A new paper says a multi-service approach was necessary to address the long waits being imposed on children with severe decay.
University of Otago researcher Dorothy Boyd said it wasn't acceptable that children were experiencing preventable pain every day.
"We need to say, 'actually it's not okay that so many of our children can't chew, can't sleep, can't eat, can't play, because their teeth hurt'."
The oral healthcare workforce was severely understaffed, which had been exacerbated by Covid-19, she said.
"People are working really hard and feeling like they just can't keep up with the demand."
The problem overlaps with a variety of health issues, Boyd said.
Link to article: Urgent change needed for dental care system for children - experts | RNZ News