Parties urged to boost dental funding to cut long wait times, invest in programs for aged care residents

As the bones in 69-year-old Barbara’s jaw started to disintegrate, her teeth began to fall out.

The public servant from Parkes, New South Wales immediately went to a specialist dentist, where she was told a combination of factors — including osteoporosis — meant she would need a full set of oral implants. 

The out-of-pocket costs totalled almost $70,000.

Barbara, who does not wish to be identified with her full name, said she was forced to withdraw money from her mortgage offset account to cover the costs. 

“I just had to deal with it, end of story. There wasn’t a lot of other options,” she said. 

“But I thought ‘what do other people do?’. What really hit home was the fact that there’s so many people in Australia, whether they have private health insurance or not, who can’t afford to do that.”

Disability pensioner Michael Powell has been told he could be waiting up to eight years for dental help.(ABC News: Alexander Papp)

One of those people is Michael Powell, 62, who lives near Ipswich in Queensland.

Michael’s teeth have been a major problem for the past decade, and he desperately needs teeth extractions and dentures.

“They have deteriorated over time with age and now I have less than eight teeth left to clean and have a basic meal at night,” he said.

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