Quick links

Dental Rescue Team

Dental Rescue Day

NDF History

The National Dental Foundation was created and founded in October 2004 by Mervin Saultry and funded by his company Dental Innovations Pty Ltd from 2004 through to 2012.

On 1st July 2012 Mervin resigned from the NDF Board to enable the direct involvement of the Australian Dental Association and to ensure its continuance beyond his tenure.

The NDF was incorporated on 14th October 2004 by Mervin Saultry with the assistance of Freehills who he approached with his NDF concept plan and vision. Freehills assessed its merit and agreed to provide extensive pro bono legal services.

The NDF began its charity operations in February 2005 in Victoria when Mervin Saultry recruited Dr John Osborne as the Victorian State Chairman. John held three NDF charity days in 2005. The current Victorian Chairman is Dr Peter Waltham who took on the Victorian State Chairman role in 2011.

The next state to become involved in 2005 was WA under the direction of a Committee led by Dr Dominic Faraone. Later Dr Dennis Gregory accepted the challenge to lead WA. The current WA Chairman is Dr Russell Gordon.

In 2006 Dr David Digges, who was already working with a charity caring for street kids and homeless people, was approached and invited to join the NDF as State Chairman for NSW. Dr Digges assisted in overcoming the fragmentation of volunteer dental work so that it could become more efficient and attract resources for large scale charity work by dentists. He achieved this and also progressed to become the NDF Chairman.

Next on board was Dr Chris Hart who agreed to accept the role of Qld State Chairman. In 2012, Dr Julee Birch took over as the Qld State Chairman.

The next dentist to become involved was Dr Michael Ryan as ACT Chairman.

Finally, the NDF moved to SA under the leadership of Dr Henry Gilkes and Dr Robert South. Dr Gilkes remains as the SA State Chairman.

More recently Dr Jim Rushton has taken on the Tasmanian State Chairman role.


In 2012, following recognition by the Federal Government of the value provided by the Foundation in delivering treatment to disadvantaged people across Australia, the Foundation received a 3 year grant to enable the NDF to expand its activities.

In 2015, Pacific Smiles Group was proud to announce it had become the Major Sponsor of the National Dental Foundation for the next three years, ensuring that the NDF is able to continue coordinating much needed pro bono dental treatment to those who may not otherwise be able to access dental care. To date, over 5,000 patients have benefitted from the NDF’s initiatives, with dental practices, practitioners and staff volunteering their facilities, equipment and time to assist those who need it most.

These funds enabled the appointment of a National Coordinator for the NDF who, with administration and financial support from the Federal ADA, coordinates the activites of the NDF.