The Lift the Lip program aims to improve children’s oral health through early access to oral health care for all children aged 0 – 5 years. Child Health Nurses incorporate a Lift the Lip screening as part of the “Head to Toe” assessment undertaken at key ages, looking for signs of early childhood caries. Evidence shows the progress of tooth decay can be prevented if it is identified early.
The program has a range of resources available to support Child Health Nurses and Oral Health Clinics.
If Child Health Nurses identify signs of tooth decay, or any other dental issue, the child can be referred to a dental practitioner at any Queensland Health oral health clinic using the Lift the Lip referral form (PDF, 200KB).
The referral process:
Caries risk assessment and anticipatory guidance completed.
Copy filed in patient chart as per local processes (a copy may be given to the parent/guardian to keep as a reference if requested).
The parents/guardians of all children referred to Queensland Health Oral Health Services will be contacted within two weeks (or earlier if urgent) of receiving the referral from Child Health Nurses. An appointment will be offered as soon as convenient.
There is no waiting list for children attending Queensland Health oral health clinics.
Services provided by Queensland Health Oral Health Services are free for eligible children.
All children aged 0–18 years and their siblings referred to Queensland Health oral health clinics through the Lift the Lip program will have access to free general dental care.
In consultation with parents/guardians the Child Health Nurse will refer children to Lift the Lip follow-up programs operating at designated Queensland Health oral health clinics. Follow-up care can also be accessed at other public oral health clinics if more convenient.
Identifying tooth decay is easy as it usually begins on the outer surface of the top front teeth. Simply lift the child’s top lip to check the outer surfaces of the front teeth. White, chalky lines on the teeth near the gum line can be signs of early childhood caries. If signs of early childhood caries are identified, refer the child to any Queensland Health oral health clinic. If parents/guardians prefer to visit a private dental practitioner, recommend they make an appointment for a full assessment with their preferred provider.
Referral is optional
Early sign of decay
White lines along the gums can be the beginnings of tooth decay