A taste for the desert
As a rebellious teenager living on the south coast of New South Wales, Robyn Hallam wanted to get her teeth into the big smoke of Sydney. Not without a job, was the response from her parents.
Fast track about 27 years and Mrs Hallam is a senior dental assistant at Oral Health Services NT on Flynn Drive. Her journey was not with- out its difficulties.
“My parents knowing me well and having had to deal with my huge fear of needles responded with ‘awesome, you will be the fainting dental assistant’,’’ Mrs Hallam said. “This is not a job to me, it’s a career and I’m passionate about it.” Her job brings smiles to people’s faces as well as her own. “Probably the most import- ant thing to me is watching someone who has had poor oral hygiene and dental aesthetics in the past, learn that it is possible to smile with confidence by changing their tooth brushing and dental care ways,” Mrs Hallam said.
“They then are able to leave the surgery holding their head high and smile, and more importantly they are no longer in pain. “This is what I truly love to see happen, where I feel great and it all feels worthwhile.” Her most unusual case was as amusing as it was jaw drop- ping, involving a scuba diver.
“Probably the most unusual would be when a patient presented to us after having made them brand new dentures,” she said. “Only weeks before, they had been scuba diving and when pulling their breathing apparatus from their mouth in the water, the dentures had popped out and fallen to the sea floor.” The dentures were never to be found again and Mrs Hal- lam saw the funny side.
“The poor patient was then the gummy shark so to speak and required an entire new set. “I have wondered what a fish would look like swimming around with false teeth.”
So why the move to the Alice Springs?
“It all started four years ago when I commenced carrying out placements in the NT both Central and Top End for the Remote Area Health Corps, who source dental professionals to work remotely,” Mrs Hallam said. “Most people head for the coast and have a sea change or a country change; not us, we are having a desert change.”
Reference: Kossatch, N (2015). A taste for the desert'. Published by the Centralian Adovate on 23 June 2015, page 9.