The Nova Scotia government is investing in oral health with a focus on improving dental care for children.
The Department of Health and Wellness announced the creation of a new chief dental officer position, which will begin in January 2014. The officer will report to the chief medical officer and develop a provincial oral health strategy with a focus on children under age 5.
The province also committed $400 000 in new funding for additional staff and equipment in the pediatric dentistry department at the IWK Health Centre in Halifax. The investment will significantly increase the number of children receiving dental surgery each year and help shorten wait times. Currently, children in need of dental surgery can be waiting more than a year for their surgery.
Additionally, over the next 4 years the government will expand its Children’s Oral Health Program to eventually include children age 17 and under. The program presently covers basic dental treatment and services for children aged 13 and under. Beginning April 1, 2014, eligibility for the program will expand incrementally by one year until the age limit reaches 17.
Click here to listen to a CBC interview with Dr. Ross Anderson, chief of pediatric dentistry at the IWK Health Centre, who discusses what the funding will mean to children who need dental surgery.