DHSV recognises evidence-informed clinical practice and policy development is essential to improve oral health outcomes. We partner with academics, consumers, professional associations, policy-makers and health service providers to undertake research and provide thought leadership to improve the oral health of Victorians and Australians. Our focus is to promote prevention and early intervention, the integration of oral health with general health, value-based health care and oral health equity.  DHSV has collaborated with the following:

  • The University of Melbourne
  • La Trobe University
  • Deakin University
  • Victorian Department of Health
  • Community dental agencies

Lin CE, Nguyen TM, McGrath R, Patterson A, Hall M. Dental Health Services Victoria value‐based health care principles for oral health models of care. Journal of Public Health Dentistry. 2023

Value-based health care is being rapidly adopted to promote a focus on patient outcomes and value. Dental Health Services Victoria recognises the potential for value-based health care to improve population oral health and drive healthcare efficiencies. However, the concept of value-based health care and its translation into practice can be challenging to understand. To support translation to practice, Dental Health Services Victoria developed three key principles that can underpin oral health models of care and support front-line staff in implementing value-driven care. These include:

  1. Care is co-designed with the person or population
  2. Prevention and early intervention are prioritised
  3. Consistent measurement of health outcomes and costs is embedded.

Nguyen TM, Rogers H, Taylor GD, Tonmukayakul U, Lin C, Hall M, Calache H, Vernazza C. Fit for Purpose? The Suitability of Oral Health Outcome Measures to Inform Policy. JDR Clinical & Translational Research. 2023 

The decayed, missing, and filled teeth index is commonly used to measure oral health and disease burden. It focuses on dental problems due to tooth decay but does not consider how they affect people’s lives. This paper proposes that we should consider using tools that measure the outcomes that patients care about. These tools, including patient-reported outcome measures and patient-reported experience measures, can help shape policies that better address the needs and preferences of patients in oral healthcare.

Prioritising population oral health through public policy: the Victorian experience

Nguyen TM, Lin C, Raichur A, Patterson A, Hall M, Aldrich R, Robinson S. Prioritizing population oral health through public policy in Australia: the Victorian experience. Health Promotion International. 2023.

This paper explores the pivotal role Victoria's local councils can play to advance oral health. It examines the influence Victorian Public Health and Wellbeing Plans can have on local councils’ Municipal Health and Wellbeing plans. The results show that the inclusion of specific oral health priorities mostly decreased over time but that common risk factors for oral and chronic diseases were frequently prioritised. The study suggests that a multi-sectoral approach, that includes oral health, is crucial to address the rising burden of non-communicable diseases.

Is value-based healthcare a strategy to achieve universal health coverage that includes oral health? An Australian case study.

Nguyen TM, Bridge G, Hall M, Theodore K, Lin C, Scully B, Heredia R, Le LK, Mihalopoulos C, Calache H. Is value-based healthcare a strategy to achieve universal health coverage that includes oral health? An Australian case study. Journal of Public Health Policy. 2023 May 4:1-5.

Value-based healthcare is a strategy that focuses on healthcare outcomes relative to cost. Dental Health Services Victoria began implementing value-based healthcare in 2016 to reform public oral healthcare. This paper explores a value-based healthcare case study for the oral health context and demonstrates that it is a potential strategy to achieve universal health coverage that includes oral health. The flexibility of value-based healthcare is helpful because it considers a diverse health workforce and alternative funding models beyond fee-for-service.

Supporting oral health in Timor Leste and the Western Pacific Region

Nguyen T, Han C, Hall M, The Health Advocate, Supporting oral health in Timor Leste and the Western Pacific Region, Issue 72/August 2023, page 15 

Dental Health Services Victoria has spent over six years building international partnerships to improve oral health in the region, from Timor Leste to the Western Pacific. These partnerships aim to build local oral health capacity while also providing an opportunity for Dental Health Services Victoria staff to learn from other nations. In 2023, Dental Health Services Victoria initiated the Colin Riley Scholarship for Victorian public oral health professionals to participate in clinical placements and support training in the Western Pacific region. Additionally, three dental vans were donated to further support oral health services in these areas.

Nguyen TM, Arora A, Sethi S, Gavanescu DJ, Heredia R, Scully B, Lin C, Hall M. Is Australia's lack of national clinical leadership hampering efforts with the oral health policy agenda? Aust Health Rev. 2023

This paper outlines the case for national clinical leadership, including the appointment of Australia’s first Chief Dental Officer, to drive national oral health reform and address oral health inequities. The World Health Organisation Global Strategy on Oral Health 2030 recognised the need to include oral health in universal health coverage and the role of national clinical leadership in driving this forward. This article discusses the oral health issues in Australia, its healthcare system, and past challenges of Australian funded dental programs. It emphasises the importance of expertise in dental public health to guide national policies that focus on prevention and early intervention.

Lessons learned from a Victorian public dental model of care focusing on periodontitis: A case study

Nguyen TM, Tonmukayakul U, Lin C, Scully B, Heredia R, Bischof W, Hall M, Calache H. Lessons learned from a Victorian public dental model of care focusing on periodontitis: A case study. Australian & New Zealand Journal of Dental & Oral Health Therapy. 2022;10(2).

This paper describes a preventive care model for severe gum disease, centred around the role of oral health educators, at a community health service. Evaluation showed the model increased dental service rates, particularly for preventive services and self-reported outcomes due to severe gum disease.

Nguyen TM, Tonmukayakul U, Hall M, Calache H. Cost‐effectiveness analysis of silver diamine fluoride to divert dental general anaesthesia compared to standard care. Australian Dental Journal. 2022;67(4):352-61.

Silver diamine fluoride is medicine used to stop tooth decay from getting worse and can help prevent the need for dental treatment under general anaesthetics, particularly among children. This study is a health economic evaluation of a trial using silver diamine fluoride for children aged 2-10 in Victoria. Over 12 months, silver diamine fluoride was found to be cost-effective, save costs to the healthcare system and significantly reduce the number of children requiring dental treatment under general anaesthesia. Silver diamine fluoride is a good option for managing dental caries in children and should be promoted more broadly into routine clinical dental practice.

Lin C, Goncalves N, Scully B, Heredia R, Hegde S. A Teledentistry Pilot Study on Patient-Initiated Care. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 2022;19(15):9403.

This paper outlines Dental Health Services Victoria's patient-initiated teledentistry model of care and its strengths in reaching vulnerable populations. From May 2020 to April 2021, 2,492 patients accessed telehealth services, with positive patient-reported experience measures demonstrating that teledentistry was able to provide safe and critical access to dental services during the COVID-19 pandemic.