School operations

Dental Services

Steps for implementing Smile Squad in schools

Step 1: initial engagement and delivery of oral health packs

The below information summarises the process for the initial engagement of Smile Squad.

Role of Smile Squad

  • Contact schools (through a local community dental agency) each year to explain the program and discuss the requirements of the school
  • Promote and arrange delivery of oral health packs for all students at interested schools

Note: Any correspondence schools receive will contain a Smile Squad 'smiling tooth' logo shown below.

Smile Squad logo

Role of the school

Nominate a key school contact for Smile Squad to liaise and work with Smile Squad to assist with planning and delivery of the program. This may be a school’s wellbeing lead, assistant principal, leading teacher or other appropriate staff member.

Role of the school contact

  • Act as the main point of contact for Smile Squad when planning and delivering the program
  • Work with the Smile Squad staff to schedule dates for Smile Squad visits, including the site assessment, oral health examination visit and follow up treatment visit
  • Schedule a next visit to ensure students receive regular dental services
  • Support Smile Squad with the school site assessment to identify an appropriate room in the school and location of the treatment van on the school site if required
  • Ensure Smile Squad has the necessary information about the school student cohort to ensure the appropriate services are provided
  • Distribute the consent form link to all students and liaise with parents, carers or mature minors to obtain completed consent forms
  • Provide the completed consent forms (if using paper-based consent forms) to the community dental agency
  • Provide Smile Squad with relevant school-level policies and procedures, such as relevant health and wellbeing policies, child safety policies, emergency procedures and any other relevant information that may assist Smile Squad to deliver the program safely

Role of the Smile Squad staff

  • Act as the main point of contact for the school to schedule, plan and deliver the program, including conducting a school site assessment to find an appropriate location to conduct the dental service
  • Work collaboratively with principals, school health and wellbeing teams, school administrators and teachers to support promotion and delivery of the service and enhance student participation
  • Manage the consent process and register students into a confidential patient management system

Step 2: school site assessment

Smile Squad staff will conduct a site assessment with the school contact and any other relevant school staff prior to the service commencing to ensure the school can adequately host Smile Squad on the school grounds.

Site assessment process

Smile Squad staff will:

  • meet the principal and/or the school contact to discuss the requirements for delivery of the program
  • assess the space and site requirements for:
    • oral health examinations – requires a room in the school (ideally with a sink and electricity). Alternatives will be discussed if a room isn’t available
    • follow up treatment – requires a space on the school grounds for the treatment van, close to the school building with a flat surface, electricity, water and waste management (for water only)
  • identify any minor remedial works that may need to occur to allow for program delivery (for example, installation of a power point)
  • determine whether they require connection to the school’s guest WiFi service (Smile Squad does have their own network however it can experience poor connectivity in some areas).

If minor remedial works are required

Smile Squad will fund minor remedial works (for example, addition of a power point), in consultation with the school, if they are required to make a school ready to deliver the program.

To assist with the process, schools can discuss with Smile Squad any school-level processes for engaging with contractors to complete minor remedial works. The school must obtain and submit a quote to DHSV for approval prior to any work commencing.

Schools will not have to pay any costs for minor remedial works provided prior approval has been received and all the quoted work is required to support Smile Squad.

Public Private Partnership schools

If minor remedial works are required at a Public Private Partnership (PPP) school, schools will need to advise Smile Squad of any additional processes that may need to occur and liaise with the PPP funds manager to ensure that approvals for works to occur are gained prior to the program commencing.

Step 3: promote Smile Squad to the school community

Schools and school staff (including principals, school staff, health and wellbeing staff, administration staff) can support the delivery of Smile Squad by promoting the program to the school community.

Smile Squad have developed a communications toolkit that can be found on the Dental Health Services Victoria websiteExternal Link . The toolkit is designed to support schools to promote the program through various school communication channels when schools commence participation in the program. The toolkit includes:

  • a selection of key messages
  • school newsletter content
  • text for the school website
  • social media posts
  • photos and graphics
  • the Smile Squad logo
  • digital copies of Smile Squad brochures to provide to families.

Smile Squad will also send oral health packs to schools for distribution to students prior to the Smile Squad visit. The packs will promote the development of good oral health skills and include a toothbrush, toothpaste, and educational material about the benefits of eating well, drinking well and cleaning well.

Please refer to the Consent and other requirements section of these guidelines for detail regarding:

  • consent requirements (including mature minor consent) for students to access the Smile Squad school dental program
  • recording attendance of students attending Smile Squad
  • privacy and information sharing considerations.

Role of the school contact

  • Work closely with the Smile Squad staff during the consent process
  • Send communications to parents and carers that the Smile Squad service will be visiting the school via school student management systems
  • Distribute a link to the electronic consent form to all students ideally 6 weeks prior to Smile Squad’s visit to the school
  • Schools may request paper based consent forms from Smile Squad if preferred
  • Liaise with parents, carers or mature minors to obtain completed consent (FAQs for schools and parents/carers can be found on the Resources tab)
  • If using paper based forms, collect returned, signed consent forms from students, ensuring they remain enclosed and sealed in their envelope (schools must not open envelopes)
  • Provide the paper based consent forms to the community dental agency using the method as directed by the Smile Squad agency
  • Obtain a list of students who have received or provided consent to be seen, from Smile Squad, and provide this information to the appropriate staff (for example, classroom teachers, casual relief teachers, specialist teachers and other school staff)

Role of Smile Squad staff

  • Provide consent link to schools, for schools to distribute to students prior to Smile Squad’s visit to the school
  • Manage consent forms from the school and register students into a confidential patient management system
  • Provide a list of students who have received or provided consent to be seen to the school contact

For more information, or if parents have questions or concerns, please contact: or call 1300 503 977.

