The prerequisite of success and good health
Over the years, it has become general knowledge that good oral health with healthy teeth is a prerequisite for good general health. In fact, most people associate a white, brilliant smile with success and good health. And the importance of dental health should never be underestimated, considering the connection between serious diseases and poor oral health.
The aim of the Swedish Public Dental Service is to contribute to better health by continuously improving dental health throughout the country and through all age groups.
Since the organisation’s inception in the 1930s, the general dental health has improved dramatically in Sweden. Today, Swedish children reportedly (source: WHO Oral Health Database) have among the best dental health in the world, and even adults have a very good dental health in comparison with many other European countries.
About 40 percent of the adult population relies on the Public Dental Service, in addition to up to 98 percent of Swedish children. This makes the Public Dental Service the nation's largest operator in the dental market and the Public Dental Service, region Västra Götaland to one of the largest dental care companies in the world with 3000 employees and a turnover of over two billion SEK.
A new strategy
For the Public Dental Service in Västra Götaland, a new dental health strategy for 2020 has been presented. It states that the Public Dental Service should be first choice among all ages, and provide the very best service and availability in all regions. The overall vision is to dramatically improve general health in all age groups, and contribute to a better general health.
“It is no longer a matter of only restoring dental health in patients, but to help maintain it for life. Preventative measures are always better for both patients and society, and therefore we have introduced a sustainable long-term concept to maintain good dental health at an affordable cost”, says Public Dental Service CEO Gunnar Eriksson.
The concept is a fixed price system allowing for patients to, if they wish; pay a little every month for regular check-ups and general, preventative dental care. The agreement is on a three year basis, and can thereafter be renewed. The model has somewhat revolutionized dental care in Sweden, making it more accessible and affordable to a broader adult audience. Today, almost 140 000 patients are connected to the concept in region Västra Götaland, and the number of patients on a national basis is around 600 000.
The Public Dental Service also offers a unique concept concerning training in oral health, and additionally provides fluoride treatments in schools. Specialist training in all areas (dental surgery, treatment of dental and oral diseases and more extensive dental injuries) is also provided.
National center for development
As part of the new Public Dental Service strategy, opportunities for special training at the public dental clinics have been increased. Dentists and dental hygienists are offered training through collaboration between the Department of Dentistry at the Institute of Odontology and the Public Dental Service region Västra Götaland’s head clinic, located opposite the Sahlgrenska University Hospital in Gothenburg.
The Public Dental Service in region Västra Götaland is in many respects and in collaboration with the University of Gothenburg a national center for further development in dentistry. The goal is to become one of Europe’s leading dental organisations, perhaps even a model for other dental care providers outside of Sweden.
In accordance with the new strategy for 2020, there will be an increased focus on research and development in-house, as well as a clearer vision on increased revenue. This will be used to fund the continued development of the industry in order to provide the very best care for patients and to support continuous health improvements in society. This includes for example a major investment in dental care for the elderly and the establishment of a new research-oriented clinic in Gothenburg.