Research by the RFDS found that poor oral health is one of the most common health problems affecting regional and remote Australians compared to people living in major cities.
As a result, the RFDS Dental Service was established in 2013 thanks to a partnership with QCoal Foundation. The vision was to provide a regular service to help transition remote communities out of chronically poor oral health and move towards a preventative service by providing regular oral health checks.
During the first five years of operation, this service has travelled more than 54,000 kilometres, treating over 10,000 patients in 21 regional and remote communities across Queensland.
The service visits communities across rural Queensland that would not otherwise have access to a local dentist and stays in each town for at least two weeks.
The dental team provides basic check-ups and education on oral health, spreading the message that prevention is better than cure.
“When we first visit a community, there may be a lot of extractions and emergency work and pain relief. The more often we go back and visit, the more we see a shift to preventive treatments,” says Principal Dentist Alexandria Stipis.
“In Springsure in April this year, it was the first time we left the community without a single tooth ache or filling on our waiting list, we only had general examinations left and those people had previously seen us in the prior 12 months.
“We’re slowly beginning to see more of the communities we visit move towards preventative treatments and it’s something that the team is really proud of!”
Chairman of Founding Donor QCoal Foundation, Christopher Wallin, reinforced this view.
“When the service was first established, both the RFDS and QCoal Foundation shared the vision of moving regional communities to preventative oral health care. It’s extremely exciting to see this now becoming a reality in communities RFDS has visited regularly since 2013.”
Thanks to you, our generous supporters, the Flying Doctor is able to continue to provide essential primary health care services, like our dental service, to the people in rural and remote Queensland who need it most.