ADAVB President's Comments
September 2018 Hide Comments
In brief: Convention, Dental Health Week and public dental services
ADAVB Convention
Those who attended the ADAVB Convention in August benefited from inspiring international and Australian keynote speakers covering the topics of periodontics, prosthodontics, endodontics, as well as ethics and work–life balance. There was also a plethora of supporting speakers, not only for the dentist program, but the auxiliary programs as well, making this program one for the whole dental practice. The success of the Convention was reflected by the nearly 900 attendees and the positive comments we received. 
At the Convention we provided an ADAVB/eviDent Member Lounge to offer both members and non-members the opportunity to catch up with and meet Councillors, fellow members and staff. The Lounge showcased: 
  • The expertise of Community Relations Officers/Professional Consultants who support and provide advice to our members 
  • The Practice Plus unit, which provides resources and policies for practices to be compliant with regulations and assist in accreditation of your practice 
  • High quality CPD programs that are available for all stages your career 
  • Ongoing advocacy to ensure that our profession and the oral health of our community is represented in all levels of government. 
Plus, we had information available about the many lifestyle benefits of being an ADA member, including discounts on car purchases, white goods, electrical products, travel and entertainment discounts. 
After day one of the Convention, we enjoyed the eviDent Foundation’s Fundraising dinner. The theme was ‘Enchanted Garden’, which it truly was, with good food, live music and dancing as well as auction items that included rare wines, sporting event packages and holidays.
I would like to thank the CPD Committee and ADAVB teams and staff who organised and supported another stellar Convention. For those who missed the Convention this year, why not consider the next ADAVB convention in two years’ time? I am sure there will be something for everyone once again.
Dental Health Week
Dental Health Week occurred 6–12 August, with the theme ‘Watch Your Mouth’. We wanted the public to not only think about their teeth but their overall oral health, such as their gums, seeing their dentist for regular examinations, as well as healthy eating. 
Although Dental Health Week is over for this year, there are still resources available for your practices to promote oral health education for your patients.
Public dental services
Unfortunately, not all Victorians are able to see a dentist on a regular basis. Public dental services in Victoria are intended to protect these vulnerable Victorians, but unfortunately, long-term inadequate funding has led to increasing waiting lists and 16,000 potentially avoidable hospitalisations per year, including more than 6,000 children and young people aged 0–19 years. 
At present, the public sector can only treat about 400,000 of the 2.5 million eligible Victorians annually. During Dental Health Week, we launched a campaign to challenge the Victorian Government to significantly increase and maintain public dental funding, so that, within five years, at least 800,000 eligible Victorians can be treated annually. This campaign received significant media coverage.
As the peak body for Victorian dentists, ADAVB’s mission is to advance the oral health of all Victorians and the professional lives of our members. We take this mission seriously, and will continue to advocate on current issues impacting our members and Victorians’ oral health. I am confident that our campaign focusing on public oral health will give us more traction with the Government and more visibility to the public. We can then continue our other advocacy (such as equality of dental rebates from private health insurers) as a more influential professional body.
The ADAVB staff continue to work tirelessly representing us in advocacy and providing many critical services. But if we members can also become more active, for example, by writing to members of our Victorian and federal governments, talking to our patients, staff and other colleagues, we can help create the changes that benefit not only our profession, but also our community.
Dr Kevin Morris

The value of face-to-face communication
My fleeting handshake with the Tasmanian Health Minister at the Tasmanian Health Conference moved my contemplation for this month’s ADATB President’s note. My five-second elevator pitch was lost, my name undoubtedly forgotten, and I wondered if I would have been better to have sent a text message instead? 
As I sit in the lunchroom watching my colleagues chat over smartphones, I turn my phone to silent and ask my friend if he had a good weekend. I enjoy watching the animation in his face and the conversation is dynamic and fruitful; we talk about his plans to help the unseen homeless and through our talk discover a community of practice that would not have transpired had we communicated through email alone. He would not have conveyed his message in five seconds, nor would he have displayed his passion quite as effectively over an article. 
Fear not readers, this does not mean that I will be providing a video note in future, but I will attempt to take the time to talk to you face to face when the opportunity arises, and would encourage you to build on our community. To quote JB Priestly, ‘the more we elaborate our means of communication, the less we communicate’.
To a more traditional mode of communication, I was able to talk to ABC breakfast radio listeners about basic oral hygiene measures and the need to regularly visit a dental professional. A collaborative, tailor-made approach to care was discussed and listeners were directed to the ADA website resources and list of ADA members to access care. 
Other work on oral health promotion includes the ADA and Australian Health Policy Collaboration’s launch of Australia’s Oral Health Tracker. Australia’s Oral Health Tracker comprises national report cards that detail the current state of Australians’ oral health. These report cards (adults, children and young people) are a world first, and place Australia as the first country in the world to have established clear and measurable oral health targets.
Finally, with my talk about community of practice in mind, the ADATB annual dinner will soon be with us on 24 November. With venues taking bookings for Christmas parties, please keep this date in your diaries as a time to reconnect with your dental community and celebrate another year on our beautiful island. 
Dr Angie Nilsson

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