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Free dental care initiative taken up by 14 Gisborne patients

‘REVIVE a Smile’ was the motto behind the efforts of Gisborne dentist Evonne Wang and 57 others around the country in providing free dental care earlier this month.

It was the fifth time the Smile New Zealand Initiative, a combined effort between New Zealand Dental Association (NZDA) and Southern Cross Health Trust, had been held.

Ms Wang, new to Gisborne this year, said she had noticed many residents wanted to look after their teeth, but the cost of dental care costs was an issue for them.

Based at Mayfair Dental, she was keen to support Smile New Zealand and make a contribution to her community.

Ms Wang had a schedule of 14 Smile New Zealand patients during the second week of September.

Southern Cross Health Trust chief executive Terry Moore said appointments for Smile New Zealand were completely filled and showed the high level of demand for dental care among low-income adults.

“Dental care can be costly for adults and is not covered by the public system, except for emergency care from some health boards and Work and Income.

NZDA chief executive David Crum said dentists happily volunteered their time. “The hundreds of hours donated for free by dentists each year, some of them taking part for five years, is wonderful to see.

“From eliminating pain to making it easier to eat and to speak clearly, dental care makes a big difference to people’s lives.”

Patients also receive oral health education and a free hygiene pack.

As a result of this year’s Smile New Zealand Initiative, 4000 people will have received free dental treatment in five years.

Mayfair Dentists. Nicole Lloyd Dental Assistant and Evonne Wang Dentist.