A Christmas gift to smile about

A group of Auckland dentists is pledging more than $30,000 of dental treatment, dentures, and other equipment to Auckland’s most needy.

The Smile for Christmas campaign has teamed up with the Auckland City Mission to deliver free dental treatment to those who cannot afford it.

Auckland City Mission will work with doctors to identify those most in need of treatment for things such as pain relief, fillings, extractions, general cleans, and root canals.

The campaign is being spearheaded by Smile Dental, an Auckland dentist group founded 20 years ago by Dr Jacky Lam.

The company has pledged $5 to the campaign for every new like on its Facebook page.

So far, it’s received more than 5,600 likes for a tally of $28,000 to date, but Dr Lam says Smile Dental will donate at least $30,000 regardless of the number of likes it receives.

Other dental companies including Henry Schein, Ivoclar, Dentsply Sirona and Oral Dynamic have also contributed thousands of dollars worth of equipment to the cause, taking the total donated support to more than $30,000 worth.

“Many people cannot afford dental health and this makes many of them too ashamed to smile,” Chris Farrelly, CEO of Auckland City Mission says.

“We’re so grateful to have the help of the dentists to bring back the smiles on the faces of the Aucklanders many forget about. It’s extra special to receive this gift just before Christmas.”

Dr Jacky Lam says he started the campaign because it’s important to him to give back to the country that helped support him when he was in a much less fortunate position than he is today.

“I came to New Zealand from Hong Kong as a teenager with almost nothing. I founded Smile Dental in Otahuhu with a bank loan 20 years ago and have managed to get to where I am thanks to hard work and the support of those around me.”

Today, Smile Dental is New Zealand’s largest private dental network and more than 20 dentists across the group’s 13 Auckland branches will treat the Auckland City Mission patients over the next six months.

Many people think dental treatment is too expensive. Smile Dental is committed to providing patients with the highest quality dental care in a warm, caring, and professional manner at an affordable price.

The company believes in more than just a financial bottom line so has always taken social corporate responsibility seriously to give back to the community.

“I know I’m extremely fortunate to have lots to smile about in my life,” Dr Lam says.

“So I feel like it’s my responsibility to give those in less fortunate situations something to smile about too. There’s nothing more satisfying than seeing the beaming faces of people when you give them the dental care everyone deserves.”