An “unforgettable experience” – that’s how participating dentists have described being a part of Filling the Gap’s latest charity dental clinic. A total of 27 patients from different participating charities attended the clinic, the latest held by Filling the Gap to provide pro bono treatment to vulnerable people within the community with poor access to dental care.
Patients from different backgrounds, including medically compromised patients, homeless clients, asylum seekers and those recovering from drug and alcohol addiction and mental health, attended the clinic.
Participating dentist Dr Tejas Vather said the clinic, which provided about $10,000 in treatment, was a “rewarding” experience. “There are lots of people who want to help and everyone is looking to work together as a team,” Dr Vather, a dentist based at North Parramatta, said. “It’s very co-operative and it’s very rewarding. “It’s also a good opportunity to learn new things. You also know you are helping patients who possibly wouldn’t receive treatment, which is also satisfying. It’s an experience you won’t forget.”
Four dental teams participated in the clinic, which took place at ADA NSW’s clinic at St Leonards on Tuesday, October 15. Participating charities included the Bobby Goldsmith Foundation, The Station, William Booth House and Red Cross Australia. Patients from Settlement Services International, Neami National, Carinya Cottage and the Salvation Army Australia also attended. Jaclyn Tan, a dental assistant based at Strathfield and Randwick who participated in the clinic, said she had also enjoyed the day. “It’s a good challenge as you don’t know which patient you will see next,” she said. “You have to be organised and you learn new things too.
“Like most dentists, I love working with new patients and meeting new people, so this is ideal.” A majority of the patients will have follow-up care within the Filling the Gap program. Others will have continued care in specialist public health clinics to cater for their medical needs, if needed.
“It was a terrific effort by everyone involved,” ADA NSW Clinical Supervisor and Patient Clinic Coordinator Dr Jessica Smith said. “Filling the Gap exists because of the generosity of ADA NSW member dentists who volunteer their time to treat vulnerable patients, without whom the program would not be possible.
“We are also delighted to support the work of these wonderful charities, who provide vital support for their patients. “We thank everyone involved and look forward to more successful Filling the Gap events in the future.”
Filling the Gap welcomes any dentists, dental assistants and anyone interested in participating in future charity days. ADA NSW members and dental professionals interested in taking part in future charity days should email Program Manager Madeleine Martin at firstname.lastname@example.org
Dr Jessica Lee Smith – Clinical supervisor/Dental and Patient Clinic Coordinator
Madeleine Martin – ADHF NSW State Coordinator
Four NSW CPD staff – Hayley Smith, Gitti Zachman, Rekha Pradeep and Queenie Chen.
Dr Oliver Colman
Dr Thien-Nhien Nguyen
Dr Tejas Vather
Dr Tania Gerzina
Volunteer Dental Assistants
Bobby Goldsmith Foundation
William Booth House, Salvation Army
Red Cross Australia
Settlement Services International
Carinya Cottage, Salvation Army