Dental Provider Information
Dentists and Oral Surgeons
Dental clinics are typically set-up in churches or schools. Electricity is usually, but not always available. The“temporary” dental offices are put together with whatever is available at the locations such as chairs, tables, boxes, cinder blocks, clotheslines, rope and tarps.
Treatment is primarily limited to extractions of painful and abscessed teeth, which are abundant. On rare occasions there is access to clinics where restorative procedures can be performed. However, through the years we have found that it is more productive and effective to do several extractions in the time it takes to do a single filling. Therefore, the focus is to alleviate the pain for more patients by focusing on extractions.
Although not required, typically the dentists participating on these trips bring their own instruments. To defer costs, donations of anesthetic, disposables such as masks, gloves, gauze, etc. are solicited for each trip.
On occasion, dental gear has been packed into backpacks and toted up to hillside homes to perform extraction on a front porch. Be prepared for adventure!
Other Dental Professionals
Dental hygienists, dental assistants and other volunteers are recruited to assist with set-up and breakdown of the dental area, as well as organizing and cleaning instruments.
Preventive Care and Hygiene
Another component of the dental service is to educate the community on basic oral hygiene. Toothbrushes and toothpaste are distributed and instructions are given for proper use. When fluoride is available, treatments are provided to school age children.