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NZ’s First Sustainable Dental Practice Opens in Wanaka

PRESS RELEASE: 18th July 2017

NZ’s First Sustainable Dental Practice Opens in Wanaka

“It is about cultivating good habits and giving people chances to make positive choices. Every little bit helps.”

Key points:

• Innovative new practice model pushes the traditional boundaries of dentistry

• NZ’s first sustainable dental practice opens its doors in Wanaka on Friday 21st July

• Ex-Aspiring College Student Olivia Raffills returns to Wanaka

• Local dentist Bruce Hale retiring after serving the community for 38 years

• New look practice aims to be a NZ’s first for sustainability and minimising environmental impact

• Preventative treatment approach with family focus

• Team hints at a potential buy-one give-one dental programme to be launched later in the year

When most people of our generation think of the dentist, the first term that comes to mind is the infamous title of the ‘murder house’, but that has all changed with the introduction of pain management techniques over the past few decades. Now a new dental practice in Wanaka is seeking to take things a whole step further.

Aspiring College Old Girl and Oral Health Therapist Olivia Raffills has returned to Wanaka to take over and reinvent Bruce Hales local dental practice with a fresh team and a strong focus on community and environmental sustainability. After 38 years of serving the community of Wanaka local dentist Dr Bruce Hale is hanging up his drill. Bruce and his wife Doreen originally set up practice in Ardmore Street in the late 70's, but for the past 8 years have been operating from the corner of Totara Terrace and Aubrey Road.

The future for the practice looks bright. Olivia Raffills and her clinical team of Dentists, Dr Emma Naera and Dr Blake Brown, have a vision to create New Zealand’s first sustainable dental practice. “I've always hoped to return to Wanaka and it’s the perfect community to help us create a low waste, environmentally friendly dental practice.”

Medical and dental procedures can create huge amounts of waste. But the team at Wanaka Dental have been searching for low waste and eco-friendly alternatives. “Obviously with medical procedures we can’t eliminate all waste, but we have found some great alternatives. When it comes to oral health and environmental care, they are quite similar, in that it is about cultivating good habits and giving people chances to make positive choices. Every little bit helps.”

Not only are the team looking closely at the products they use, but they are also taking things a whole step further regarding how the dental practice operates. Olivia and her team are aiming to implement an oral hygiene centred approach. This effectively means more teeth cleaning and less fillings. Not only is this better for your teeth but it is also better for your pocket.

“We don’t want to be the ambulance at the bottom of the cliff making money on people’s misfortune. We would much rather be the fence at the top helping to improve the overall oral health of our community and we would like people to join us in helping make this vision a reality. This is big! It is a whole perspective change when it comes to how we as a community view going to the dentist. Social change only works when people are willing to get involved.”

Giving back to the community and social responsibility is a key driver for the team. All the staff wear FIGS Scrubs “for each pair we buy FIGS donates a pair to a healthcare worker in need around the globe'” says Raffills “we also wear TOMS shoes the pioneers of the buy-one give-one movement”. Dentistry can be expensive and unfortunately out of reach for many New Zealander’s knowing this Wanaka Dental will be launching an exciting social initiative for the local community soon. “A bit like the TOMS shoes of dentistry, we look forward to launching this later in the year”.


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