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.

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 92.4% seen within 24 hours
General care 17.9 months
Denture care 18.8 months
Priority denture care 2.6 months

Source: DHSV 2013 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.