There are significant barriers for many people accessing dental care, including high costs, trauma and fear, long waiting times and inaccessible services.

There are service gaps, including a lack of special needs dentists, limited mobile services, very few Aboriginal dentists and sparse services in regional areas.

There are significant impacts of poor oral health, including pain and suffering, shame and low self‐esteem, poor nutrition and poorer general health.

There are benefits to good oral health, including the ability to smile, eat and talk, improved confidence, increased productivity and being more employable.

There were 35 recommendations for reform centred around the need to put the mouth back in the body and covered by five broad themes:

More equitable access.

Better integration.

National data and coordination.

Awareness and education.

Culturally safe and accessible care.

This paper provides an overview of the problem and focuses on the recommended funding reforms necessary to improve access to dental care.

More from our Archive