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31 Jul 2012 | Australasian Dental Practice

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Cerebral Palsy Alliance to benefit from Wrigley

Philanthropy, Charity and Volunteering

To commemorate Dental Health Week, the Australian Dental Association Foundation, in partnership with the Wrigley Company Foundation, has awarded US$60,000 in grants to 10 volunteer organisations across Australia.

"With dental decay and gum disease two of the most common adverse health conditions in Australia, it's all the more alarming that 90 per cent of dental disease is in fact preventable," said Peter Cronin, Chairman Advisory Board, ADA Foundation.

"This makes our partnership with Wrigley so vitally important, supporting dentists and students across Australia who volunteer their time and services to assist communities that for various reasons cannot access appropriate dental care.

Andrew Leakey, General Manager, Wrigley Pacific, said "For more than 25 years, Wrigley has supported research and philanthropic initiatives that aspire to make a difference to oral health. We are delighted with the level of engagement with this year's program, nearly doubling the number of applications compared to 2011".

The Cerebral Palsy Alliance is one of the 10 organisations to receive a US$6000 grant and these funds are being used to assist with the purchase of a new autoclave for the recently opened dental clinic located in the Sydney suburb of Allambie Heights. This volunteer run service will help positively impact over 400 children and adults with cerebral palsy. The grant will also assist the working environment of the 20 volunteer dentists who staff the facility.

"This grant has helped us to finish off the new dental clinic," said Dr Robert Watson, the local dentist who chairs the group of volunteers who treat patients at the Cerebral Palsy Alliance dental clinic.

"The autoclave we'd been using was old and problematic, but we simply didn't have the budget to replace it. It's so important to have state-of-the-art facilities when delivering dental care and here is no different. This grant from the ADAF and the Wrigley Company Foundation has allowed us to ensure every aspect of the new clinic represents best practice."

Dr Watson has been treating Cerebral Palsy patients for over 25 years. The dental clinic is part of a brand new facility built by the Cerebral Palsy Alliance after an electrical fire destroyed a previous complex on the site. The expansive facility includes administrative areas, medical facilities, gym and sporting facilities to support people living with Cerebral Palsy.

The new dental clinic features a Sirona C8+ treatment centre and x-ray equipment, Durr plant equipment, Oasis practice management software and a healthy supply of consumables from Dentavision and others. Most of the equipment and materials have either been donated by the suppliers or funded through past grants from the ADAF/Wrigley Company Foundation and others.

"The new autoclave we've purchased is a DAC Professional from Sirona," Dr Watson said. "This is a state-of-the-art Class B steriliser and, although the $6000 grant only covers roughly half the cost of the unit, Sirona have covered the rest.

"The industry and Sirona in particular have been tremendous supporters of the Cerebral Palsy Alliance dental clinic over the past two and a half decades and we're grateful for their interest and generosity."

The new clinic now allows patients with wheelchairs to move around the dental unit easily and a hoist is available to move patients in and out of the dental chair. Further, a 2011 grant from the Wrigley Company Foundation was used to purchase a tilting platform for wheelchairs for the clinic to allow patients to be treated whilst remining in their wheelchair.

"All the dentists work here on a volunteer basis but we don't take shortcuts and we ensure patients have the best care that we can possibly deliver," Dr Watson said. "We also want to ensure all the volunteers have a safe and professional environment to work in and the addition of the new autoclave helps facilitate this.

"I cannot commend the ADA and Wrigleys enough on this initiative and everyone who volunteers at the clinic and all our patients are grateful for the continuing support we receive from grants like this and the dental community at large."

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