A Red Cross Clinic held at ADA NSW has treated 23 patients and provided treatment worth more than $7,600 to asylum seekers who have no access to dental treatment in Australia.
The clinic was made possible due to the generosity of a team of dentists, dental assistants and ADA NSW staff who provided the treatment pro bono.
For the past ten years, ADA NSW members have been providing pro bono treatment to asylum seekers in partnership with the Red Cross. Over that time, we have treated more than 1000 people providing treatment worth more than $500,000.
The team included four outstanding volunteer dental assistants with two of the DAs currently studying dentistry at Charles Sturt University (CSU). A total of 15 patients need ongoing treatment and some will receive that in upcoming clinics and others will be treated in private practice through our network of volunteer dentists.
Two patients were referred externally for prosthetist services, and one to Sydney Dental Hospital for treatment under general anaesthetic. There were also three to see specialist OMFS practitioners and one to a general dental practitioner for a post-core/crown restoration.
Dental Assistant and CSU student Connie Li said this had been the third rescue day she has participated in.
“It’s been a great experience. I enjoying helping the patients. Every case is new and interesting and it’s a real test of your own knowledge,” Ms Li said.
“One of the patients told me, ‘this is only the second clean (of my teeth) I’ve had’. I will remember that for a while. It’s been wonderful seeing patients happy and smiling too. When you see their faces, it makes your effort worthwhile. It’s been an eye-opening experience for me and I hope I can do it again,” Ms Li said.
Casual Dental Assistant at the St Ives Dental Group, Rohan Tailor, said this had been his first Red Cross Clinic and one of his first volunteering activities.
“The main reason I got involved with dentistry is the thought of helping people who need it and that’s what we are doing here. It’s also helping people access healthcare which they would otherwise struggle to do, which is hugely important,” Mr Tailor said.
“I like how it’s on-the-spot assessing of patients. You don’t know who the next person will be or what the help they need. It’s a good test of your working knowledge.
“At my practice I work with the same great team of dentists every day, so it’s terrific coming to a day like this. You are meeting and working with new dentists but also knowing we are coming together to serve a better purpose. It’s been a new experience and an enjoyable one.”
ADA NSW Staff:
Dr Jane Pinchback – Clinical Supervisor
Three NSW CPD staff – Hayley Smith, Gitti Zachman and Queenie Chen
Madeleine Martin – ADHF NSW State Coordinator
Jessica Smith – Dental Clinic and Patient Coordinator
Dr Thien Nhien Nguyen
Dr Oliver Colman
Dr Danneil Wood
Dr Sonia Lee
Patients from these charity partners:
Jesuit Refugee Service
House of Welcome
Asylum Seeker Centre
ADA NSW holds regular dental aid clinics at St Leonards in Sydney. We always need volunteers. To get involved, go to www.fillingthegap.org.au/get-involved/volunteer or phone (02) 8436 9942.