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Dental Rescue Day held for the Australian Dental Health Foundation at ADA NSW


  • 28 patients seen from 7 different charities
  • 5 volunteer dentists, including one clinical coordinator
  • 3 ADA NSW CPD Dental Assistants
  • 1 ADHF program manager

On 21 May, ADA NSW hosted a dental rescue day to give the gift of smiles and make a difference to the lives of those in need. 

The dental aid clinic was held on behalf of the Australian Dental Health Foundation to provide pro bono treatment to 28 patients during National Volunteering Week. It was run by five volunteer dentists, seven dental assistants and support staff.

The aim of the clinic was to provide pro bono dental treatment and alleviate pain. The patients were clients from seven ADHF partner charities and most had chronic or complex health needs, which prevent them from accessing mainstream dental services. Some of the patients were homeless, others were recovering from drug and alcohol addiction, some were fleeing violence and others were living with a mental illness. The clinic allowed them to access dental treatment. 

One patient Rebekah said she was very grateful for the treatment the dentist provided. “The dentist actually listened and treated the problem. I understood what she was doing and I’m out of pain,” she said.

Another patient Cherie said: “They were really kind and made me feel at ease. I’m going to be able to eat again. Thank you, thank you, thank you to the volunteers! Going to the dentist can be scary, but they are angels,” she said.    

Participating dentist Dr Thien-Nhien Nguyen said her father was one of the boat people who sought to become a refugee in Australia more than 30 years ago. “So I know how it feels to be in the shoes of these people. I am simply giving the less fortunate, the disadvantaged, the refugees, the asylum seekers, the poor and the homeless an opportunity to have free access to basic dental care since dentistry is out of reach for all of these people. I am grateful for all the opportunities that Australia offers our family, so I volunteer as a way of expressing my gratitude and of trying to give something back to the community,” she said.

Whilst dentist Dr Andrew Dean said he loved seeing patients being relieved of pain and having teeth restored which made it a win-win situation. “For me it's not really 'why', more so 'why not'? It's been so easy to arrange rescue days via the ADHF and participate in volunteering with little to no effect on my working life. It would delight me to see more dentists be involved as it becomes even more rewarding when it is a team effort,” he said.

Dentist Dr Irene Euler-Kennedy said volunteering was a very rewarding experience. “The patients are so grateful. They can’t believe it when someone actually shows kindness and listens. I think everyone who has a skill like ours should use it to volunteer now and then,” she said.

Whilst dentist Dr Danneil Wood said: “For the longest time, I've wanted to give something back to the community and the volunteer day was a great opportunity. There is a huge need for dental care out there and I am privileged to be able to offer my skills,” she said.

This clinic would not have been possible without the support of ADA NSW and the CPD team. With special thanks to Hayley Smith, Gitti Zachman and Queenie Chen who continually volunteer their services to run the clinic, co-ordinate the dental teams and support both patients and volunteers.

“ADA NSW is proud to support such a fantastic cause. Seeing the clinic in action was a reminder of how important equity of access to dental treatment is. Relieving a person from pain is a reminder of the difference dentists make to their patients' quality of life. On behalf of ADA NSW members, I would like to thank our wonderful volunteer dentists and dental assistants for generously giving their time and expertise to help those less fortunate,” ADA NSW CEO, Stes Stengos said.

We would also like to thank the Centre for Oral Health Strategy at NSW Health for its financial contribution, which supports the co-ordination of the ADHF programs in NSW.  
Thank you to all of our volunteers:
Hayley Smith
Gitti Zachman
Queenie Chen 
Volunteer Dentists
Dr Irene Euler-Kennedy, Clinical coordinator
Dr Oliver Colman 
Dr Andrew Dean
Dr Thien-Nhien Nguyen
Dr Danneil Wood 
Dental Assistants
Wendy Scriven
Joan Palmones
Jaclyn Tan
Maria Carmencita Dino
Patients came from these charity partners
Detour House Inc – Crisis accommodation and drug and alcohol rehabilitation for girls and women
Lou’s Place – daytime refuge for women in crisis
NEAMI – support services for people living with a mental illness  
Sunnyfield – support services for people living with a disability
The Station – serving the homeless  
The Salvation Army - William Booth House, – rehabilitation for those wishing recovery from addiction
The Salvation Army - Carinya Cottage Wollongong – women’s refuge services


The Australian Dental Health Foundation provides pro bono dental treatment to those in need, and relies on the generosity of ADA members, dentists and dental practitioners to volunteer their services. For more information, visit www.adhf.org.au

To volunteer with ADA NSW, contact Madeleine Martin on 8436 9942 or email to: adminnsw@adhf.org.au


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