I have treated many patients who reported to me that the Child Dental Benefits Schedule (CDBS) gave them the opportunity to have their first dental treatment after many years.
For families with low incomes and particularly those families with several kids, the CDBS is perhaps the only way these children would have the opportunity to see a dentist, to fix or prevent dental problems, and get them into a good dental habit that will carry them into their adult life.
One sad example was a sixteen-year-old girl who told me that it was her first ever dental visit and that without the CDBS, her parents wouldn’t have cared to bring her in. This sixteen-year-old patient presented without any pain nor concerns about her dental health. We quickly diagnosed and fixed a big and obvious (at least to us) decay, with a “routine” dental filling. My message to her and her parents on the importance of regular dental visits in preventing small cavities becoming larger problems was also greatly appreciated. The delivery of this message and the vital preventative treatment for this patient was not possible without the CDBS.
The CDBS and our dental filling had prevented this child and young adult from losing her permanent molar tooth. It also saved her family the substantial costs of keeping this tooth because the problem was diagnosed and treated earlier. We have also averted the public health system of the enormous costs if she later attended a public hospital for emergency treatment for her dental pain.
The advertisements about the eligibility criteria for the CDBS has also made patients aware of the importance of the dentist’s role in dental care and prevention. When the government is willing to pay for a publicly funded service, the community will grasp better the concept that “dental care” at the dentist is an important health consideration. Axing the CDBS would otherwise send the wrong message to the public at large and undermine the dental profession’s years of work on public awareness campaign of dental diseases.
Help keep the Medicare Child Dental Benefits Schedule alive by signing the following petition: