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December 2021

5 women stood infront of the Free Dental van stood under umbrellas jpeg
Albany Rise Primary School principal Judith Drew, office manager Janine Wilson, Link HC dental assistant Kaylee Mitchell, and dental therapists Manar Maroky and Nootu Isamaela.

Dental van return has kids smiling

It has been more than a decade since the Link Health and Community (Link HC) dental van visited Albany Rise Primary School in Mulgrave.

Link HC last visited Albany Rise in 2008 as part of the state’s school dental program.

Dental therapists Manar Maroky and Nootu Isamaela and dental assistant Kaylee Mitchell were the original team members who returned to the school this year – in a new, state-of-the-art dental van.

‘Picking Albany Rise to start the Smile Squad program was just a coincidence, really,’ Ms Maroky said.

‘But for us, it was like a family reunion.

‘It’s very special.’

‘Joining this team again is like coming home,’ Ms Mitchell said.

‘We’ve each grown together and built great relationships – it speaks volumes about the work we’re doing and the care we put into each child’s dental treatments.

‘We give children a foundation they can then build on regarding their oral health.

‘If we capture that early on, we believe we can pass on really good oral hygiene habits to follow all through their life.’

Link HC’s metro dental team is delivering the Victorian Government-funded Smile Squad program across the City of Monash.

Albany Rise is one of 34 primary schools in the area to benefit from the Smile Squad program, which will provide free dental care to more than 23,000 children in eligible schools in the Monash LGA.

‘The Smile Squad program is a very proactive, accessible and practical way for families at Albany Rise Primary School to access highest quality dental services and learn about good oral hygiene and dental care,’ principal Judith Drew said.

Ms Drew said Albany Rise staff had seen the impact the program has had on children’s wellbeing and general health with regular dental care improving students’ learning and self-esteem.

Latrobe Community Health Service owns and operates Link Health and Community.