Wednesday, 21 December 2011

IU Dental Clinic Report

Over the past three months the IU Dental Clinic has seen over 508 of children from 17 different orphanages and NGOs all over Phnom Penh. Many of the children came from Steung Mean Chay – an incredibly poor community where families live in slum conditions next to Phnom Penh’s old municipal dump site. For the majority of these children, it is the first time they have received any dental care. All of this work is funded by CamKids.

As you can imagine, many of the children have very significant dental problems. At the initial examination, most children are listed as having ‘poor oral hygiene’ and their problems include cavities, tooth pain, abscess, bleeding gums and gum disease. The IU team has been able to provide a wide range of treatments including: extraction, filling, scaling, root canal treatment, fissure sealants and topical fluoride. For a few, they have also been able to provide surgery (usually for impacted painful wisdom teeth), crowns and partial dentures.

The aim of the IU staff is not only to treat the children’s immediate problems, but to educate them on how to look after their teeth. The students training with the IU Dental Clinic take turns each day at giving oral health education to groups of children. There is a section of the clinic with mirrors and basins where children can be taken to have supervised tooth brushing. Each child is given a free toothbrush after their visit.

A few of the older children have severe cavities in their permanent teeth. It is often a difficult decision whether to extract, or try to save the tooth with costly root canal treatment and a large filling or crown. Where this involves the front teeth, the IU team does as much as it can to save these teeth so that the children can have a nice smile. Rotten or missing front teeth can place the child or adolescent at a lifelong disadvantage, as well as impacting on their self esteem, ability to make friends or get a job later.

One of the IU’s patients is 15 year old Dalin. Dalin sadly lost her parents due to HIV/AIDS when she was 8 and moved in with her aunt at the Steung Mean Chay dump site, living in extremely poor circumstances. Dalin is currently in grade 8 and aspires to become a medical doctor so she tries to study hard.

Dalin was brought to the IU Dental Clinic for treatment because she had toothache, an abscess and significant fractures to her front teeth. Treatments and oral health education were given by IU dental students and after treatment, she was ecstatic with the result. The opportunity to receive such treatment and care for the first time in her life left Dalin feeling extremely fortunate and grateful to all those who made it possible.

Your support means that we can not only treat hundreds of children and free them from pain but provide valuable practical training for the students of the IU clinic.

If you are are interested in finding out how you can help children like Dalin, please email us or make an one-off online donation here or a regular donation here.

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