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education.vic.gov.au

School operations

Dental Services

Policy

This policy supports local decision making on facilitating access to dental services and promoting oral health.

Summary

  • Schools may facilitate access to mobile dental services (public and/or private) during school hours, on the school site.
  • Smile Squad is the Victorian Government’s only school dental program.
  • 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 and
    • enter into a School Council Health Service Agreement with the dental service provider.
  • The Guidance tab provides information for schools to promote good oral health practices among their students. 

Details

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

If schools wish to facilitate access to dental services, there are a range of options they can promote and/or provide.

Smile Squad and public dental services

Smile Squad is the Victorian Government’s only school dental program. A fleet of Smile Squad vans will visit public primary, secondary and specialist schools across Victoria to provide free oral health examinations and any necessary follow up treatment to all students. This includes teeth cleaning, fluoride applications, fillings and any other non-cosmetic, follow-up treatments.

For more information, visit Smile Squad or contact the Department of Education and Training, Child and Youth Health Branch via email health.advice@education.vic.gov.au

Public dental services

Dental Health Services Victoria (DHSV) 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 more than 50 community dental clinics located throughout metropolitan Melbourne and rural Victoria, where many children are eligible to receive free public dental care.

Refer to:

Mobile dental services for students with special needs

DHSV has two special mobile units offering free general dental care for students with physical or intellectual disabilities attending special development schools in the metropolitan and rural areas. These are the only mobile dental services that are publicly funded, offering free general dental care for eligible students, every one to 2 years.

Mobile dental services (private dental providers) 

Some schools may wish to facilitate access to private dental services (that is mobile dental vans). These services are generally provided on the school grounds and are privately run and operated.

If schools wish to engage with a private dental service provider, they must identify and engage an appropriate dental service based on the recommended considerations outlined in the steps below and enter into a School Council Health Services Licence Agreement with the dental service provider.

Step 1 – Identify and engage an appropriate dental service provider

Schools must see evidence of the following documentation (ideally at least 5 days prior to the service attending the school):

  • Registration – Schools must confirm a visiting dental practitioner is a registered practitioner with the Dental Board of Australia. 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 Australia.
  • 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 schools should consider how service providers will inform families of costs.

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. The Department's Legal Division should be contacted for a copy of the most current health services consent form.
  • 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 should 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 regular or ongoing health services, the Department’s Legal Division recommends the use of a Licence Agreement. The School Council Health Services Licence authorises the non-exclusive use of an area of the school by an external provider of health services and is available from the Legal Division upon request.

For a copy of the School Council Health Services Licence template or information regarding this process, please contact the Legal Division on 03 9637 3146 or email: legal.services@education.vic.gov.au

Related policies

Department policy on facilitating access to dental services and promoting oral health

Reviewed 27 May 2021

Policy last updated

15 June 2020

Scope

  • Schools

Contact

Health Promotion, Prevention and Advice

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