The Flying Doctors Dental Team - Keeping children smiling all over NSW
It's all in a day's work for our dedicated dental team, but for many families in remote NSW, it is the only opportunity for regular dental check-ups.
The Royal Flying Doctor Service dental van is on the road every week, visiting schools and communities across the region.
Last year the van travelled 20,000 kilometres from Yunta in South Australia to Hebel in Queensland, and everywhere in between!
Our dedicated team of dentists, oral health therapists, dental assistants and support personnel are passionate about educating families about the importance of oral health.
Lyn Mayne and Jenny Pham are two of our dedicated dentists helping to put smiles back on the faces of hundreds of children.
Each year the team sees between 600 and 700 kids, with many of them requiring multiple visits to restore their mouth to a good condition.
As well as treating them, the dental team delivers an education program to teach children good oral hygiene habits.
Lyn describes her work as having unique challenges not often experienced in city practices.
"Sometimes the 40-degree heat can affect the materials we use. Sometimes it's about being adaptable enough to turn a community hall, a bedroom or even a verandah into a dental surgery,” she said.
Both Lyn and Jenny are passionate about teaching children the benefits of regular teeth brushing and ensuring their visits to the dentist are positive.
“Many of the children I treat have very limited oral hygiene,” Jenny said.
“It’s heartbreaking that by the time I see them, we usually discover they have severe tooth decay and need to have multiple teeth removed.
"Educating children and providing them with toothbrushes, gives them the skills to care for their teeth now, ensuring good habits into the future.”
Without regular visits from the dental van, many families would have little or no access to dental healthcare services, putting at risk their oral health, or worse, their overall physical health.
In remote towns where there is no local dentist they would have to travel up to three days to get basic dental care. This requires taking time off work and school, as well as the added expenses of travel, accommodation and meals.
Even a toothbrush can sometimes be difficult to obtain if the local store has run out of supplies.
With the dental van more children have greater access to regular dental care, giving them the best start in life.
Lyn and Jenny and their team are changing the future for many children in the outback of NSW.
“It’s the feeling that I can make a difference by educating a child, so their smile will last a lifetime, is what I love about my job,” Lyn said.