Changing Smiles, Changing Lives! – NSW Dentist Article

Posted on September 16th, 2020

More than $5,000 worth of free dental treatment has been provided by generous volunteers to Amy Pronesti to bring her smile back and change her life.

Amy Pronesti was referred to the Australian Dental Health Foundation (ADHF) by the Australian charity, WHOS (We Help Ourselves). WHOS is one of the largest drug and alcohol non-government treatment providers in Australia. They provide therapeutic programs aimed at achieving recovery from alcohol and other drug dependence, incorporating harm reduction and co-existing mental health initiatives. Through the ADHF, Amy was put in touch with an incredibly generous volunteer, Dr Maxwell Swart at West Pymble Dental. Upon her first appointment, her dental condition was severe and in need of significant treatment to get her mouth back to being healthy and functioning.

Dr Swart and his dental team soon got to work and commenced Amy on her journey to a healthy mouth over five appointments. She had fillings, root canal therapy and metallic restorations placed during these appointments. Once Amy’s mouth was in a healthier condition, she was referred to a local prosthetist, Martin Dunn from North Shore Dental Clinic who continued to improve Amy’s smile. Mr Dunn volunteered his time and made chrome dentures for Amy with the generosity of Southern Cross Dental.

In total, Amy was given $5,467 of pro bono dental work during her treatment spanning from March to August this year. But most importantly Amy was absolutely thrilled with the dental treatment she received and the opportunity to be given back her smile. “For over five years now my teeth have been bad with some missing and some broken, but since getting them fixed and my dentures made I have my smile back and my confidence. I can’t thank everyone enough. I’m me again,” Amy said.

Amy’s caseworker is Melissa Kelly who is the Assistant Manager of WHOS’ New Beginnings program. Melissa has played an instrumental role in instilling Amy with confidence in her smile and assisting with the logistics of treatment. Melissa organised appointments and transport for Amy to go to dental appointments and supported her at all times. Without her help in organising her patients, none of the treatment would be possible. “Amy was fortunate to be under the care of the ADA whilst being at WHOS New Beginnings. Amy came into the program very self-conscious of her teeth – she would hardly smile. Thanks to Dr Swart and Mr Dunn, Amy received dental care which resulted in her new teeth,” Melissa said.

“Amy now smiles and has gained self-esteem. I cannot personally thank Dr Swart enough and Mr Dunn along with all the other dentists who volunteered for their generosity and kindness. A special thanks to Claire Rawlinson, ADA NSW Program and Volunteer Coordinator, for organising these appointments. Otherwise our residents never would have access to this dental treatment. The impact is enormous.”

It is testament to the generosity of the volunteers and staff of the practices involved and the dedication of the caseworker and patient that such a fantastic outcome can be reached. The Australian Dental Health Foundation welcomes enquiries from all practitioners who are interested in volunteering. To discuss opportunities, contact Claire Rawlinson at

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