Residential Aged Care Emergency Dental Service

The Residential Aged Care Emergency (RACE) Dental Service provides a standardised SA Dental Service Statewide approach for the management of emergency public dental care for older people living in Residential Aged Care Facilities (RACF’s) who are unable to leave the facility to attend a Community Dental Service (CDS) clinic because of severe physical, functional or cognitive impairment (see client criteria).

RACE defines two designated emergency dental referral pathways for senior RACF staff (such as registered nurses (RNs), Care Managers/Care Coordinators) and/or general practitioners (GPs) to follow:



Client criteria

The RACE Dental Service is ONLY for residents who are unable to attend a CDS clinic because of:

  • physical dependence and/or bed bound
  • functional dependence for all care needs
  • severe cognitive impairment
  • reliance on SA Ambulance Service (SAAS) assisted transport to attend off-site treatment.

RACE does not provide dental care in circumstances other than those described above.

Non-urgent general dental care

Maintaining a resident’s daily oral healthcare is an important way of reducing the incidence of dental emergencies.

For information on general oral healthcare, refer to the Better Oral Health in Residential Care Resources.

For non-urgent public dental care, it is recommended that eligible residents (holder of a current Pensioner Concession Card or Health Care Card) have their name placed on the SA Dental Service waiting list by contacting the closest CDS clinic.

When placing a resident’s name on the waiting list, RACF staff should provide the following information to assist clinic staff allocate the resident to the appropriate CDS clinic:

  • concession carddetails
  • presence of natural teeth and/or dentures
  • resident’s mobility and/or cognitive capacity and the level of assistance required to transfer into a dental chair
  • identify whether resident uses a wheelchair, mobility scooter or princess chair

At the time of the actual dental appointment, RACF staff should provide the CDS clinic staff with the following information:

  • resident’s current health summary information
  • indicate if the resident will be able to self-consent or whether consent is to be made by a substitute decision maker (provide contact details)
  • identify if an interpreter is required
  • name who has account payment responsibility.

Alternatively, if the resident (or their substitute decision maker) chooses not to place their name on the waiting list or the resident is not eligible for SA Dental Service, they should contact a private dentist (private fees apply). For assistance finding a private dentist refer to the Australian Dental Association.