Grant brings smiles to CQU's oral health students and patients

21 September 2022

CQUniversity's oral health students can better meet the dental needs of 'at risk' populations in non-traditional settings thanks to a new $11'000-funded mobile dental program.

Funded through the Australian Dental Health Foundation and Mars Wrigley Foundation's Healthier Smiles Community Service Grants' a new portable dental kit (which resembles a large tackle box) and dental chair will be utilised in the 'Lives Lived Well' Rockhampton Residential Rehabilitation Centre.

According to the Head of the Bachelor of Oral Health course' Associate Professor Carol Tran' the project aims to deliver dental services to at-risk populations in non-traditional settings outside of the dental clinic in Central Queensland.

"There are lot of barriers which prevent patients from accessing dental services including the inability to travel to services' long waiting lists in the public dental service' lack of affordability' and dental care not being a priority'" she explained.

"With CQU staff and students now having this kit' we are more equipped to conduct dental services off-site."

Lightweight at just 8.6kg' the all-in-one dental kit could be taken just about anywhere – along with a few other supplies.

As part of this project' CQU is working with adult clients of the Lives Lived Well Rockhampton Residential Rehabilitation Centre – a program for people recovering from addiction.

This project will run until the end of October' however there are plans for it to continue into 2023.

"Up until now' a small team of oral health practitioners and third year students have attended the outreach clinic to complete free dental screenings with limited resources – no dental chair' suction' triplex or handpieces.

"With this new grant and equipment' we will be able to offer residents fillings' cleans and check-ups without the need for the residents to leave their facilities.

"The services are provided by a cross functional team consisting of dentists' oral health therapists and student oral health therapists.

Associate Professor Tran said 20 students in their final year of the Bachelor of Oral Health are participating in the program to improve oral health services to vulnerable populations.

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