DHSV news and media stories

Information for media


Who are we
Media contacts
Public dental services
Oral disease and its costs
Waiting times
Our stories, our people, our patients links to another page

Who are we

Dental Health Services Victoria provides clinical dental services through The Royal Dental Hospital of Melbourne and purchases dental services for public patients from community health agencies throughout Victoria. It also plays the leading role in Victoria in developing and delivering oral health promotion programs designed to prevent oral disease and improve oral health in the community.

Read more about Dental Health Services Victoria

Media contacts
Suzana Talevski
Tel: 0407 961 413
Mingsia Lee
Tel: 03 9341 1139

Available for interview by arrangement

Dr Deborah Cole DHSV CEO

Dr Deborah Cole - Chief Executive Officer
BDS, GradDipHealthAdmin, MBA, GradCertLead&CathCulture, FAICD, FAIM

Appointed in February 2011, Deborah brings considerable experience in managing major public healthcare organisations, having held CEO positions at Calvary Health Care and Yarra City Council as well as senior executive positions at Mercy Health and St Vincent’s Health. Deborah has also had senior management experience in the oral health sector as Director of The Royal Dental Hospital of Melbourne from 1995-1999 and Regional Director of the South Australian Dental Service.

Dr Debra Elsby

Dr Debra Elsby - Acting Head of Unit, Paediatric Dentistry & Research
BDS, MFDS (RCPS Glas), DCD (Paed Dent)

Debra has been part of the team at The Royal Dental Hospital of Melbourne since immigrating to Australia in 2010. She is passionate about improving the oral health of children. Her interests and experience lies in the treatment of patients with special needs and those who are anxious in the dental setting. She also loves teaching students and giving lectures to clinicians for continued professional development in relation to paediatric dentistry.

Dr Sophie Beaumont – Dentist, Primary Care and Teaching Department

Dr Sophie Beaumont - Dentist, Primary Care and Teaching Department
BDS, BSci Dent Hons, MPH

Sophie is a public health dentist with more than 20 years experience. She completed a Master of Public Health in 2004, and has worked in both public and private dental practice. Sophie is passionate about public health and in providing quality oral healthcare to the disadvantaged members of her community. Sophie is concerned about the impact of sugar in society, not only on general health but also the effects on oral health and how it affects a person's well-being.

Associate Professor Matthew Hopcraft - Clinical Advisor - Primary Care

Associate Professor Matthew Hopcraft - Clinical Advisor, Primary Care

Matthew has held the position of Clinical Advisor – Primary Care (The Royal Dental Hospital of Melbourne) since February 2016. He provides clinical leadership across the Primary Care Department including the development of new models of care and clinical governance. Matthew is a dentist with extensive experience in clinical practice, education and research. He previously held positions as the Director of Clinical Education at Melbourne Dental School and the Director of Assessments and Examinations at the Australian Dental Council, and is a Past President of the Australian Dental Association (Victorian Branch).

Interviews and background briefings can be arranged with our staff whose areas of expertise include

  • Children’s dentistry
  • Caries (dental decay)
  • Periodontics (gum disease)
  • Orthodontics
  • Implants
  • Aboriginal oral health
  • Population statistics and trends in oral health
  • Oral surgery

We also have staff able to provide clinical statements on

  • mouth rinses
  • tooth whitening
  • mouth injury
  • mouth piercings
  • the impact of foods and drinks on oral health.
Public dental services

Where are public dental services available?

  • The Royal Dental Hospital of Melbourne in Carlton
  • Public clinics located in community health centres and regional hospitals around Victoria
  • Relocatable clinics and dental vans located in high-need areas around the State that visit aged care facilities and schools for children with special needs
  • Ozanam House (for homeless men) in North Melbourne.

What services are available?

  • Emergency dental care
  • General dental care for adults, children and youth – including check-ups, cleaning and fillings
  • Specialist care at The Royal Dental Hospital of Melbourne and some community clinics - including orthodontics, periodontics, endodontics,  prosthodontics and oral surgery
  • Dentures
  • Student clinics - free treatment by students under the supervision of fully qualified and experienced dentists and oral health professionals at The Royal Dental Hospital of Melbourne and some community dental clinics.

Who can get public dental care?

  • All children aged 12 years and under
  • Adults and adolescents aged 13 years and over if they or their parents hold a health care or pensioner concession card
  • Some children and adolescents without a concession card may be eligible for treatment in certain circumstances.
Oral disease and its costs
  • Total expenditure on dental services in Australia was $8,336 million in 2011–12, an increase of $2,203 million from $6,133 million (constant prices) in 2005–06. (Source: Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) Health expenditure Australia 2012-13).
  • The major causes of dental disease are dental caries (decay) and periodontal disease (gum disease).
  • Over 95% of people born before 1970 have experienced dental decay.
  • Approximately 76% of people born in the years 1970 to 1990 have experienced dental decay.
  • Approximately one in five Australian adults has moderate (20.5% of people) or severe (2.4% of people) forms of gum disease.
    (Source: National Survey of Adult Oral Health 2004-06, Australian Institute of Health and Welfare)
  • Dental conditions make up 8% of preventable hospitalisations in Australia,
    amounting to 43,667 admissions a year.
    (Source: Atlas of Avoidable Hospitalisations, Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, published 2007, 2001/02 data).
  • In Victoria in 2006/07, there were 9,038 avoidable hospitalisations for dental conditions.
    (Source: Atlas of Potentially Avoidable Hospitalisations in Victoria: ambulatory care sensitive conditions, Victorian Department of Health, 2009).
Waiting times

Average length of wait for public dental care state-wide

Emergency care 91.5% seen within 24 hours
General care   14.6 months
Denture care    14.0 months
Priority denture care 2.2 months

Source: DHSV 2015-16 Annual Report

Information on waiting times at particular locations around Victoria is available from the Department of Health Victorian Health Services Performance website External website icon.