This policy supports schools to make local decisions to facilitate access to dental services and promote good oral health.


  • Schools may facilitate access to mobile dental services (public and/or private) during school hours, on the school site.
  • Smile SquadExternal Link is the Victorian Government’s only school dental program, providing free dental care to all Victorian government students. Information for schools on the Smile Squad program can be found in the Guidance tab.
  • If schools wish to facilitate access to a private dental provider, they are required to:
    • identify and engage an appropriate dental service based on the recommended considerations as outlined in this policy
    • enter into a School Council Health Service Agreement with the dental service provider.


Schools play an important role in promoting and supporting good oral health, which facilitates improved general health outcomes for students. Schools can do so by creating a healthy school culture and physical environment through strategies such as promoting healthy food and drink options and by providing engaging teaching and learning programs.

Facilitating access to dental services is a local decision made independently by each school.

If schools wish to facilitate access to dental services on the school site, they can engage Smile Squad or a private dental provider.

Smile Squad

Smile SquadExternal Link is the Victorian Government’s only school dental program. All Victorian government schools are eligible to participate. A Smile Squad team will visit government primary, secondary, P–12 and specialist schools across Victoria to provide free oral health examinations and follow up treatment when necessary to all students where appropriate consent is provided. This includes teeth cleaning, fluoride applications, fillings and any other non-cosmetic, follow-up treatments.

All students attending government schools are eligible for Smile Squad – they do not need a healthcare card, Medicare or access to the Child Dental Benefits Scheme.

Refer to the Smile Squad guidelines in the Guidance tab for information on:

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

Promoting good oral health

Oral health is essential to overall health and wellbeing. Oral diseases can cause pain and discomfort and can negatively affect general health and quality of life.

Supporting students to have better oral health through early intervention leads to improved general health outcomes which can have positive impacts on student learning and school attendance.

Schools can promote and support good oral health through programs like Vic Kids Eat WellExternal Link and the Healthy Schools Achievement ProgramExternal Link . The Achievement Program takes a structured, whole-school approach to embed health and wellbeing into the school culture. The Achievement Program works with Dental Health Services Victoria (DHSV)to support schools to promote good oral health for the whole school community.

Below are some simple strategies schools could implement to promote good oral health.

Leadership and commitment

Schools may consider using a whole-school approach to health and wellbeing, with consistent practices in place to support and promote good oral health.

Healthy physical environment

Schools can:

  • have tap water available at all times
  • promote healthy food and drink choices
  • increase availability of ‘everyday’ food and drinks and limit 'occasional' and 'select carefully' food and drinks. Refer to the Canteens, Healthy Eating and Other Food Services policy for more information
  • ensure students wear mouth guards while participating in contact sport, to protect against dental injuries.

Healthy culture

Schools can encourage staff and families to role model healthy eating and oral health practices.

Teaching and learning

Schools can:

Support staff and educators

Schools may provide staff with resources and practical strategies to support oral health at school:

Community partnerships

Schools may:

Promote public dental services

Dental Health Services Victoria aims to improve the oral health of all Victorians, including school aged children, through providing access to public dental care. In particular, children from at-risk or vulnerable cohorts may have priority access to public dental care and/or may be exempt from paying fees.

Schools may wish to promote the community dental clinics within their local area, where many children are eligible to receive free public dental care.

Refer to:

Private dental providers

Some schools may wish to facilitate access to private dental services. These services are generally provided on the school grounds and are privately run and operated (not through the Victorian Government’s free public dental program). However, schools must follow the policy on engaging a private dental provider and enter into a 'School council health service licence agreement – dentist' (see steps below) with the dental service provider before permitting them to provide any services. These dental services may not be free and could result in out-of-pocket expenses for parents.

Private dental providers such as Australian Dental Health Victoria should not be confused with Smile Squad – Smile Squad is the government’s only fully state funded, completely free school dental service. The department does not approve or endorse any dental providers. Only authorised Smile Squad providers are endorsed by the Department of Health to deliver the Smile Squad dental program in schools.

Schools can email the Smile Squad team to confirm provider details if they are unsure ( and should be fully informed prior to confirming a visit with the provider.

For more information, see the Smile Squad website: How to spot Smile SquadExternal Link .

Engaging a private dental provider

If schools wish to engage with a private dental service provider, they must ensure the private dental service provider meets the appropriate documentation requirements outlined in the steps below and enters into a School council health services licence agreement – dentist (DOCX)External Link (staff login required) with the dental service provider.

Step 1 – Identify and engage an appropriate dental service provider

Schools must record evidence of the following documentation prior to the service attending the school:

  • Registration – schools must confirm a visiting dental practitioner is a registered practitioner with the Dental Board of AustraliaExternal Link . Schools must ask to see a registration certificate from the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency or they can obtain this information directly from the Dental Board of AustraliaExternal Link .
  • Insurance – view evidence that the provider has public liability and professional indemnity insurance and check that it is current.
  • Working with Children Check (WWCC) – schools are bound by laws that require a WWCC for adults undertaking child-related work in a school, and must adhere to department policies regarding suitability checks for employees, visitors and volunteers, including those from a dental service. Refer to the department's policy on Working with Children and other Suitability Checks for School Volunteers and Visitors.
  • Radiation protection – schools must obtain a copy of the provider's Victorian Radiation Use Licence for any providers taking x-rays.
  • Child Dental Benefits Schedule – private dental service providers may promote their services as 'free' to patients by relying on this funding source. Limits to the benefits apply and it is recommended schools consider how service providers will inform families of additional costs they may need to pay.

Schools will also need to ensure the following arrangements have been considered prior to the dental service arriving at the school:

  • Supervision – schools need to ensure there is appropriate supervision of children who visit the dental service. Refer to the department's Duty of Care policy.
  • Consent – for any student accessing dental services on school grounds, the school must seek consent from parents/carers prior to them receiving treatment.
  • Accreditation – while it is not mandatory for private dental providers to be accredited with the National Safety and Quality Health Standards, schools can consider accreditation as an indicator of a quality provider. Schools can choose to seek a copy of the provider’s accreditation certificate.

Step 2 – Enter into a School Council Health Services Licence Agreement with the dental service provider

Where a school is enabling an external provider to attend school premises to deliver health services, the department’s Legal Division recommends the use of a licence agreement. The 'School council health services licence agreement – dentist' authorises the non-exclusive use of an area of the school by an external provider of health services and is available on the Resources tab.

If required, schools may contact the Legal Division to review the completed draft licence agreement before providing it to the external provider, by emailing

Department policy supporting schools to make local decisions to facilitate access to dental services and promote good oral health

Reviewed 19 April 2024

Policy last updated

19 April 2024


  • Schools


Physical Activity and Healthy Eating

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