Dental van has huge success

A DENTAL van located at the Ballarat and District Aboriginal Co-operative only opened its doors this week - but it's already had a huge impact on aboriginal health.BADOC has recorded a 100 per cent rise in health checks since the dental service was announced three months ago.To get an appointment at the van, BADOC, in partnership with Ballarat Health Services, has made it compulsory to have a medical check-up first.BHS dental clinic manager Tracey Wilson said aboriginal health checks had risen 100 per cent since October, compared to the previous eight months."There have already been significant issues that need to be followed up and referred on," Ms Wilson said.She said the single surgery mobile dental van would operate at BADOC ``all day, everyday'', apart from the Christmas break."We expect to see about 40 to 50 assessments done this week."BADOC chief executive officer Karen Heap said there were currently 150 people on the dental van waiting list, with many of them having already had their medical check-up."It's generated a lot of work, but it's a good workload," Ms Heap said."If we're able to catch some of those issues, then it's all about closing the gap. It's a holistic way of looking at health."So many aboriginal people have major dental problems which become chronic diseases."BHS chief executive officer Andrew Rowe said the van would make an enormous difference to the region's aboriginal community.Dental Health Services Victoria chief executive Felix Pintado said DHSV was looking after the dental needs of all Victorians, but especially the disadvantaged.