Dr Jessica Manuela


Dr Jess Manuela is the founder of Dental South, which was created in 2014 in the magical suburb of Margate. She is a Tasmanian born local and grew up in the Kingston area before moving to Adelaide to pursue her dental degree. Graduating in 2012, she received numerous awards and scholarships during her time at the University of Adelaide including the Australia and New Zealand Society of Paediatric Dentistry award, the Pierre Fauchard Academy award for leadership and clinical excellence and the Rotary Health Scholarship.

Dr Manuela’s dedication to community and providing access to dental care for Tasmanian Aboriginal patients was recognised through being awarded the 2017 St Lukes Healthier Communities award, the 2017 Premier’s Young Achiever of the Year award, 2017 Telstra Young Business Owner for Tasmania and the 2018 Tasmanian Young Australian of the Year. She worked with the Royal Flying Doctors Service (RFDS) and the South Eastern Tasmanian Aboriginal Corporation (SETAC) to develop a scheme to bulk-bill dental care to Indigenous adults. This scheme was successful from 2015 to 2016. She was also the chairperson for oral health promotion for the Australian Dental Association Tasmanian Branch (2013-2016).

Since 2022 Dr Manuela has been one of the directors of the Indigenous Dental Association of Australia (IDAA) and has actively been lobbying peak dental bodies to play their part in closing the gap for Aboriginal and Torres Islander oral health disparity and the woeful underrepresentation of Indigenous dental students and graduates (~140 clinicians as of 2022 which is 0.4% of the total workforce). She is passionate about fairness in tertiary education and cultural safety for all people and especially Indigenous Australians in education and the workplace. She has ensured all her staff at Dental South are culturally trained, start all meetings with acknowledgement of country, over 13% of the workforce are Indigenous, the business proudly flies the Aboriginal flag outside of the clinic and Dental South has been the category sponsor for the First Nations Young Achiever award from 2019-2023. Dr Manuela is also the co-chair to the Royal Australasian College of Dental Surgeons (RACDS) advisory council and is the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Council.

A strong believer in holistic dentistry, Dr Manuela is passionate about educating her patients that the mouth is connected to the body. Treatment is always guided by the human, not just the teeth and this is what dictates the pace of treatment, with the emotional health being the priority. She enjoys getting children into good habits early, cosmetic dentistry and Dento-Facial Aesthetics (anti-wrinkle injections, dermal filler treatments, thread lifts and CGF microneedling). Guiding values that are important to Jess for business, dental care and life are integrity, love, compassion and good communication. Growing up in a large family of 10 siblings, she understands the struggles some families have with accessing dental care so being a genuine and caring human firstly has always been imperative in directing decisions and treatments respectfully for good long-term health outcomes.

In Dr Manuela’s spare time she enjoys hiking and seeing Tasmania, spending time with her husband and dog (Koko-Bear), playing guitar, gym yoga, meditation, cooking and eating. Two of the most rewarding and difficult things Jess has done is the 5-night Western Arthur Ranges hike and a 10-day silent meditation sit. The person who brings the most joy to Jess’s life is her baby daughter, Moana, who is determined, strong and already has a hilarious sense of humour.

Other qualifications and positions:

  • Invisalign Go provider 2019 (clear braces)
  • Sleep apnoea oral devices certificate 2022
  • Certificate in Reflexology 2021 (feet, hands, ears)
  • Certificate in Reiki 1 2018
  • Member of the Royal Australasian College of Dental Surgeons 2020
  • Member of the Academy of Dentistry International 2019
  • Fellow of the Pierre Fauchard Academy 2019
  • Member of the Academy of Australasian Dentofacial Aesthetics 2016-current