Dental Prosthetist, The Royal Dental Hospital of Melbourne
The patient is in his eighties and has lost all his teeth. After five visits, Anthony and the team have prepared new dentures for the patient and are on their way to fit them on.
Twice a week, Anthony sees a range of homebound patients who are unable to travel to visit a dentist. They range from patients with physical and intellectual disabilities, to those with mental health issues like agoraphobia.
Last week, Anthony saw a patient who had psychological issues. With patients like these, Anthony says you never know what to expect.
“One moment they are happy, the next moment they are sad.”
It’s part of the job to anticipate the emotional state of the patient when treating them. He also sees the elderly in nursing homes, some with dementia to varied degrees.
“The work can be emotionally difficult when dealing with the elderly and people who have special needs. It gets physically and emotionally draining. Job like that can’t be done five days a week,” he says.
Anthony is an experienced Dental Prosthetist who has been in the business for over two decades before moving on to the DHSV special needs and domiciliary services over five years ago.
No amount of expertise would have prepared him to meet the patients of the DHSV domiciliary services.
“At first I didn’t know this world existed. I lived in this comfort zone and when I came to this, I was quite surprised,” he says.
“It wasn’t what I was expecting at all.”
The domiciliary services team reaches out to patients who do not often have much contact with the outside world.
“It’s important that these patients have good oral health. Giving them good teeth will give them self-confidence and self-pride,” Anthony says.
“When we visit them, they have contact with other people, not just their family members.”
Being on the move also makes a Dental Prosthetist creative in treating their patients. Anthony says that the team has developed their own skills to adapt to the patient’s surroundings.
“You don’t have proper dental chairs in homes. Sometimes we treat them on their beds, or with us kneeling down.”
Last updated: 2014-01-22