STAFFORDSHIRE Reef resident Annette Haycock has put off going to a dentist for 12 years because of the cost.
Ms Haycock, who works full-time as a laboratory technician, says dental care has become unaffordable for the average person.
She says that despite developing a toothache she is still hesitant to have it checked out.
“Because it’s been so long, it’s a big hassle to find a dentist and gauge how much it’s going to cost for me to go in and gave a check-up and get any work done,” she said.
The federal budget last night delivered $515 million for dental health including $346 million over three years for a public waiting list blitz, as well as funding to encourage more dentists to work in country areas.
Ms Haycock said anything the government could do to reduce waiting lists was a step in the right direction.
“I think more needs to be done,” she said.
“I work full time so I’m probably not eligible to be on the waiting list.
“If there are more dentists at least there’s a choice of who I see.”
She says between her mortgage, her rates and the cost of everyday living, there’s little room in her budget for other things.
“We’re not even talking about $50 or $60, it’s in the hundreds for one visit,” she said.
“Most people can’t afford it. I know I can’t.
“I think the whole structure needs to be looked at.
“It’s just unrealistic to expect families to pay that.”
The last time Ms Haycock visited a dentist was an experience she’d rather forget.
Ms Haycock said she had three impacted wisdom teeth and went on a public dental waiting list for a subsidised service in Melbourne.
She took herself off the list after realising she would have to wait for up to five years.
Ms Haycock ended up paying privately but had a bad experience during the procedure.
She said she had never been back because of the cost and the pain.