The University of Newcastle’s Central Coast Oral Health Clinic is much more than an education facility but is an increasingly important part of providing health care to the local community.
The students undertaking the Bachelor of Oral Health Therapy with the School of Health Sciences offer clinic services to members of the community including examinations, xrays and cleaning under the supervision of qualified dentists.
Clinic supervisor, Vicki Knibbs, says it’s wonderful to see patients who are often a bit anxious about coming in, walking out happy and keen to return.
“The experience for members of the community and our students is great – we love that anybody who holds a health care card or is a student can come for free and for everyone else there’s a one-off $40 fee and you can come back anytime. We can also send x-rays and information to your dentist.”
“We often see people who have never been to a dentist before. We had a group of high school children here recently and one young boy had no idea what a toothbrush was. Nobody in his family had one – they had cleaned their teeth by chewing gum. He was initially very scared to but he left here with his first ever toothbrush and now he’s coming back with about 15 of his friends.”
Oral health is critical to overall health and the education offered by the clinic staff and students includes not just the basics of brushing and flossing, but areas identified by the Australian Dental Association that can also affect our health including smoking, alcohol and drugs, oral cancers, even oral piercing.
Warrick Edwards (pictured) began his career in the dental industry in 2004 and has worked in both public health and private practice. Warrick is currently a casual dental teacher with TAFE NSW teaching dental assisting, oral health promotion and radiography.
“I am currently the managing director of a dental training company offering continuing professional development courses to the dental and oral health industry in Australia.”
Warrick is also completing the Bachelor of Oral Health at the University of Newcastle and has a particular interest in indigenous health.
“I have recently been award the Indigenous Allied Health Cadetship. I am passionate about indigenous health and hope to implement more oral health promotion projects to remote indigenous communities and develop aid projects to provide a continuing service to communities that are most in need.”
Members of the community are welcome to attend appointments at the Ourimbah campus and can also make appointments for the free mobile oral health unit.
Oral health clinic appointments are essential and can be made by phoning 02 4348 4164.