ADOPT A PATIENT
HELPING DISADVANTAGED PATIENTS WITH COMPLEX NEEDS
With lockdowns and economic pressures, 2021 has been a challenging year for everyone. However, in our dental practice, we believe that helping more disadvantaged people is the best way to get through difficult times. That’s why our team at Gumdale Dentists and Central Dentists Brighton were thrilled to end the year on a high by participating in the Adopt a Patient program – an initiative by the Australian Dental Health Foundation (ADHF).
Our founders, Dr Reza Issapour and his wife Dr Mahkam Ghanbari, have always been passionate about providing pro bono dental services for Australians who can’t afford dentistry. Since 2015, we’ve been involved in Dental Rescue Day – a program where dentists volunteer their services for patients referred by charities. We’ve helped provide more than 1000 appointments through this program! The Adopt a Patient program is our most recent collaboration with the ADHF. This amazing initiative allows us to help people with more complex dental needs who could never afford this intensive care.
Our practice “adopts’ a patient to complete a full course of treatment. For Dr Issapour, it’s a great way to give back: ‘We are privileged to become a dentist. Doing volunteer dental jobs is the least we can do to pay back to our community.’ One person we were proud to help was Deb, a single mum with five children. She needed 12 appointments and more than 780 minutes with us to complete her treatment. She could never have afforded this essential work without the Adopt a Patient program.
As Deb also had a crippling fear of the dentist, she was extremely anxious about getting this work done. But by the time she was finished, she felt confident again and determined to look after her dental hygiene going forward. Deb has some advice for other people who fear getting dental treatment: “If I could tell them anything, it would be to give things a second chance regardless of previous experience because it’s important for improving your self-confidence and your health.”
Both the dentists and the patients get so much out of these volunteer programs. One of our dentists, Dr Angela, took part in her first Dental Rescue Day this year and found the experience transformative. ‘I am so grateful to be giving back to the community – where I can use my unique skills to benefit someone else.’
Unfortunately, many people who need this service don’t know it exists – and neither do many dentists. So it’s important to spread the word and get as many dental practices on board as possible to do this life-changing work. It gives us so much joy to help people like Deb through the Adopt a Patient program, and we can’t wait to do it again next year. Want to know more about Adopt a Patient and Dental Rescue Day? Read more on the Australian Dental Health Foundation website. If you’re a dentist who would like to know more about pro bono dental services, contact Dr Reza Issapour to arrange a chat at firstname.lastname@example.org
By Kylee Bristow