Preventing COVID-19 Cavities with Dr Jack Wang

22 November 2021

Cartoon of a sad tooth as representative of Covid Cavities

We sat down with Dr Jack Wang - Senior Dental Manager to ask him about how people can prevent developing COVID-19 Cavities.

Tell me about your role at healthAbility?

I started in April 2020 as the Clinical Manager of Dental Services at both locations – Eltham and Box Hill.

I’ve been a dentist for 16 years and graduated from the University of Melbourne. I was inspired to become a dentist when I was a child and was fascinated by the technology and instruments that the dentists used.

What are COVID Cavities?

During COVID-19 lockdowns over the past 18 months, we have observed a trend that we have called ‘COVID Cavities’. During this time, dental services were restricted to emergencies only. As a result, people have been unable to get their routine check-ups, including teeth cleaning, which puts them at risk of any dental issues becoming worse. They may also not be aware of problems as they haven’t been able to get screened.

As well as not being able to access routine dental services, during lockdowns we have also noticed that people are more likely to develop less healthy habits, such as increased snacking and eating more sugary foods. Combined with changes in oral health routines due to spending more time at home, this can potentially increase a person’s risk of developing ‘COVID Cavities’.

What affect has COVID-19 had on the dental practice?

For our public patients, who are often at-risk community members or those with complex needs, waiting lists have extended for both general dental treatments and dentures.

This has resulted in significant waiting periods before patients can get their oral health checked. As a result, they have had to receive dental treatment on an emergency to emergency basis, which is not ideal. We hope that with routine dental services now running again, more people can receive treatment earlier, before it becomes an emergency.

What should people do if they have been neglecting their oral health during lockdown?

Make an appointment to get a full dental check-up as soon as you’re able to. This check-up will include an examination and possible x-rays. Don’t wait for pain, as the problem may require more invasive treatment than if it was detected early.

If you feel like you’ve neglected your oral health or developed poorer oral health habits during lockdown, don’t worry! A visit to a dental professional can help you get back on track and ensure your smile is as healthy as it can be.

Why is it important to maintain a regular oral health routine while people are working/studying from home?

Maintaining oral health is critical to a person’s overall health and wellbeing. Good health starts with the mouth - if a person’s mouth isn’t healthy, it can affect their ability to eat and smile, and pain can affect their mental wellbeing too.

If you are spending more time at home, try to maintain a good oral health routine, including brushing your teeth and gums with a fluoride toothpaste morning and night, drinking plenty of tap water, and limiting food and drinks that contain added sugars.

I have heard that if parents are concerned about the cost of their children’s dental care, they may have access to Federal funding. Can you tell me a bit about the Federal Government’s Child Dental Benefit Scheme?

The Child Dental Benefits Scheme (CDBS) is a government voucher scheme for eligible families to access up to $1,000 every two years per child for dental treatment.

At healthAbility we bulk bill eligible families under the CDBS where there are no gap or out-of-pocket payments. This helps families to cover the cost of their child’s basic and essential dental services like check-ups, mouth guards, fillings and preventative treatments.

About healthAbility

Good oral health is an important factor in maintaining overall health, so we offer affordable dental care to everyone in our community.

Our experienced team of dental professionals will provide your family with affordable, quality dental care. We are proud of the level of personalised service and quality dentistry that we provide to our patients.

We offer the unique combination of private and publicly funded dental care to ensure we can care for the community’s varying oral health needs.

Our range of dental services include:

To make an appointment with our friendly dental professionals contact us on (03) 9430 9100.

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