Policies and Goals

The DHAA have agreed policies and goals that control the behaviour of the association at all times. These policies exist to ensure that procedures are followed predictably, and in the best interests of the association and it’s members.

The mechanisms that control our Association

The DHAA have a number of policies and a strategic plan that covers a wide variety of subjects. Please use the tabs below to see them in more detail.

DHAA Strategic Plan

In order to achieve our mission, the DHAA will:

1 Set high quality evidence based standards for the profession
1.01 Provide input to AHPRA and Dental Board of Australia on policies, codes and guidelines
1.02 Provide input to Australian Dental Council on accreditation and examination of overseas trained professionals
1.03 Maintain and review DHAA Code of Ethics
1.04 Liaise with universities, TAFE and education providers
1.05 Inform and support members regarding registration requirements

2 Provide communication and support to members
2.01 Produce Bulletin, increase Bulletin Team membership, occasionally print
2.02 Social media: Facebook, Instagram and Twitter
2.03 Maintain and update website
2.04 Member survey as required
2.05 Annual Report – ensure produced in a timely manner
2.06 IR support – need volunteers to monitor input
2.07 Hygiene Today research journal
2.08 IFDH membership, journal access and representation
2.09 Email campaigns
2.10 Monitor and review DHAA mention in electronic and print media
2.11 Consider development of mentoring program

3 Provide evidence-based professional development
3.01 Symposium – guidance for continuity
3.02 Locally run events
3.03 National Roadshow
3.04 Online CPD and webinars
3.05 Include program components to attract dentists and other professionals attend DHAA events
3.06 Do regular needs analysis to determine areas of demand for professional development

3 Provide evidence-based professional development
3.01 Include program components to attract dentists and other professionals attend DHAA events
3.02 Provide evidence based & scientific content
3.03 Develop strategy to increase attendance at events
3.04 Communicate with Branch CPD committees to increase number and diversity of suitable programs
3.05 Provide online professional development
3.06 Advance calendar of events to avoid scheduling conflict
3.07 Do regular needs analysis to determine areas of demand for professional development
3.08 Organise Annual Symposium of the DHAA Inc.
3.09 Review and update literature regarding role of dental hygienist/OHT, scope of practice and importance of oral health care

4 Promote optimal general health through provision of quality oral health services by Dental Hygienists & Oral Health Therapists
4.01 Collaborations with other professional bodies
4.02 Increase employment opportunities in a broad range of environments including non-clinical
4.03 Community Oral Health grant
4.04 Advocate for multidisciplinary teams
4.05 Promote delivery of services within comprehensive primary healthcare models
4.06 Endorse water fluoridation as a safe & effective health measure
4.07 Encourage dental industry regarding the utilization of dental hygienists & OHT in advertising material in TV and print
4.08 Review and update literature regarding role of dental hygienist & OHT, scope of practice and importance of dental hygiene care
4.09 Promote World Oral Health Day and other activities

5 Advocate in the interests of members, increase DHAA profile and be a unified voice for preventive oral health
5.01 Representation on relevant panels and committees
5.02 Participate in and prepare submissions to relevant legislation reviews and other matters
5.03 Media releases
5.04 Stakeholder & Industry relationships
5.05 Promote the dental hygienist & OHT as an integral part of the dental team
5.06 Establish relationships with Federal & State governments and health policy makers
5.07 Support regulations and/or codes of practice which allow use of dental hygienist & OHTs in community settings
5.08 Increase public profile in community and DHAA brand
5.09 Support the utilisation of dental hygiene services in the Public Sector
5.10 Engage with Primary Healthcare Networks on relevant primary care projects

6 Advance tertiary and post-graduate education and research
6.01 Research grants
6.02 Promote postgraduate opportunities for professional development
6.03 Student support grant
6.04 Develop a scholarship program for a student enrolled in higher degree program in Oral Health

7 Abide by principles of effective, transparent, ethical and financial governance
7.01 Develop membership strategy incl % growth, undergrads, associates, collateral, for 25th anniversary
7.02 Annual Board training
7.03 Appoint Executive Officer
7.04 Reconfirm role of State and Territory Committees
7.05 Procure sponsorship to facilitate continued Professional Development
7.06 Review succession plan processes
7.07 Develop and implement a financial investment strategy
7.08 Annual budget review and approval
7.09 Ensure Directors have ongoing training to develop their skills

NB: This strategic plan was last updated in April 2017.

