Organisation: Dental Health Services Victoria 

Contact Person: Amy Patterson, Rana Yawary

Contact Email Address: Amy.Patterson@dhsv.org.au Rana.Yawary@dhsv.org.au    

Abstract

Dental care is one of the most prevalent and costly chronic health problems experienced by Australians, particularly children. The demand for treatment at the Royal Dental Hospital of Melbourne under general anaesthetic (GA) is unprecedented and consequently waiting list times are increasing. The provision of dental treatment under GA should only be considered after all other pharmacological behavioural management options (e.g. relative analgesia (nitrous oxide) and conscious sedation) have been exhausted. These modalities are more cost effective than GA and present lower risk of peri and post-operative complications. They have been successfully used within the private dental and public specialist dental sector for many years. This project will develop and implement a clinical pathway for patients requiring dental care utilising pharmacological behaviour management techniques in public oral health agencies. It will primarily focus on rural and regional areas with the potential for scalability statewide. The project will ensure primary care oral health agencies are equipped to provide care, where patients were previously referred to tertiary institutions for treatment under GA. Patients will benefit from receiving their care locally and from fewer general anaesthetics. The tertiary public dental system will benefit from timely access and more appropriate use of GA for those most in need.