Children's Community Dental Service

Lesley Ung and Alyssa Tang

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The students worked in collaboration with Auckland Regional Dental Service (ARDS) to revitalise and refresh the current ARDS brand. The aim was to provide an enjoyable experience while advocating for a brighter smile and a better future for our tamariki.

The project sought to present ARDS as a fun and memorable experience for children. With the goal of better dental health in mind, they identified ARDS’ role as critical in developing healthy teeth. Rgental check-ups mean issues are identified and fixed before they become debilitating in adulthood. These dental service engagements are significant to educate families to better care for their teeth. By reframing dental check-ups as an easy, inviting, and fun experience, ARDS can increase engagement with families and mitigate the risk of serious dental caries in the future.

The students designed a kit consisting of mascots, activity booklets, ‘Mission control,’ and an educational animation. The animal mascots were the proposed ‘face’ of the service that accompanied children on their journey through ARDS. Their research identified that having a ‘familiar figure’ at the dental clinic excited children and helped them be at ease during their check-ups. The educational animation made by Lesley Ung focuses on The Patient's Journey. It communicates key information that parents usually feel overwhelmed about and briefly introduces the procedures. The short is currently being played in ARDS’ clinic’s waiting rooms, reception areas and is used as an informative online resource.

The animation engages and resonates with audiences without being heavily reliant on text. The main characters represent people of Polynesian and/or Māori descent (with character design and cultural motifs) highlighting inclusivity within the service. Alyssa Tang's project Smile Agents aims to improve engagement between dental clinics and families. Good oral health behaviour relies heavily on establishing habits and routine. The project had to consider the absence of parents and ensure that privilege was not a barrier for children to participate in activities. The resources Alyssa designed focus on providing education and encouraging children to take control of their dental health whilst also being fun and engaging.