Graphic: RFDS dentists with a patient

Flying Doctor on the road to dental health

Date published

26 Apr 2017

Access to dental care is vital for good health, but it can be hard for people in isolated areas to get treatment. Our fly-in dental clinics have made big improvements to patients' dental health but clinics were restricted to locations with airstrips.

Now we take our dental services to more communities with our dental van, which drives to places our aircraft can't reach. We have also expanded our dental health team in Broken Hill and Dubbo to provide these new services.

"Our existing fly-in clinics operate as normal, but the dental van brings oral healthcare to communities we didn't previously serve," says senior dentist Dr Lyn Mayne.

"The five-ton truck is a mobile dental clinic complete with chair, x-ray and all the equipment you find in a normal dentistry. It visits schools and community centres to provide oral health education and treatment on a rotation basis.

"Better access to oral health services helps improve the general health of people living in far western NSW. Poor dental health is linked to other conditions such as cardiovascular disease, stroke, low birth weight, pneumonia and diabetes."

Dental assistant Suzanne Moore and dentist Dr Minh-Thu Cao Xuan have joined the very successful Broken Hill program which has been in operation for two decades.

The Dubbo base dental program, which has also enjoyed great success since it began in 2012, has also expanded. Dr Jenny Pham and Dr Terry Chao are new to the team and Dr Shanli Alizadeh has re-joined for a three-month period.

"These expanded dental services are part of our ongoing strategy to reduce the well-documented gap in health and wellness between those living in remote, rural and regional areas and those in cities," says CEO Greg Sam.

"Special thanks must be given for the generous donation towards the purchase and fit-out of the dental van. We are always grateful for the incredible community support we receive, which helps us to deliver current services and provide new and expanded ones."