The next piece of the puzzle in the north is dental
If eyes are the window to the soul, a person’s mouth and smile are the window to their current and future health.
Often dental care is mistakenly considered simply cosmetic; however, poor oral health is associated with many major causes of mortality and morbidity including lung and oral cancers, cardiovascular disease, stroke, diabetes, and adverse pregnancy outcomes.
And yet some patients are waiting too long for an appointment, during which time warning signs can be missed and preventative measures, early intervention, education and referrals are reduced.
Our initial aim for Project North is to raise $2.5 million to relocate the dental service at Corio Community Health Centre to Barwon Health North, Norlane.
The move will make it possible for up to an additional 5,000 people to receive urgent and necessary dental care each year.
The service is free for children under 12 and adults who hold a health care or pensioner card, but the Corio team is currently operating from an aged facility that no longer meets the needs of the community it serves.
Narrow doors and corridors present major challenges for wheelchair access while small treatment rooms make it difficult for a patient’s family, carer, translator or support person to fit comfortably in the space – an important step in reducing fear.
Demand has been steadily increasing with population growth but infrastructure conditions prevent the needed expansion.
A new integrated facility would help recruit and retain the brightest minds to care for the community in the North.
Relocating dental from Corio Community Health will also allow the mental health service currently located there to expand.