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Up-skilling Dental Assistants

The aim of this project is to up-skilling five dental assistants in the Latrobe City region to provide a wider range of services and a reduction in the wait list time frames of dental services at Latrobe Community Health Service. The five dental assistants completed a Certificate IV Dental Assistant– Oral Health Education and an additional subject in Fluoride Varnish application.

The Public Dental Program faces a number of different constraints but has identified the lack of preventative programs as being significant. These dental assistants would be able to provide preventative dental services which have the potential to not only prevent dental problems and diseases but also help prevent diseases and afflictions that affect the whole body.

The five Dental Assistants completed their Certificate IV course in June 2019 and are now Oral Health Educators (OHE’s). They have been seeing clients on a one-to-one ratio at all LCHS dental sites since February 2019 and Oral Health Information Sessions for all clients who reach the top of the general dental wait list commenced in March 2019.

A number of Outreach Oral Health Education sessions have occurred for groups including supported playgroups, school and pre-school children and high risk teens. Most recently the Oral Health Educators have been working alongside diabetes educators, dieticians and complex disease coordinators to provide much needed education to clients with complex medical conditions that increase the risk of poor dental health.

In the future LCHS sees the Oral Health Educator role continuing to reduce dental wait times and to provide education programs to high risk population groups.

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