State of the art dental services
The GV Health public Dental Program provides emergency, general dental care and denture services to concession card holders and their dependants and has recently welcomed two new graduated Dentists and an oral health therapist to their team.
“The graduate program has been running for 29 years,” says Lorraine Olsson, Practice Manager Dental Services. “We had over 80 applicants for two positions last year alone.” “They find it quite exciting,” says Ms Olsson. “Grads get exposed to aged care, the van, and all the other facilities in Shepparton.”
The clinic was named Public Dental Clinic of the Year, in the Dental Health Services Victoria's Public Oral Health Awards in 2015
Clinical Director of Dental Services Dr David Whelan emphasises this accolade only inspired he and his team to greater heights since then.
“We’re always working on strategies to better service the area,” says Dr Whelan. “For example, the clinic is part of a teledentistry initiative, giving us access to specialists from metropolitan areas.”
Teledentistry is a Skype-like resource linking patients via video conference with experts. GV Health Dental was also recently a part of the teledentistry pilot project run in conjunction with the Royal Children’s Hospital, treating cleft palates etc.
“Patients love it - it saves them the round trip of 200km or more. Rather than travel to Melbourne, we get them into the chair here in Shepparton and use the intra-oral camera. That’s very popular.”
The clinic has a strong belief in staff development, which is embodied in its popular graduate program where the Dental Department host University of Melbourne final year Dental students throughout the year. Students are exposed to a wider range of skills and pathologies when studying in the region, and are given the opportunity to learn advanced clinical skills in a safe environment as part of the clinic’s mentorship program.
“It’s an awesome opportunity, and we’ve had great experiences in the bush,” says student dentist Rupert Courtney. “The patients are really receptive too.”
Students work and live with one another in Shepparton, and are encouraged to explore the Goulburn Valley region and embrace the opportunities available here.
“We’re training better dentists and oral health therapists for the area,” continues Dr Whelan. “They really appreciate the opportunity, and there’s good research to show that a lot of new graduates come back to work and live in the area. Retention is a big focus.”
A further benefit to local patients is free check ups from student dentists, while a visit to a dentist at GV Health costs a flat fee of $28.
“It’s in the right price range - children of primary school age and under get free treatment here too,” Dr Whelan emphasises. “We have appointments available - we really want to highlight that.”
The clinic also has a dental van, which visits kindergartens, schools and aged care centres in the region. With the school holidays quickly approaching this is the perfect time to book an appointment. Contact GV Health Dental Service on (03) 5832 3050 and speak to a receptionist to organise a suitable time. The clinic is located at the hospital in Graham Street and is open 8:30am to 5pm, Monday to Friday, excluding public holidays.
The GV Health Dental Service is also a part of the Hume Oral Health Partnership, working in partnership with other community dental centres in the region.
Generously, they recently loaned the use of their state of the art $150,000 steriliser to the Central Sterilisation Supply Department during the recent installation of their new equipment.
“We really want people in the community to know the range of services on offer here,” Dr Whelan says. “Our special children’s program currently has appointments available and, we have priority access available for the homeless and refugees. There are dentists here ready to treat you!”