A dental technician travelling to remote western Queensland communities says some people are waiting several years to get dentures.
Adrian McCarthy runs a mobile van service and calls himself ‘the denture adventurer’.
He has been working with the Central West Hospital and Health Service in the Barcaldine and Longreach areas, fitting dentures for those on waiting lists.
Mr McCarthy says correctly fitted dentures are important to people’s health but some remote residents have to wait long periods.
“Six to nine years I’ve heard – different districts in the areas I’ve been,” he said.
“You go to places and there is nothing.
“You’ve got the flying doctors and you’ve got services but they are quite a fair drive – two or three hours.
“If you’ve got a bad set of teeth it is just always there – you can’t go out, it’s like walking around with a rock in your boot.”
Mr McCarthy says some patients have had to wait years for a good set of teeth, so it is a rewarding job.
“People put up with a lot of things out here and I find as you get more remote and rural … I’ve had people turn up and they’ve got fencing wire and they’ve [stitched] their dentures together and they’ve been wearing them for six and seven months … some pretty wild stuff,” he said.
“It’s great – you have that day where you fit all the dentures and you have that high.”