DHAA Position Papers

DHAA Position Statement on scope of practice (Created: Feb 2018).
Download PDF

DHAA & BMS joint position statement on scope of practice of a dental hygienist or oral health therapist in relation to treating patients that have been administered relative analgesia (nitrous oxide) or conscious sedation or general anaesthesia. (Created: Jul 2018).
Download PDF

DHAA Approved Policies

The DHAA Inc. supports the use of:

  • Water fluoridation: As a safe and effective public health measure.
  • Topical fluoride applications: For individuals or groups at high caries risk, or for whom there is a need indicated after all other fluoride ingested sources are considered in consultation with the supervising dentist.
  • Fluoride toothpastes: Avoided under two years of age, smear of toothpaste dispensed, low fluoride children’s toothpaste under six years and twice daily generally.
  • Fluoride rinses and gels: Personalised regimes depending on the patient needs.

Reviewed: Dec 2015

To provide guidelines for the oral health professional to prevent the transmission of infectious diseases in the workplace.

Supporting Documents
1. Australian Guidelines for the Prevention and Control of Infection in Healthcare 2010.
2. Standards Australia AS/NZS4815:2006 (Available for purchase.)

These documents have been accepted by all major stakeholders as reasonable minimum standard precautions required for dental surgeries and training institutions for preventing the spread of infection. The documents are made more palatable by the fact that they have been written by independent bodies. They are comparable with the International Standards.

Our role as oral health professionals requires us to be responsible for all phases of our patients’ treatment whilst in our care. In addition to our clinical duties, we manage both pre and postoperative care. We are in charge of preparing our treatment area before patient care and implementing correct infection control procedures after we have dismissed the patient, as well as maintaining effective infection control procedures during the course of treatment.

As a professional practitioner, the oral health professionals perform a range of duties, which can put both patient and practitioner at risk of cross contamination unless standard infection techniques are in place. For further information visit the safety and quality website.

The DHAA Ltd. recommends all oral health professionals, in consultation with their general practitioner maintain vaccinations against polio, tetanus, diphtheria, mumps, rubella, tuberculosis, measles and hepatitis B.

Health Care Workers vaccination programs should reference the most recent edition of The Australian Immunisation Handbook (approved by NHMRC February 2008).
Influenza and meningococcal vaccinations should be considered during outbreaks.

Whenever a work injury is sustained, an injury report must be documented and filed with the principal of the practice. A written protocol must be in place and followed.

Useful resources;

Artificial Nails are not recommended for the dental care worker due to their increased potential in harbouring pathogenic organisms. Various studies have shown that acrylic and artificial nails harbour more pathogenic organisms than natural fingernails. These organisms, in some cases, can be transmitted and therefore compromise the health of our patients and their families.

The World Health Organisation, on their website, advise that artificial nails are not recommended for health care workers due to them being more likely to harbour gram negative pathogens, as compared to natural fingernails, both before and after hand-washing.

A study by McNeil,et al, 2001 showed this by comparing the differences in microflora on the nails of healthcare workers wearing artificial nails compared with control workers with native nails. They also assessed the effect on the microflora by hand cleansing with antimicrobial soap or alcohol-based gel. The study concluded that significantly more health care workers with artificial nails had pathogens remaining after hand-cleansing with soap or gel, compared to the control group.

A similar study by Hedderwick, et al, 2000, set out to determine the differences in the identity and quantity of microbial flora from health care workers wearing artificial nails compared with control workers with native nails. They found that artificial fingernails were more likely to harbour pathogens, especially gram negative bacilli and yeasts, than native nails. The longer that artificial nails are worn, the more likely that a pathogen was isolated. The study concluded that current recommendations restricting artificial fingernails in certain health care settings appear justified.

The full text for the above articles, as well as similar ones, can be viewed here.

The WHO website also has related publications to view and is a good resource for further information.

Updated: Nov 2007

Members will find this disclosure accompanying any material that requires the contribution of personal information. If you have any concerns about your personal privacy in regards to the Association contact The DHAA Inc.

