East Timor

East Timor, or Timor-Leste, is a ruggedly beautiful country that has been left ravaged and devoid of proper infrastructure since Indonesia withdrew its occupying forces. There are a total of three dentists in the entire country, all of which reside in its capital, Dili, leaving the rest of East Timor heavily reliant on foreign volunteers. Since 2004, Dr. David Digges has travelled to East Timor and carried out pro bono dental work in areas such as Dili, Maubara, Maliana and Bachau. He has been accompanied by Dr. James Digges and other members of the Digges family on multiple occasions.

charities - Bellevue Hill Dental

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NDF – The National Dental Foundation

In 2005 Dr. David Digges and Dr. Heather Mueller decided that there was not enough being done for those who fell through the cracks in our state and national dental systems. They decided to open up their practice for one day each year to treat people from charities including the Matthew Talbot Hostel and Youth off the Streets program. Since then, Dr. David Digges has become both State and National Chairman of a national group of likeminded dentists, and the idea has grown into a nationwide event.

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Now, several times a year, Dr. Digges organises many practices around the country to open their doors to people in need, as determined by state charities. So far, over three million dollars worth of dental work has been carried out on those who need it the most, selected by charities that work with the NDF.

The National Dental Foundation’s rescue days wouldn’t have been possible without Dr. David Digges, Dr. Heather Mueller and the team at Bellevue Hill Dental. In May 2006, we conducted a pilot test to see how the program would run on a larger scale. Dr. Digges campaigned for support for a series of National Dental Foundation NSW dental volunteer days within the industry. Today, the program has more than doubled in size due to the demand and recognition from the profession.

As Federal Chairman, Dr. David Digges stresses the importance of a preventive approach for all pro bono clients to regain their oral health. Along with industry committee members Dr. Heather Mueller and Dr. Malcolm Cooke, he ensures that each patient walks away with oral health instructions and oral health hygiene products, kindly donated by Colgate and Henry Schein Halas. As well as this, pain relief and fillings are also offered. The state of dental health in Australia is far from optimal; we hope to soon see a greater effort and acknowledgment from all industry parties and contribution by governments to improve our nation’s dental health.

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