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Chairman of the executive board of the Indonesian Dentists Association (PB PDGI), Dr. Usman Sumantri M.Sc. stated that limited access to dental and oral health services is one of the obstacles to people getting treated.
According to the Basic Health Research Data (Riskesdas), 57.6% of the Indonesian population experienced dental and oral problems in 2018, but only about 10.2 % had access to dental health services.
Sumantri, at a virtual press conference, said that currently, the number of active dentists in PDGI is around 28,630, with one doctor serving approximately 9,600 people. This is almost adequate, according to him, but still below the WHO-recommended ratio of 1:7,500.
"Our problem is that dentists are still concentrated in big cities," he pointed out.
He also added that at the district level in certain areas, the number of dentists is still low, especially in sub-districts. Supporting facilities and infrastructure for health workers are still inadequate.
Teledentistry or telecommunication consultation with dentists could become one of the solutions to overcome problems related to access to dentists, he said.
Therefore, the PDGI, in collaboration with Unilever Indonesia (Pepsodent) and the FDI World Dental Federation, will provide free teledentistry services for the community. Thousands of dentists from 100 branches of the PDGI will participate in providing teledentistry services through this collaboration. In addition to teledentistry, 23 branches of the PDGI will also provide education and treatment for the community.
"In my opinion, teledentistry is very useful considering the problem of the pandemic, access problems, and this is free," Sumantri remarked.