Lift the Lip screening

Simply lift the child's top lip and check the outer surface of the top front teeth. Below are photographs to help you identify children with tooth decay.

Image of healthy teeth

Healthy teeth - No referral required

Image of teeth with arrows pointing to signs of decay on the teeth

Early signs of decay - White lines on the top teeth near the gumline can be the beginning of tooth decay. Please refer.

Photo of a childs teeth showing more advanced decay - brown areas or decayed spots.

More advanced decay - Brown areas or decayed spots. Please refer.

Referring children with tooth decay

Children with early signs of decay can be referred by a health professional using the 'Lift the Lip' screening tool, to any SA Dental Service School Dental Clinic or private dental practice.

The referral process

  • the health professional completes a referral form
  • a copy of the referral is given to the parent or guardian to keep as a reference
  • a copy is posted or faxed to SA Dental Service, fax (08) 7117 0014 (reply paid envelopes are provided)
  • the health professional should keep a copy
  • the parent or guardian can choose to attend either the public (School Dental Service) or the private dental sector.
  • children referred to the School Dental Service receive priority dental care
  • there are no waiting lists for children accessing dental care at School Dental Service Clinics
  • dental care is free for preschool children who attend the School Dental Service
  • School Dental Service clinics are located throughout South Australia
  • children can attend a School Dental Service clinic without a referral
  • the School Dental Service recommends children have a dental check at around 12 months.

See our list of SA Dental Service clinics (PDF 44KB) to locate a school dental service clinic.

Lift the Lip screening tool