Goal: To address dental disease by providing dental education and treatments such as restorations, extractions and cleaning as well as building local capacity.
Good dental hygiene is more than just a beautiful smile. It’s prevention of gum disease, cavities, and other problems.
In developing nations, dental care is often non-existent or unaffordable. Toothbrushes and toothpaste are luxury items, not necessities. Mercy Ships conducts free dental clinics to address untreated tooth decay and problems caused by lack of oral hygiene…and, of course, to provide free toothbrushes!
Many people in Africa have never seen a dentist. What a joy to take the specialized skills of our volunteer dentists and hygienists directly to them via the Africa Mercy – and then reap the rewards of seeing each new smile.
During a typical 10-month stay in port, we do more than just pull teeth, fill cavities, and fit patients for dentures. With an eye on the future, we work in the community to teach basic oral health education to elementary and secondary students. We also form mentoring relationships with local dental health workers. They learn to assist dentists and sterilize equipment, and we train them to teach oral hygiene to others. All this ensures we can continue to make a difference long after we leave the country.