The Dental Assistants Professional Association is proud to host this National Conference in 2021. The Annual National Dental Assistants Conference represents one of the biggest dental assistant gatherings in Australia, attracting not only assistants but all dental team members from around the country.

Join us for a fantastic line-up of topics and exceptional presenters suitable for all the dental team. In its 14th year, this popular event provides a huge choice of sessions, including the esteemed Dental Assisting Awards of Excellence for those dedicated team members who deserve recognition by their professional peers.

  • Spectacular program
  • Virtual Trade exhibition - New products and services
  • Quizzes, Awards and Prizes
  • Chat room for networking and questions

Your invitation

You are warmly invited to the Dental Assistants Professional Association National Conference Saturday 13th March 2021. As we all navigate a time of much change, our original plans for a two day in-house event have been reshaped by current restrictions in our new COVID safe environment.

We don’t want you to miss this event through possible COVID restrictions, so have moved from our original conference centre to a Virtual Conference Platform which you can view from the comfort of your own office PC, laptop or mobile device in your own home or workplace. This means everyone in all states and territories will be able to share in this excellent opportunity for professional development and a great interactive time of fun.

Using an easy interactive program you can listen to your selection of presentations, interact with exhibitors, participate in competitions, network with colleagues and win prizes. It will be a great fun and educational experience! Bring your career aspirations and aim high! If conditions allow, its a good opportunity to build workplace team relationships and view as a group, perhaps including your own mini conference lunch break together?

The program of excellent presenters will bring you exciting innovations that are transforming dentistry, new ways to meet future business trends, and ensure your skills and knowledge are up-to-date to deal with the changing oral health landscape of 2021. There will be topics relevant to the new COVID management systems and our exhibitor information will inform your choice of items for the practice. The program encompasses all the dental team – Clinicians, Practice Managers, Clinical Co-ordinators, Hygienists, Oral Health Therapists and Dental Assistants.   Our aim is to motivate and inspire you, as well as provide an opportunity to obtain professional development with your colleagues from some of the most highly respected clinicians and professionals of this industry.


At the close of the day, we will be acknowledging the amazing contribution that dental assistants provide to the profession through the presentation of the Vern Barnett Awards for Excellence in Dental Assisting. If you have an indispensable team member, someone who has been invaluable to the practice and has inspired your career, nominate them for one of the award categories of the Vern Barnett Awards.

10 Dental
CPD Hours





Terry Mcauley


David Wenban

Managing Director, Australian Health Industry Group

Cathy Schafer


Leonard Brown

General Manager - Mun Australia

Dr Markijan Hupalo

Sydney Prosthodontics

Dr John Fahey

Managing Director - Cynergex Group

Kathy Metaxas

Director - PLATINUM Professional Development

Dr Michelle Heffernan

President - Eastern Suburbs Dental Group

Dr Soni Stephen

President - Australian and NZ Society of Paediatric Dentistry

Dr Alexander Holden

Senior Lecturer - University of Sydney

Dr Angelo Lazaris

Sydney Cosmetic Dentist

Karen Cusack

Health Complaints Commissioner - Victoria

Dr Penelope Jones

Working Posture for the Dental Profession

Assoc Professor Mark Schifter

University of Sydney

The Conference program is continually being updated, check back often for the updates.

Registration & Pricing

Details of pricing and discounts can be found on our secure registration page.

Vern-Barnett Awards for Excellence in Dental Assisting

The Vern-Barnett Awards have been established to commemorate the contributions made by Mrs Kathy and Dr Brian Vern-Barnett as individuals and as a team to the education, advancement and recognition of Dental Assisting as integral to the professional standing of the dental health team.

Each year the Dental Assistants Professional Association gives dental practices, employers and staff the opportunity to nominate a dental assistant who has done something extraordinary in the profession of dental assisting for an award recognising their excellence.

Perhaps this person has influenced a student, volunteered to help the underserved, organised continuing education courses, developed procedures to improve the workplace, been an exceptional mentor for staff or made your workplace a better environment in which to operate.

We all know these people. They are the unsung heroes, those who reach out to their colleagues and patients because they have a passion for their profession and want to inspire that passion in others.

Download nomination form



Welcome and introduction to virtual conference

Session 1a :

Dental Trauma Through The Ages

Dr Michelle Heffernan

Session 1b :

Policies? Procedures? How to write them, How to make sense of them, know what you need.

Cathy Schafer

Policy, Procedures, how to write them, how to make sense of them, how to know what you need, how to get your staff to read them? Practice manager? Senior dental assistant? Thrown in the deep end and been told to prepare policy and procedure documents for the practice? Don’t feel overwhelmed, don’t feel like you need to reinvent the wheel. There are lots of useful information available for you to help with this process. How to get your staff to read and acknowledge the policies and procedures? Some helpful and easy ways will be demonstrated for you in this presentation designed to help you with these tasks.

