Oral Health


Oral Health in the EMR

This information has been produced in consultation with and approved by the Eastern Metropolitan Region Oral Health Network (EMROHN).

Oral Health in the EMR

Good oral health is becoming increasingly recognised as fundamental to good overall health and wellbeing. Despite the fact that poor oral health is largely preventable, a range of social, economic and other factors can impede this. Every year 26,000 children are admitted to hospital for fillings or the removal of teeth. Dental conditions are the most common cause of potentially preventable hospitalisations in Victorian’s aged 0 to 19 years.

In 2014 -2015, 15,599 Victorians were admitted to hospital for Potentially Preventable Dental Hospitalisation (PPDHs). Direct costs nationwide for dental related General Anaesthesia are approximately $570 million and if indirect costs are included the total would approach $1 billion.

The Eastern Metropolitan Region Oral Health Network

The Eastern Metropolitan Region Oral Health Network (EMROHN) was established in 2011. Agencies involved include: Dental Health Services Victoria, Department of Health and Human Services, Inspiro, Link Health and Community, Carrington Health, Access Health and Community and EACH.

The services in the Eastern Metropolitan Region have worked together to develop a whole-of-region Eastern Metropolitan Regional Integrated Oral Health Plan 2017-2020.

The plan aims to further develop oral health services in the Eastern Metropolitan Region (EMR) and it builds on existing sub-regional collaborations and relationships, taking into account region-wide population health data, planning and stakeholder input from across the region.

The EMR is comprised of seven Local Government Areas. In 2015, the population of the EMR equated to 18% of Victoria’s population (Australian Bureau of Statistics 2016). It is estimated that approximately 36% of residents in the EMR are eligible for public dental care (the eligible population is the sum of all children aged 0-12 years old, all healthcare card holders and their dependants and pensioners).

According to projected figures, the EMR is expecting an average population growth of 13% between 2015 and 2031. It is likely that this growth in population will increase the demand for public dental services across the region. The EMROHN's role is to ensure that as a region we promote access to public dental services that deliver high quality and high value care, reduce health inequities by extending our reach to priority groups and embed preventative models of care that are evidence based to improve health outcomes.


Oral Health Screenings to preschools and primary schools

All the public dental clinics in the EMR have been providing oral health screenings to preschools and primary schools in their respective catchment area. These screenings not only ensure that timely intervention is provided they also have the benefit of educating parents, educators and children on the importance of oral hygiene. The screenings also demystify the whole oral health examination experience for children and by doing so eliminate any preconceived fears they may be harbouring.

Oral Health training for midwives who conduct antenatal visit for pregnant women

EMROHN facilitated a training session with Dental Health Services Victoria who attended Box Hill Hospital and The Angliss Hospital and provided Oral Health training to 28 midwives and three students that conduct antenatal visits to pregnant women across the EMR to educate them on the risks of poor oral health in pregnancy. These training sessions not only raise awareness of the risks of poor oral health during pregnancy, but endeavour to create easy referral pathways from hospitals to the community dental clinics for midwives to easily refer pregnant women.

Online Oral Health Module with Deakin University

Working in partnership with Deakin University, the Network is piloting an online Oral Health module designed to support carers of children in out of home care services to improve their knowledge on oral health. The pilot is set to commence in late September 2019 and will involve some outreach visits to one or two services that provide out of home care for children.

Capacity building to support workers and carers of mental health clients
The EMROHN aim is to build capacity to support workers and carers of mental health clients and other priority clients and to create easy referral pathways to oral health services for these clients. As part of this work the project worker for the region has linked in with the majority of support services across the EMR to advise workers of their client’s eligibility to public dental care and how to effectively and efficiently refer them to these services. Brochures have been created and distributed across the region further promoting the oral health programs in the region.

Professional Development for Dental Clinicians

A Practical Updates in Clinical Dentistry Clinical Professional Development day is hosted annually by the senior dentist group in the EMR. The day showcases the latest clinical developments and provides an opportunity for networking with clinicians across the state. There is an evaluation completed after each session to capture any feedback and ensure quality improvement for future events. All presentations are at a high standard and the variations on presenters style is refreshing and engaging. The variety of topics is broad and valued by all who attend.

You can find more examples of the work completed by the Network to date as part of the Integrated Oral health plan 2017-2020 under the Share tab.

The Eastern Metropolitan Regional Oral Health Network will continue to monitor and keep abreast of any potential partnerships or new initiatives in the region and will link in to broader planning across the sub-regions to identify opportunities for Oral Health Promotion.