For a lot of us going to the dentist is something we dread … But this week in Wairoa, a team of dentists are seeing 100 patients who are eager to be treated.
These dentists are offering up their skills and time for free to give dental work to people who can’t afford it.
They’re in a state-of-the-art trailer, which normally tours schools around the country doing dental work on kids.
But while it’s school holidays, the trailer’s being put to work for the Wairoa community.
Lumino lead dentist Doctor Andrew Brown said it’s an honour to take part in this service.
He’s working eight-hour days fixing a lot of the same problems in different people.
He said it’s mostly relieving pain, pulling out teeth or doing lots of filling work.
The local iwi are hosting the dentists and organising the patients.
Dr Brown said there’s a strong gang culture in Wairoa, and it’s important the service doesn’t discriminate against people based on their chequered pasts.
He said he’s treated Black Power and Mongrel Mob members this week, and it’s really normal.
In the past, the local iwi have organised it so the Mongrel Mob members would be treated in the morning, and Black Power members be treated in the afternoon.
He said they’ve not been causing any issues and are grateful for the service.
Mostly, Dr Brown has been treating whanau – on some days about five members of the same family.
He said it’s incredibly rewarding both personally and professionally to use what he’s been trained for to give something back, and he can’t wait to do it again next year.
Source: NZ Herald