New smile for Nine in 10 contestant Rodney Winitana

Rodney Winitana had a lump in his throat this morning as he gave his heartfelt thanks to hundreds of strangers who forked out cash for his new set of teeth.

After the Nine in 10 contestant missed out on a $10,000 Farmers shopping spree on The AM Show last week, he mentioned he would have liked a new set of teeth.

Listeners and viewers immediately began asking where they could donate to help, so the show set up a Givealittle page to help Mr Winitana get his denture work.

In just a week close to $8000 was donated, but now Dental Care West Dr Scott Waghorn has decided to give him a new set of pearlers for free.

"I'm overwhelmed," Mr Winitana told host Duncan Garner on the final AM Show live broadcast of 2017.

"Total strangers [are] giving from their heart and giving from their pockets at a time like this.

"It's a busy time, money's hard, money's short, so I'm truly grateful and I appreciate what these people are going to do for me."

He says his teeth wore down through "wear and tear" after he was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes close to 10 years ago.

"That's when things started dropping out. So I don't really know whether that had something to do with it."

He says while he's been swamped with support, some are accusing him of neglecting oral hygiene online - but Mr Winitana explains he'd been focusing his energy elsewhere.

"If I did neglect my teeth, I've never neglected my family and my kids."

Dr Waghorn says the process will be "easy peasy", and be all over within 24 hours.

"We're just going to bring him in and sit down with him and he can design his smile.

"I'll probably remove any teeth that have to come out and 24 hours later, a brand new set of teeth are going to go in.

"It's going to look awesome at the end. It'll be great before-and-after pictures."

The Auckland dentist will take the money donated on Givealittle and match it to put in his own charitable trust, The charity funds free dental work for Kiwis in financial hardship.

It's not Dr Waghorn's first charity work. Next Friday his clinic is holding its eighth open day for free extractions or fillings.

He's seen people line up overnight and travel from across the North Island to receive free treatment.

"I am thoroughly blessed and grateful to be a dentist. My life could have taken many different twists and turns and to be in a position to help, I'd do it every day of the week."

Mr Winitana says he "can't wait to meet" Dr Waghorn, and is sure he's in good hands.

"I'm sure a lot of people out there are going to appreciate [your contribution] just as much as I am."

Co-host Mark Richardson had some parting advice for anyone accusing Mr Winitana of neglect.

"You don't need to post that. Even if you think that, you don't need to post that.

"So I'm asking for better from people who take these opportunities to put something vile and nasty out there in the public."

Mr Winitana will get his new smile early next year.


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