Personal information supplied by you and third parties to the DHAA Inc. will be received, retained, used and disclosed by the DHAA Inc. and/or in conjunction with third parties and related companies for the primary purposes of:

  • The mailing of DHAA Inc. materials and publications
  • Special communications from the Association to members
  • Promotions of Association activities; PDP, Social & Professional Events
  • Subscription and membership notices
  • Contact details for communication with membership on an ad hoc basis

As well as for the secondary purpose of marketing. The third parties that the DHAA Inc. is likely to disclose your information to include:

  • Indemnity insurers
  • Representatives of the dental industry
  • Dental professionals: dentists, dental services, professional alliances, etc.
  • Financial institutions in accordance to board positions
  • Sale or provision of membership database to DHAA Ltd. alliances

The following statement will appear on membership subscription renewal forms, to confirm the essence of the policy as it relates to member information:

“The DHAA Inc. maintains a database of names, addresses and other information relevant to membership of the DHAA Inc. This data is accessed by the Association to mail information, including publications and member services. It is made available to related organisations which provide member services and benefits. Members may request that personal information not be passed on to a third party. However, this will result in the member being unable to receive such mailings. A member may request, at any time, a copy of personal information held by the Association.”

If you have any enquiries regarding the operation of the DHAA Inc. Privacy Policy, please contact the DHAA Ltd, National Office, P O Box 4122, KINGSTON, ACT 2604

To assist all Elected Board Members, Office Bearers, & Members to understand their obligations regarding the protection of DHAA Ltd. related information. The policy prohibits all persons from making inappropriate disclosures about association information on social networking sites or other social media. The terms and advised conduct outlined in this policy are not intended to be exhaustive or anticipate all possible uses of social media, members are encouraged to act with caution and take into account the underlying principles of this policy. Disciplinary action will be taken against any person who is found to be in breach of this policy.

The use of social networking sites and other social media in an association context is one of the most significant driving forces and communication tools in today’s society. It is a web-based technology that instantly makes a local conversation an international conversation and an interactive forum accessible all over the world. Benefits of social media and social networking include:
● Assisting in membership growth
● Provides another cost effective means for news distribution
● Engages and energises members
● Keeping our membership informed on real time basis on all advocacy issues
● Aids in networking opportunities
● Enhances DHAA ltd. visibility
● Greater reach in advertisement of events

However, social media usage raises privacy implications for all Elected Directors, Office Bearers, & Members. There can also be wider implications for the dental community and general public. This extends to posting comments about the DHAA Ltd. on social networking sites.

The DHAA Ltd. prohibits all Elected Directors, Office Bearers, & Members from making any public comments about the DHAA Ltd, that specifically name the DHAA Ltd., its personnel or the association, which may be offensive, defamatory or unsuitable in nature. Inappropriate or unintended disclosures of confidential information on social networking sites can raise potential damages to both the individual and the association including but not limited to:
● A defamation lawsuit;
● A copyright, patent or trademark infringement claims;
● A privacy or human rights complaint;
● Criminal charges with respect to obscene or hate materials;
● Damage to the DHAA Ltd. reputation and interests; and
● Advertising in breach of Dental Board, Dental Council or ACCC regulations

Social networking media includes but is not limited to Facebook, Twitter, Yammer, Vimeo, YouTube and Bebo.

All Elected Board Directors, Office Bearers, & Members are requested to respect the confidentiality of the association. Any person who creates a personal blog must state clearly that any comment they make is their own personal view and not that of the DHAA Ltd. Blogs and their content should not be demeaning or accusational towards the DHAA Ltd. and/or any of its members nor should it contain irrelevant or disturbing content.
Please note that the only official spokesperson for the DHAA Ltd. is the presiding National President and no other person/member should speak on behalf of the DHAA Ltd. unless with the expressed permission granted by the National Board.
The form of disciplinary action taken against any person found to be in breach of this policy will be determined on a case-by-case basis.

Further Reading
The Australian Health Practitioners Regulation Agency has a Social Media policy which is applicable to all registered practitioners; this can be found on their website https://www.ahpra.gov.au/News/2014-02-13-revised-guidelines-code-and-policy.aspx

Gagnon, K., & Sabus, C. (2015). Professionalism in a Digital Age: Opportunities and Considerations for Using Social Media in Health Care.Physical Therapy, 95(3), 406-414. Accessed November 27, 2016. http://dx.doi.org/10.2522/ptj.20130227

Rolls, K., Hansen, M., Jackson, D., & Elliott, D. (2016). How Health Care Professionals Use Social Media to Create Virtual Communities: An Integrative Review. Journal of Medical Internet Research, 18(6), e166. http://doi.org/10.2196/jmir.5312

Version: 2
Last reviewed: 30 Nov 2016
Next review due: 30 Nov 2018