Apart from eating a well-balanced diet and regular brushing and flossing, dental visits are crucial for maintaining oral health for everyone. Anyone with dental health problems can visit Ngati Porou Hauora Dental Health Service in Ruatoria. There is a dentist available by appointment most days.
Adult patients age 18 and over can make an appointment with the dentist by phoning the clinic on (06) 864 8704. Low cost dental treatment can include check-ups, fillings, root canals, x-rays, advice on gum disease, tooth ache and pain relief. Treatment can also include scales and polishes with oral health education and instruction.
Patients needing a greater level of care may then be referred to the Mobile Surgical Services bus. This operating theatre on wheels visits the area every six weeks with former Ngati Porou Hauora dentist Tony Dey on board.
Poor oral health and pain and suffering in the mouth can have a significant impact on quality of life - so awareness of regular brushing is the message for children and adolescents. Unfortunately Tairawhiti has the second highest rate of dental decay. Ngati Porou Hauora’s dental health team are working hard to change that.
The dental team screens the dental health of local adolescents aged 13-18 years. They see students from Te Kura Kaupapa Maori o Te Waiu o Ngati Porou, Ngata Memorial College, Te Waha O Rerekohu Area School, Te Kura Kaupapa Maori o Kawakawa mai Tawhiti, Taonga Tuturu o Tokomaru Bay and Tolaga Bay Area School. A recall system is in place for adolescent dental treatment.
Free dental care is available for babies and children from 0-12 years from the visiting Tairawhiti District Health mobile dental service.
Ngati Porou Hauora’s Dental Health Service is a proud participant in the national Gateway programme offering students work experience within the service scope of dentistry.
Ngati Porou Hauora’s dental service is also proud to be a part of University of Otago’s Bachelor of Dental Studies programme. The students come annually to the Ruatoria dental clinic to gain experience and expand their knowledge within a clinical environment and the community.