005 – Children’s dental program

  • Chief Investigator: Prof Mike Morgan
  • Associate Investigators: Dr Sajeev Koshy, Dr Samantha Lew and Dr Shibu Mathew
  • Research Collaborator: Tan Nguyen
  • Support: DHSV Research & Innovations Grant and Plenty Valley Community Health


Plenty Valley Community Health (PVCH) is one of many Victorian Government dental agencies committed to community engagement and improving client access to its services. When the School Dental Services was transferred to the community health services in 2007, decisions on how to promote children’s dental services to the community, how to manage demand, balance priority care between children’s dental and adult dental became local decisions. It has been identified that the children most vulnerable to dental disease are the least likely to access services. A recent publication by the Department of Health (Victoria) showed that only 22.8% of the eligible population were treated in 2009–10.

This falls significantly below the benchmark by the Australia’s National Oral Health Plan 2004–12 that all children should receive at least one course of general oral health care including appropriate oral health promotion every two years.


  • Investigate the patterns of child attendance for dental visits since Dental Health Services Victoria School Dental Services was integrated into community health services from 2007
  • Determine whether school-based dental screening retained high-needs child patients for oral health care using the existing publicly funded community health services.


The project found that the targeted school dental check-up program was beneficial for increasing child dental access and retention for referred follow-up dental appointments and treatment. The second stage (project 10) has commenced.