LONG waits to see a dentist in Maroondah and Yarra Ranges look to continue, despite the federal government last week announcing a $515.3million blitz on public dental waiting lists.
Health Minister Tanya Plibersek said $345.9million would be directed over the next three years to treat people on waiting lists.
This would target more than 400,000 people on public dental waiting lists around the country.
The most recent data that the Weekly was able to obtain for the Ringwood East dental clinic showed a consistent waiting period of 24 months for general dental and 36 months for dentures.
In Lilydale, waits for general dental are hovering around 23months and 35months for dentures.
Peter Ruzyla, chief executive officer for EACH social and community health, said more capital funding was needed.
He said there had not been capital funding in the Maroondah area for dental care since the clinic opened in 1986.
The Ringwood East clinic is only a three-chair dental practice - and only two of these are in operation as the cost of running all three was too high. Most modern clinics had 10 chairs, which was what Mr Ruzyla said was needed for Maroondah. "The amount of dental work generated is limited to the amount of chairs you have. We have seen a lot of growth in this corridor and the demographic has changed, but there has been absolutely no change or growth in the availability of public dental services in that time.
"It is not only about the long wait lists but also that people's health is going backwards. It's a clear case of a neglected community in need."
Mr Ruzyla said now that the federal government had shown interest in investing in public dental health, the state government could follow suit and invest in capital works.
Australian Dental Association Victorian branch president Matthew Hopcraft said although the funding was welcome there were concerns about the government's plans to scrap the Medicare Chronic Diseases Dental Scheme, which could result in an increase in people on the waiting list.
"We know there are long waiting lists and we are very concerned about that," Professor Hopcraft said.
"But to take out that billion-dollar Medicare scheme and replace it with this funding is not enough."