According to the 2010 Revision of the United Nations World Population Prospects, the World population over 60 are predicted to exceed 21% by 2040. That equates to 1 in 5 people on the planet to exceed the age of 60, which implies a huge need for dentures, with service and training consequences that can no longer be ignored! The worldwide recession is taking its toll and causes havoc amongst the poor and the elderly.

Accessible, affordable health services for all sectors of society are a universal challenge and the proposed National Health Insurance (NHI) in South Africa will obviously have to focus on essential services. Provision of dentures is as basic as essential oral health services can be. Policy makers seeking for solutions to provide equitable and efficient, basic services at better-affordable levels have done well to introduce Denturism as a fundamental part of restructuring the Oral Health services in some 40 countries globally. The advantages are compelling, given the unique socio-economic realities of South Africa.

The State Health Budget is committed to contain life-threatening communicable diseases, including HIV/Aids, TB, cholera, malaria, etc. and the delivery of essential health priorities, therefore denture provision has officially been classified as a “low budget priority”. If the state cannot provide the destitute, the poor and the old with dentures, then surely the NDoH as the custodian of Health, should accept the responsibility to assure that an accountable category such as a Denturist/CDT be introduced to provide alternative better-affordable services, that will safeguard the oral health of denture wearers. Former Minister of Health, the late Dr Manto Tshabalala-Msimang, expressed concern on 17 October 2002 that CDT has not yet been implemented, despite being promulgated through enabling legislation in 1997. She confirmed that a need exists for such a service, also to displace unregulated “Quacks” providing an abundant denture service, while posing a threat of transmittable diseases due to unhygienic practices.