11 Aug 2011

Northland children to get better dental care

5:11 am on 11 August 2011

Northland Health says that for the first time in 15 years it has its full quota of 26 dental therapists, meaning it is now able to provide a better service for Northland children.

The Northland region suffered a chronic shortage of dental therapists from the mid-1990s until 2007 and there was a wait of up to two years between check-ups for many children.

The head of dentistry for Northland Health, Neil Croucher, says the situation has now changed, thanks to the introduction of a new dental therapy programme in Auckland.

The school opened in 2001 and produced its first graduates in 2004.

Mr Croucher says those graduates are now moving to jobs outside Auckland and Northland Health can look forward to a stream of new graduates looking for positions each year.

He says this means school children in the region should be able to have annual oral health check-ups by early next year.

The region's Maori children have some of the worst oral health stats in Aotearoa.