Session 2a :

Clinical, Environmental and Therapeutic Innovations coming to Exam Gloves

Len Brown

Examination gloves are a vital piece of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) in the healthcare sector that not only protect the wearer but also those in care. While there have been advancements in examination gloves to make them more comfortable and easier to wear, new challenges in the clinical, environmental and therapeutic space mean that new innovations are needed: the rise of antimicrobial resistant pathogens requires new ways to maintain infection control standards in dental practices; Increased use of disposable PPE, especially during the pandemic, has implications for the environment that need to be addressed; and skin reactions from increased glove use and hand hygiene can cause injury and limitations in doing tasks. This webinar will look at each of these challenges and how new technology within exam gloves can help overcome them.
Sesion 2b :

Ensuring Socially Safe Dental Practice: Is your practice Really Caring for Oral Health and Patients?

Dr Alex Holden

Dental teams are always encouraged to practice in a way which is non-judgemental and places the interests of patients first. We all aspire to that expectation, but do we sometimes miss the mark? This presentation will explore essential components to the idea of social competence in dentistry, considering how dentists view patients who struggle to fund their dental care, as well as how the media portray dentistry and those who provide care.

Session 3a :

Oral Mucosal Pathology including oral cancer

Dr Mark Schifter

Session 3b :

Generational Differences – How this affects us as a Team

Kathy Metaxas

Session 4a :

Teeth Whitening – Tips and Tricks for Successful Outcomes

Dr Angelo Lazaris

Session 4b :

The 10 Step Plan to Better Staff Performance in Your Clinic

David Wenban

The business analogy is that if you fail to plan, you plan to fail. Performance and compliance in your clinic occurs when you have a structured and considered plan for the business and its staff. In this session David will outline his 10step plan to your staff to perform better.


A comprehensive trade exhibition will be available in the “virtual exhibition hall” where you can download brochures and chat with the exhibitors.

Session 5a :

Management of the Medical Emergency in your Surgery

John Fahey

The starting point in the management of any emergency is to understand the threats posed by the operational environment in which we find ourselves. In this case, the environment is the dental practice.

Knowing these conditions allows us to design a systemic response that deals with the threats posed by medical emergencies in their order of priority. Thus, when we are confronted with a collapsed or fitting patient, we start by treating for and thus excluding or proving a faint. We lay the patient flat. If this does not work, we can confirm or exclude a cardiac arrest and begin CPR. From here we can mov e on to dealing with the other conditions in order. This is the basis of our course which teaches practice teams to identify a problem and deal with it in a systematic and effective manner using a suite of equipment and advanced procedures suitable for professional health practitioners.
Session 5b :

A Guide to Internal Infection Prevention and Control (IPC) Audit

Terry McAuley

Internal audits are a useful way to ensure that the team are undertaking and completing their allocated tasks correctly and in accordance with practice policy and the applicable Standards and Guidelines. Internal audits are also intended to assist us to identify and then rectify issues before they become a more serious problem… or do they? This presentation will discuss the common pitfalls to avoid when developing, completing, and reporting results of internal audit processes and how to avoid them.

Session 6a :

Shade Selection – A Chairside Perspective on Current and Developing Trends

Markijan Hupalo

Session 6b :

Managing Complaints – How can Complaints and Patient Redress Improve Quality?

Karen Cusack

Session 7a :

Simply the Best: Better Than All the Rest. An Insight into the World of Dentistry for Children

Soni Stephen

Session 7b :

Dental Marketing in the Digital Age

Angelo Lazaris

Session 8a :

How to Avoid the Hazards of Sitting All Day

Penelope Jones

Session 8b :

Know Your Award and What You Are Worth

David Wenban

In a recent study it was revealed that most employees are not likely to be aware of what salary and benefits their employer is legally obligated to pay them. Worse is that many employees wont enquire or even attempt to negotiate those terms and conditions. In this session David will talk about the relevant principles of what the employer must pay you, what rights you have and even the obligations you have to your employer to make sure you get paid what your worth

Session 9a :

Right Type of Product for the Task

Terry McAuley

SARS CoV-2 or the virus that causes the disease we refer to as COVID-19 has really focussed attention on the need to ensure surfaces in the practice environment are not a potential reservoir of infectious agents. Effective cleaning of the practice environment requires us to use the right product for the task. This presentation will provide an overview of the principles of cleaning environmental surfaces between patients and discusses the risks and benefits of using detergents and disinfectants as solutions, as impregnated wipes and 2-in-1 products that combine detergents and disinfectants.
Session 9b :

Sugar is Better Than Salt: Communication Techniques to Win Over All Patients

Kathy Metaxas