Community dental clinics in Victoria provide priority access and co-payment exemptions to refugees and asylum seekers. As part of Refugee Week, we're showcasing a project aimed at helping refugees and asylum seekers gain better access to oral health.
Read more about Doutta Galla Community Health's project, "Talking about Teeth".
Doutta Galla Community Health is finding ways to help refugees and asylum seekers achieve better oral health, through a study looking at how barriers to visiting a dentist could be addressed.
Doutta Galla Community Health commenced on “Talking about Teeth” to study ways to implement the Model of Care for refugees and asylum seekers released by Victorian community services earlier this year.
Talking about Teeth studied how Horn of Africa residents accessed dental care with an aim to help them overcome barriers to visiting a dentist.
Anne Lennard, Manager of Oral Health and Dental Services at Doutta Galla Community Health said refugees were not always aware they were eligible for free dental treatment.
“Residents were not seeking dental care due to cost and language barriers,” Ms Lennard said.
She also said that the community viewed the absence of pain as a sign of good dental health.
“Community members stopped seeking treatment when they no longer felt pain as they associated absence of pain with good health.”
Ms Lennard said the study emphasised the need to improve communication and engagement with the community to help residents understand how to access dental services.
“We need to create a friendly and welcoming space for them, and identify their needs such as interpreter services and eligibility to gain priority access,” she said.
Ms Lennard said Doutta Galla Community Health will also look at studying other risk groups.
Find out more about refugee and asylum seeker dental services in Victoria.
(Images from Doutta Galla Community Health)
Last updated: 2016-04-08