In what is the fourth year of the initiative, Lumino The Dentists have partnered with the Ngāti Pahauwera Development Trust in the Hawke’s Bay to provide dental services to those that can’t afford it.
The team, led by Dentist, Tony Dey, performed over $40,000 worth of care to around 70 locals of the small east coast town in mid-January, in their mobile unit usually tasked with visiting schools.
Ngāti Pahauwera chairperson Toro Waaka says the program has been invaluable as more residents learn about good dental hygiene.
“Wairoa is a very low-income area. In particular, people like solo mothers, solo parents, they neglect their own health for their children, their own dental health.”
“So this gives them an opportunity to do a bit of a tidy and maybe they get encouraged into better dental health care,” he says.
Dr Tony Dey says this year the demand has been huge.
“We see stuff that we would call it late presentation, problems that have been around a while that if dental care was more easily accessible, we may not have got to that point,” he says.
Takapuna Dentist Dr Jots Rajput has been coming along to Wairoa for three years now.
“It’s a wonderful community and it’s a rewarding experience, and the need in the isolated East Coast community is so apparent.”
Jots, who practices out of Lumino Takapuna, says it’s a shame they couldn’t see more patients, but hopes the patients that have seen would encourage other members of the community to look after their oral health.
“There needs to be more educational awareness in order to have good dental health,” he says.
“People need reminding to brush twice daily and floss…we hope the people who we did see, spread the word”.
The waiting list for next year already has 50 people on it and dates have already been set for two weeks in mid-January.