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Letter to the Editor

Editor, – Associate Professor Michael McCullough says that Therapeutic Guidelines: Oral and Dental is now available to every member of the Australian Dental Association and dental students (Aust Prescr 2010;33:167-70). Does this also apply to the foreign trained dentists who are now practising in Australia? Many of them are working in rural and remote areas with very little peer support and do not appear to be receiving education on accepted Australian therapeutic practices.

As a pharmacist involved in remote and rural and indigenous health issues, I have had many discussions with dentists who have been trained in different treatment protocols from what is accepted as best therapeutic practice in Australia. What is the Australian Dental Association doing to assist this growing number of foreign trained dentists? The professional isolation for these practitioners is of concern to both them and the pharmacists who dispense their prescriptions.

Karalyn J Huxhagen
Professional programs manager
AFS Friendly Care Pharmacy
Mackay, Qld

Author's comments

Associate Professor Michael McCullough comments:

The Australian Dental Association supplies the Therapeutic Guidelines: Oral and Dental to its members for free. Overseas trained dentists are strongly encouraged to join the Australian Dental Association and are treated as student members before they are registered with the Dental Board of Australia. Overseas trained dentists must pass the Australian Dental Council exams before registration and there is a strong expectation that candidates for these exams will have thorough knowledge of the accepted best therapeutic practice for dentistry as outlined in Therapeutic Guidelines. Without full knowledge of these guidelines it would be extremely unlikely that candidates would pass these very difficult exams.

The Australian Dental Association is very concerned about all rural and remote practising dentists and in particular those trained overseas. It runs an excellent professional development program targeting remote dentists. The program is delivered via the internet as 'webinars' which are generally held in the early evening to have least disturbance to clinical practice. The most recent webinars were extremely well attended (over 70 participants). This service is free and all dentists, particularly overseas trained dentists working in remote regions of Australia where professional interaction is more difficult, should be encouraged to join the Australian Dental Association and access these services.