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Camera key to healthy smiles

20 March 2018

New technology is going to make a trip to the dentist more informative and less scary. Kirwan Health Campus’s Oral Health Services will today trial a new “intra-oral” health camera linked to a tablet.  

The camera is able to be placed in the patient’s mouth to show both the patient and their parents the condition of the mouth and what treatment is recommended.

Townsville Hospital and Health Board Chair Tony Mooney said the new technology would help demystify a trip to the dentist.

“This project will give our patients a chance to see the problem, understand the treatment and learn about how to manage their teeth after they’ve gone,” Mr Mooney said.

“It is a project that will make for a better experience for our patients, improve our communities understanding of oral health and lead to better health outcomes.”

Oral Health Services clinical director Dr Erick Gonzales said he was delighted to announce the trial to coincide with World Oral Health Day 2018.

“What we know is that using technology to help educate patients has become more widespread and more effective in improving health literacy and outcomes,” he said.

“Oral health is essential to general health and well-being and understanding how to properly look after your teeth from a young age is hugely important.

“This is not something that people know intuitively they have to be taught and that is where I believe these cameras will make a significant difference.”

Dr Gonzales said the cameras will be rolled out to nine school dental vans which travel across North Queensland, two school dental clinics and the oral health campuses at Kirwan and North Ward.

Mr Mooney said the project was developed by oral health clinicians and funded through just under $20,000 from the Townsville HHS’s innovation fund.

“This is a project developed by clinicians at the front line and supported and funded by the hospital and health service,” he said.

“Research and innovation like this is essential to our future and remains a key part of us being Northern Australia’s tertiary health hub.

“I very much look forward to seeing the results of this one-year trial.”

Dr Gonzales said cameras in all 11 sites will be operational by 1 July.

The success of the program will be measured by parent feedback forms and if successful will be considered for rollout across the adult service and regional oral health clinics.

Dr Gonzales said World Oral Health Day is celebrated worldwide on 20 March and is the largest global awareness campaign on oral health. 

The day aims to move towards a minimum standard of oral health care where

  • Seniors have a total of 20 natural teeth at the end of their life
  • Children should have 20 baby teeth
  • Health adults have 32 teeth and no dental cavities
Last updated: 14 August 2018