RFDS Dental Service

Graphic: RFDS Dental Service

Bringing a smile to rural and remote Queensland

Date published

20 Jan 2022

RFDS Senior Dental Assistant Kaylah Sinclair first sank her teeth into dentistry at 16 years old, helping her older sister to establish an oral health clinic in Brisbane’s Ferny Grove.

RFDS Senior Dental Assistant Kaylah Sinclair

However, Kaylah says it was a TV commercial highlighting the vast distances between rural communities and specialist care that was the inspiration for her career.

“I’ve always felt I had a talent for helping others. Growing up in a big family, I loved doting over people and making sure they were comfortable.

“I remember watching an ad on TV about providing access to healthcare services in rural and remote communities and thinking that’s what I want to do when I’m older.”

Kaylah worked with her sister for three years before moving to another Brisbane clinic in Kallangur to gain experience in orthodontics and dental implants.

“After working at the Kallangur clinic, I took a job with Queensland Health in the Torres Strait, providing dental and emergency treatment across a range of locations. Unfortunately, I was only there for a couple of months before returning home due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

“I had always known I wanted to work for the RFDS, so I started to explore what career opportunities were available with the Flying Doctor.

“For almost a year, I refreshed the RFDS careers website every day in the hope of a position becoming available. So, when the Senior Dental Assistant position was posted online, I didn’t hesitate to apply.”

Kaylah’s persistence paid off. Her skills and expertise, combined with her genuine passion for providing healthcare to remote communities, made her a perfect fit for the role.

In February 2021, she joined our team of oral health professionals who deliver dental care from a purpose-built semi-trailer to more than 20 regional, rural and remote communities across the state.

Kaylah says her role affords her the opportunity to provide a wide range of services, including oral health maintenance, X-rays, extractions and treatment for acute or pre-existing conditions, among other things.

“Generally, oral health declines as remoteness increases, simply because rural Australians have access to fewer dental practitioners than their city counterparts. This, coupled with long travel times and limited transport options to services, affects the oral healthcare they receive — so the services we provide are vital.”

And while the RFDS Dental Service is vastly different from the suburban clinics Kaylah first practiced at, she says her role has exceeded her expectations and is challenging, inspiring and rewarding.

“The patients we see are so grateful for the services the Flying Doctor provides.

“For many, going to the dentist is a dreaded experience — I take great responsibility in ensuring our patients feel comfortable throughout their treatment and leave with a smile.

“I think, too often patients are treated like numbers and not given the individual care they deserve. But at the RFDS that’s not the case. Our staff are embedded in the communities we serve and we’re proud to provide services to those who need it most."

Graphic: The Flying Doctor acknowledges the support of the QCoal Group, QCoal Foundation and the Australian Government in establishing the RFDS Dental Service

The Flying Doctor acknowledges the support of QCoal Group, QCoal Foundation and the Australian Government in establishing the RFDS Dental Service in 2013.