WDHB appoints new Dental Service clinical director

31 January 2013
Whanganui District Health Board’s (WDHB) ability to treat people with serious dental problems has improved significantly with Robin Whyman’s recent appointment as Dental Services clinical director.
For the past five years, Dr Whyman has visited Whanganui one day a week, every six weeks from Hutt Valley DHB to treat patients – most of them, children.
WDHB Dental Services clinical director Dr Robin Whyman and dental clinical manager Barb Dewson.

Thanks to another recent appointment as Hawke’s Bay DHB’s Dental Services clinical director, Dr Whyman now travels from Hawkes Bay to Whanganui two days a fortnight which WDHB dental clinical manager Barb Dewson says will have a significant impact on Whanganui district dental patients.
His extensive knowledge and experience is reflected in a number of positions he’s held:
  • Chief dental officer for the Ministry of Health from 2005 to 2009
  • Current ministerial appointment on the New Zealand Dental Council
  • Councillor for the Royal Australasian College of Dental Surgeons
  • Executive member for the New Zealand Oral Health Clinical Leadership Network – a group founded by the Ministry of Health to provide leadership and advice in the public dental sector.
Mrs Dewson says while Dr Whyman will continue to focus on children, he does treat adults – particularly people with disabilities and complex health problems. Like her, he is concerned by the number of people of all ages who have serious dental issues resulting from decay not addressed when it should have been.
Dr Whyman and Mrs Dewson are concerned about the high level of oral disease found in Whanganui and they agree the high levels of decay found in the teeth of children is a huge challenge for the WDHB’s Dental Service.
“It’s very disappointing given that dental care in New Zealand is free for children up to age 18,” Dr Whyman says. “As a strong supporter of fluoridation I’m delighted that the South Taranaki District Council has voted in favour of fluoridation for Patea and Waverley. I’m sure this will have an impact on the teeth of some people we treat here in Whanganui.
“Fluoridation will always have its supporters and detractors. It’s a subject that polarises communities. For a city such as Whanganui which doesn’t have fluoride in its water, I would encourage people to buy regular strength fluoride toothpaste and make sure they and their families use it at least twice a day.”