Thursday, 18 April, 2024

01 Jun 2002 | Australasian Dental Practice

news > Spectrum > Page 20

Royal Children's Hospital revamps 40 years on

The Department of Dentistry at the Royal Children's Hospital in Melbourne has opened its newly refurbished dental clinic which provides dental services, training and research in paediatric oral health.


"The clinic badly needed upgrading and much of the equipment had been around for decades," said Associate Professor Nicky Kilpatrick, Director, Dental Department, Royal Children's Hospital. "The aim was to modernise and to provide improved access for children with chronic medical conditions and disabilities as well as to increase facilities for training and education.

"The Dental Department is a key part of the total patient care provided by the hospital and reflects the importance we place on oral health within the total health outcome for our patients."

The refurbished clinic features five treatment areas with new Belmont Pro II dental units installed by Gunz Dental.

"The chairs are perfect for our needs with particularly good access for patients with disabilities. The clinic sees around 700 patients a month and must endure heavy wear and tear. So we needed dental units that could handle this. The compact size of the chairs also well suits the size of the operatories.

"Gunz were very flexible and able to adapt the unit to our requests. They came and customised the chairs to our requirements. Gunz were also kind enough to sponsor the opening ceremony function."

Funding for the five Belmont Pro II dental units was donated by the Aitken Estate, a major benefactor of the hospital, while the new digital OPG and Ceph was donated by the American Women's Auxiliary. Other new features include built-in Nitrous Oxide facilities.

The Department of Dentistry provides oral health care to children with chronic medical and dental problems or who require comprehensive multidisciplinary management. It provides routine dental care, preventive, restorative and orthodontic services both under local and general anaesthesia. It works closely with the Department of Plastic and Maxillofacial Surgery sharing the coordination of clinical care for those children requiring maxillo and cranio facial surgery, cleft lip and palate management and craniofacial or dental implants.

"Apart from myself and our senior registrar, we have 16 dentists working part-time in the department who cover all the specialties," Associate Professor Kilpatrick said.

"We have an endodontist, for example, who comes in once a month and a prosthodontist who comes in once a week."

The clinic is also involved in Melbourne University's post-graduate training program for paediatric dentists and orthodontists. As part of its commitment to Continuing Education, the Department is running its first Paediatric Dentistry Symposium (in collaboration with 3M ESPE) on June 22 which has received strong interest to date.

"This department is pretty unique being as integrated into the rest of the hospital as we are and we can be very proud of that," she said. "It's a tribute to how important this hospital views oral health. I think this refurbishment will undoubtedly contribute to the general health and well being of Victorian children."

The Royal Children's Hospital Dental Department is also involved in research having just received its first NHMRC grant for "A controlled multi-faceted community intervention trial to improve the oral health of preschool aged children in rural Victoria" and currently has three students enrolled for PhD's.

"Our ultimate aim is to be a world class learning institution for the oral care of children," said Associate Professor Kilpatrick. "And this refurbishment is the next step along the way to achieving that."

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