Carers offered free dental day

Open wide . . . Dental hygienist Abby Young treats a client at last year's Pitt Street Lumino Day. PHOTO: SUPPLIED

Two Dunedin dental practices are taking part in a nationwide free dental care drive this weekend.

Free dental care is being offered to hundreds of deserving New Zealanders across the country on Saturday, May 5.

More than 500 people, many of who care for others in their families, will benefit from the fifth annual Lumino Day, whether it be a hygiene service or simple dental procedures, such as fillings.

Lumino The Dentists chief executive Andy Tapper said Lumino Day had become a highlight of the calendar year.

“We are aware that looking after oral health is not something that many carers put as a priority, so Lumino Day is just a small opportunity to lend a hand to a group of very deserving people,” Mr Tapper said.

Lumino The Dentists Pitt St Dunedin practice manager Sheree Barker said the practice volunteered to be involved after many of the clinicians said they would like to take part in the dental drive.

“We’re really looking forward to it and I’ve called everyone who will be coming in,” Miss Barker said.

More than 420,000 people in New Zealand are reported to be looking after a family member who is sick or has a disability.

For many, this means a major loss of income and up to 30 hours of additional unpaid care work every week.

Miss Barker said the practice would have balloons and goody bags for patients on the day of the drive.

“We like to do it, as it’s good when you have a specialised skill to be able to give back.”

The other practice taking part in Dunedin is Lumino Knox Dental.

Knox Dental practice manager Justine Grieve said it participated in the free dental day last year in partnership with the Pitt St Centre, but the two practices decided they could treat more patients this year if the clinics treated people separately.

“It’s a great opportunity to give back to the community,” Mrs Grieve said.

It was something small they could do, and all those who were treated were always very appreciative, she said.

Lead dentist for both the Pitt St and Knox Lumino clinics Dr Jacob Grieve was involved in the dental drive last year and said it was wonderful to see all members of the team pitch in.