Duty of care and supervision of students travelling to the Smile Squad service

Principals, teachers and other school staff continue to owe a duty of care to students whilst they are receiving care from Smile Squad clinicians at school. This means school staff must take active and reasonable steps to minimise the risks of reasonably foreseeable harm to students where there are risks that are within staff control or knowledge.

In particular, supervision may be required for students when they are travelling to and from Smile Squad on school grounds and can be assessed on a case-by-case basis. The level of supervision required will depend on a number of factors, including:

  • where in the school the Smile Squad is delivering services
  • the age and maturity of the students receiving services
  • individual student needs, including health, disability or behavioural needs. For example, if a student has a disability or special health or behavioural need, additional support by a school staff member may be considered a ‘reasonable step’ to protect that student and others from reasonably foreseeable risks of harm.

For further, general information on duty of care in schools, refer to the department’s Duty of Care Policy.

Step 5: Smile Squad visit

Smile Squad will visit schools to provide dental services to students during school hours. Dental services provided include examinations, x-rays when required, oral health and dietary advice and coaching and preventative interventions, including the application of fluoride varnish.

The oral health examinations will:

  • usually be delivered in a room on the school site using mobile dental equipment (for example, portable dental chair, portable examination tools)
  • usually be delivered by a team of 2 oral health or dental therapists and 2 dental assistants
  • take approximately 15 minutes for each student.

Each child will be provided with a post care report and care plan to provide the parent, carer or mature minor with information about the student’s oral health and any further treatment that may be required.

If no further treatment is required, students will be seen when Smile Squad returns to the school the for the next examination.

In some circumstances, schools may receive a separate visit for the application of fluoride varnish 6 months after the oral health examinations. Smile Squad will advise individual schools whether this will occur during the annual visit. Visits for the application of fluoride varnish require less time on the school site than visits for oral health examinations.

Risk management

Schools are responsible for identifying and managing risks that might affect their students, staff or operations. Schools should be aware of the risks associated with the implementation of Smile Squad services on the school grounds and ensure risks are managed in line with broader school risk management processes.

For more information, refer to the department’s Risk Management – Schools Policy.

Managing emergencies and incidents

Every Victorian government school must have a current emergency management plan (EMP) that addresses site specific hazards and threats which have the potential to result in emergencies and critical incidents.

Schools must take steps to ensure Smile Squad are informed of and understand relevant emergency procedures and any other relevant information that may assist Smile Squad to deliver the program safely.

For more information, refer to the department’s Emergency and Critical Incident Management Planning Policy.

Step 6: facilitate follow up treatment

Please refer to the Smile Squad consent and other requirements chapter of these guidelines for detail regarding the follow up consent process.

Smile Squad will attend the school on the scheduled date to provide follow-up treatment to students who need it. In most cases, visits for follow up treatment will occur soon after a visit for oral health examinations. Follow up treatment may include services such as teeth cleaning, fissure sealants, root canals, restorations (fillings), extractions and any other treatment required.

Follow-up treatment

Follow-up treatment will be delivered in a Smile Squad treatment van containing a single chair dental clinic set up parked on the school site. The treatment van will be staffed by oral health therapists, dental therapists, oral health educators, dental assistants and/or dentists. More complex treatments (including root canal treatment, complex restorations or complex extractions) may need to occur at the local community dental agency.

Post care following treatment

Smile Squad will discuss the specific type of follow up treatment and after-care requirements with parents/carers/students when seeking consent, including the risks and benefits.

To support schools to manage any first aid requirements for students following examination or treatment, Smile Squad will provide some basic after-care information to school staff in an ‘after-care requirements’ form.

The purpose of the ‘after-care requirements’ form is to provide schools with enough information to ensure school staff can support students with their healthcare needs following any treatment procedures. The student will take the form back to class and provide it to their teacher. Instructions on the form will include basic instructions around managing any bleeding (from an extraction) or if students have a numb cheek or lip.

Smile Squad clinicians will also notify the school if students are affected by medication used during treatments or may require further analgesia (pain relief).

If a student feels unwell after dental treatment or if any other medical issues arise, school staff must follow the department’s First Aid for Students and Staff Policy and school’s local first aid policy, and inform Smile Squad and the student’s parents or carers where appropriate.


In the case that a student may require further analgesia following treatment, Smile Squad will discuss this with the parent, carer or mature minor when gaining verbal consent for treatment. If required, parents/carers will need to provide analgesics to the school and complete a medication authority form in accordance with the department’s Medication Policy.

Step 7: schedule the school's next Smile Squad visit

To ensure scheduling of Smile Squad works well for both the program and the school calendar, schools are encouraged to schedule their next visit during their current visit.

Smile Squad will advise schools whether a visit for the application of fluoride varnish is required in 6 months’ time and encourage schools to schedule it in at the time of visit.


For more information visit the Smile Squad websiteExternal Link .

For general queries or concerns about Smile Squad, please contact:

For general queries or concerns about school requirements or responsibilities when implementing Smile Squad, please contact the Child and Youth Health Branch, Wellbeing Health and Engagement Division, Department of Education:

Includes step by step guidance on the Smile Squad process

Reviewed 07 March 2024

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