Ever since a free mobile dental clinic started five years ago in Wairoa, the quality of people's teeth has improved.

Yet, with limited days offered each year, there is still a huge need to be filled.

The Lumino Mobile Clinic, hosted by the Ngati Pahauwera Development Trust has been at capacity since it first came to town on January 14 and is expected to stay that way until it leaves at the end of this week.

Last year the team of volunteer dentists, led by Tony Dey, performed about $50,000 worth of care.


Dey said it had been another "successful trip" and hoped they were making a "small difference".

"We have seen some positive signs that people that have been coming more consistently are having to have less invasive dental care when they come and see us. It used to be extractions, now they are fillings and cleans."

Dey, who has been involved with the initiative since its inception, said it was heartening to be able to give back.

"It is just generally rewarding to be able to donate your time like that. We are lucky as health professionals that we have skills people need and we can give back in that manner."

Fellow Lumino dentist Dr Fraser Borland spent two days in Wairoa last week and said it was "two of the most fun-filled, rewarding and life-enhancing I've ever had".

Ngati Pahauwera Development Trust administrator Michelle Thompson said many people simply couldn't go to the dentist because the cost was too high.

Before this year's clinic began, Thompson says 132 people had registered and a further 60 were on a waiting list for next year.

"Because they are only here for a limited time, it is hard to fit in everyone that wants to be seen."


Dey said they aimed to help about 80 people this time round.