Dr Andrew Dean was first involved with volunteering through UK-based charity Bridge2Aid, working in Tanzania and other South African countries to provide training to local hospitals and healthcare workers with a focus on sustainability. At a conference in February, Pacific Smiles founder Dr Alex Abrahams made a donation pledge that inspired Andrew to volunteer closer to home. He has since been a regular contributor to the ADHF Adopt a Patient and Dental Rescue Day programs through Pacific Smiles Group.
Pacific Smiles Town Hall has provided a central location for Dental Rescue Days held once a month from June this year, working primarily with the Neami Way2Home charity. “Way2Home provides specific support for the homeless trying to get back on their feet, helping with housing, education and health. However, there was no access to dental care. We are able to offer a one-stop shop, which also helps cut public hospital waiting times by relieving pain without referral to other clinics,” Andrew said.
Andrew was impressed by the facilitation offered by the Foundation. “I was quite blown away with how much ADHF take care of. I thought there was going to be a whole lot more work involved. I confirmed the available appointments and ADHF did the rest of the work in terms of liaising with the patients and case workers. I arrive with a patient list and medical history in advance. All a dentist needs to do is get a chair and an assistant.”
Dr Dean described his volunteering as highly rewarding, especially when treatment becomes a life-changing milestone for patients. “I have a patient who’s been a real success story through Way2Home. He has not had any upper teeth for about three years. He was so excited with his denture trial a few weeks ago that he is now looking at job interviews. This is something so basic that we can provide but the change in his life is going to be huge. I’m so excited for him making this final leap into employment.”
“All a dentist needs to do is get a chair and an assistant.”