IN FOCUS: Public dental service with a smile

Manager Dental Services Peter Daffy and patient, Jenny McKinley. (Photo supplied)

By Carole Levy

Did you know that three in 10 people either delay or avoid a visit to the dentist because of the cost? In fact, in 2016/17, about 70,200 hospitalisations across Australia for dental conditions may have been prevented with earlier treatment.

Luckily, Melton and Moorabool residents can access a public dental service through Djerriwarrh Health Services.

Two clinics treat patients – a general clinic and a student clinic. Both offer dental checks, dentures and emergency treatment for healthcare and pension cardholders only.


The student clinic

Under the supervision of qualified dentists, the student clinic is staffed by 4th and 5th year dental students from LaTrobe University. It has 10 dental chairs, and provides free dental treatment for the community.


The general clinic

The general clinic has two dental chairs, with fully qualified dentists and dental therapists providing the service. A small fee is incurred for the general dental clinic – to view prices, visit or visit Melton Health and request a brochure.

Both dental clinics also offer a ‘sit and wait’ service for emergency patients who are in extreme pain. Patients who arrive for this service are attended to in order of arrival time and severity of condition, with the ‘sit and wait’ service starting at 8.30am Monday-Friday.

Due to the high demand, there is a wait list for both dental clinics. Priority treatment applies to children, and dental staff will assess eligibility during an initial consultation. Bookings can be made via self-referral – call 9747 7609.

Djerriwarrh Health Services Dental Clinic is one of more than 60 public dental agencies funded through Dental Health Services Victoria, as well as receiving funding through state and federal governments.

Clinical staff from Djerriwarrh have begun visits to some primary schools and childcare facilities in the area, and anticipate expanding the program to include residential care facilities to identify and treat any dental issues early and provide oral health education and dental screening.

This financial year, the dental clinic has seen 4825 patients, with more than 40 per cent of them emergency cases.


Djerriwarrh Health Service Dental Clinics, 195-209 Barries Road, Melton. Opens 8.30am-5pm Monday-Friday (closed public holidays). Inquiries: 9747 7609 or