Media Release - 21/04/10
The Canterbury District Health Board (CDHB) opened new community dental clinics in Kaiapoi and Rangiora today (21 April).
The clinics are part of a major change to the way oral health care services are being delivered to primary and intermediate school children across the country.
CDHB’s first community dental clinic was opened in May last year at Ashburton Hospital. Kaiapoi’s community dental clinic is in the Kaiapoi Borough School grounds with the entrance off Raven Quay. The Rangiora community dental clinic is in the Rangiora Hospital Grounds in Ashley Street.
The CDHB will spend $13.3 million upgrading its Community Dental Service for children at primary and intermediate school. The upgrade will see most of the region’s 120 school dental clinics replaced by 12 ‘multi-chair’ community clinics, including Kaiapoi and Rangiora, supported by 18 campervan-style mobile clinics.
The changes are part of the Government’s overall commitment to improving oral health care services for children and adolescents.
Sixteen of the 18 mobile clinics will visit schools in the CDHB area from Ashburton to Rangiora. The other two mobile clinics will provide a full range of dental treatment for children in rural areas, including the Hurunui district and the area on State Highway 72 from Oxford in North Canterbury to Mayfield in Mid Canterbury.
Under the new system, the mobile clinics will see children for check ups. If they need further dental work, such as fillings, children will attend one of 12 community clinics, which will be opened in stages over the next three years.
“The new Kaiapoi and Rangiora dental clinics will allow us to focus more on preventative dental care within the local communities and improve the oral health of North Canterbury’s young people,” said the Community Dental Service’s Service Manager Megan Gibbs.
All children under 18 in the CDHB area are eligible for free dental care. Once children reach high school, they are able to register with a private dentist who will provide free services until they are 18.
“High school children will continue to be offered a comprehensive service by private dentists,” Megan Gibbs said.
Building has commenced for two other community dental clinics at Hillmorton and Hornby in Christchurch, and planning for a further five is well advanced.
“Sites for the clinics were chosen based on the areas with the highest need for dental care and after discussions with schools and other interested parties,” said Megan Gibbs.
An open afternoon is being held at both the Kaiapoi and Rangiora community dental clinics on Friday 23 April from 1.30pm until 4.30pm. Everyone is welcome to attend.