Taranaki Community Oral Health Mobile bus in Patea

21 March 2012

The mobile dental bus has been in Patea for three weeks and has seen almost 100 children.

Taranaki DHB Dental therapist Sue Armstrong said the bus is fantastic. “The feedback has been very positive. Parents and caregivers who have been through it have commented how good it is to have it on site and so accessible”.

The bus travels to areas in South Taranaki. “There is a lot of work for us here at Patea is this is one of the areas where there is no fluoride in the water,” said Mrs Armstrong.

It’s a Level two treatment facility which means the team both examines and provides a range of treatment on board. Two dental therapists work in the bus along with two dental assistants.

The bus contains two fully equipped dental surgeries with a central sterilizing ‘room’ with state-of-the-art equipment, including two dental x-ray machines, an x-ray developer plus an air compressor to run the dental chairs.

“We encourage parents to call in and if they are walking past with wee ones who haven't been enrolled. They should feel free to venture on board and say hi so we can make an appointment for any young ones,” said Mrs Armstrong.

“We still firmly believe prevention is the most important aspect of our work and only resort to treatment when the prevention has failed, so the earlier we meet families the better.”

“We are a whanau based service which means we treat in family groups and like to meet caregivers/parents and/or grandparents too - then we can talk to them if there are any dental problems and/or answer any questions they might have”.

At the moment therapists on the bus treat almost 2,000 patients (from 0-18 years), with 140 of them being adolescents from Opunake High School. It parks up on site twice yearly in the following schools: Waverley Primary, Patea Primary, Eltham Primary, Kaponga Primary, Manaia Primary and Opunake High School. The bus will be in Eltham Primary from next week.

The bus is at Patea Primary School and media are invited to a photo opportunity at 10am Thursday 22 March.

For more information please call
Sue Carrington
Media Advisor
Ph 021 367 789

Last updated: Thursday, March 22, 2012

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