What a fulfilling experience … as a group of 5 dentists, 2 hygienists and 9 volunteers with Smile Star charity
Seen 480 patients
Over 500 tooth extractions
Set up in Arusha, Tanzania – the dental camp received a lot of support from deputy health minister, local MPs, businesses and Mt Meru Hospital.
Local press and radio were there everyday to cover the camp and raise awareness so that we could reach as many people as possible.
20% of the cases seen were down to gum disease.
80% of cases were extractions – mainly due to extensive decay which is very prevalent across Arusha.
Chipped teeth, broken teeth, tooth decay, decayed wisdom teeth, sensitive teeth…..
This is for many reasons.
Firstly, the lack of dental hygiene education. Brushing daily is very uncommon. Some patients had to be shown how to brush.
Secondly, linked in with the lack of education there’s also very easy access to sugar in chewing gums, sweets and fizzy drinks. All resulting in accelerating the rate of decay.
Thirdly, in a country as vast as Tanzania there are less than 200 registered dentists. Access to dental care is very limited.
It’s incredible to think these patients would endure the intense pain daily and go about their day.
Visiting a dentist to get it checked is not an option for them mainly due to the lack of access!
We had the opportunity to debrief with the deputy health minister of Tanzania at the end of the camp.
We shared these findings and discussed some solutions too.
We saw patients of all ages!
Each one of them so grateful and happy to be seen.
Some days they queued up hours before the camp opened.
Overall, it’s been an incredibly rewarding experience. There’s so much to learn from the locals here… they’re so resilient and happy!
We will leave here with much more !
Thanks to our staff, family, friends and patients for all the donations of footballs, colouring pencils, notebooks and lots more.
This was all very well received.