Through a charity founded by ADA NSW, volunteer dental professionals are changing the lives of society’s most vulnerable patients.
Dr Andrew Dean has fitted many sets of dentures during his career, but one recent patient case will always stand out for him.
In his role as a volunteer dentist assisting underprivileged members of society at special clinics in Sydney, he completed a denture treatment for a woman who had not had proper teeth for a decade then showed her the results in a mirror.
“She was crying – in a good way – and I had a few tears, too,” says Scottish-born Dr Dean, who now works at Pacific Smiles Dental at Gladesville in Sydney. “That’s the sort of satisfaction you can get as a volunteer. And it’s priceless.”
Dr Dean, who in the past has trained Tanzanian healthcare workers in dental-extraction techniques through British charity Bridge2Aid, is one of a growing number of dental professionals who are providing free oral care treatments to vulnerable members of the community.
The list includes asylum-seekers, the homeless, domestic violence victims, the mentally ill and those recovering from addiction.