Each year we run a series of projects in which students join in-country professionals to trek to rural villages that have no access to oral healthcare. Temporary clinics are set up where patients are screened, and if necessary, treated for free. Each clinic sees thousands of people attending, and with the emphasis on students performing as much of the dentistry as possible, there is plenty of patient interaction.
Although we bring materials and equipment from the closest major cities, the temporary clinics are by no means well-resourced. Dentists will need to return to the basics of their training, diagnosing and treating conditions without a sophisticated laboratory or dental equipment. Treatment procedures will also be affected by geographical location and the high poverty in these rural areas - for example extractions often need to be undertaken rather than root canal work as patients simply can't get to the hospital for ongoing, complex treatment.
Unfortunately cost, distance and a lack of education in resource-poor countries also means patients regularly present themselves with diseases or pathologies that have advanced to a critical stage. The chance to witness and treat these conditions will undoubtedly teach you new skills and enhance your understanding of disease progression.
We work closely with both private and government hospitals to source both the equipment and the right supervision. We also have extensive contacts with the local media and the villages themselves, so that we can make sure that people are aware of the outreach programmes and what we are offering.
It is important to us that the projects are sustainable - we don't want to just go in, take out some teeth then disappear. We put an enormous amount of groundwork into each project, working with our partners and the community to ensure sustainability. We often return to the same villages, or invite them to neighbouring projects, to see how their oral healthcare has improved. We also encourage students to run dental health classes, teaching children how to brush their teeth properly, to try and prevent problems in the future.Read more about the 2013 projects
Latest from the Blog about Dentistry & Dental Outreach
2012 was a great year for us. We set up four temporary clinics and averaged 600 patients at each. To think we were able to relieve the pain and prevent greater problems for so many rural Nepalese people is a real credit to our students.
Not only did we treat their dental pain, we aimed to treat all dental disease in order to stabilise the patient’s oral health and prevent them suffering from dental pain in the future.
Cathryn Sherlock, University of Leeds 2012Read More
Our primary aim of treatment was to get patients out of pain and, provided we had enough time, carry out further treatments.
Emily Hooper, Bristol University 2012Read More
The idea of travelling to another country, and putting the skills learnt on the course into practice to benefit others really appealed to me.
Anisha Sangha 2012Read More