Wednesday, 12 June 2013

International University (IU) Dental Clinic

Children living in the poorest communities in Cambodia often suffer from very poor dental heath due to a lack of good oral hygiene and diets too high in sugary foods and drinks. This stems from a lack of education about how to look after the teeth, low usage of toothbrushes and toothpaste and, for most children, no access to basic dental treatment. For this reason, CamKids funds children from orphanages and poor communities to go for dental treatment at the International University (IU) Dental Clinic. The treatment is provided by dental students under the supervision of experienced dentists. 
Treatment provided at IU includes: relief from pain and infection (by doing extractions and in some cases basic pulp treatments); prevention (sealing the molar teeth and applying fluoride to prevent decay); restorations (in permanent teeth and also some primary teeth in order to maintain the space for the adult teeth to come through); dental health education (using a dental tooth model and a flip chart to teach about good dental health); and silver fluoride applications to arrest decay in the primary teeth. In the time we have been running this program, we have seen a great improvement in the oral health of thousands of children. 
Recently CamKids arranged for children living in the Canalside, Banteay Sleak and Ptesh Leu Teak (house above the water) slums to visit the IU and receive dental treatment. For most of these children, this was their first time to visit the dentist. The dental students try hard to make these visits a happy and painless experience, and most of the time they succeed.
As well as treatment, the children are provided with a toothbrush and toothpaste and shown how to correctly brush their teeth by using a giant teeth model and toothbrush which the children can also practice on. When asked by the IU staff “do you brush your teeth every day?” most of the children responded with “no”, because they had no access to a toothbrush or toothpaste nor did they know what the best way to actually brush their teeth was. 
Pheaktra, a 10 year old boy who lives in Banteay Sleak slum with his mother, two sisters, and one brother came into the IU for his very first visit to a dentist. His father left the family to find a job in Kratie Province more than one year ago, but he didn’t come back or send them any money to support the children’s living or study expenses. His mother works as a cook and only makes a small income
Pheaktra’s family living conditions are poor and he previously had no education about how to take care of his teeth. He and his siblings have never owned toothbrushes before and never brushed their teeth. When he came to the IU clinic he had severe decay in four of his teeth. Pheaktra explained that the decayed teeth hurt him a lot and he cried every night, however, after treatment he felt a lot better: “I feel much better after treatment. I think I can eat well again, and wont cry at night any more. I would like to say thank you very much to CamKids for supporting this program. I promise to brush my teeth every day from now on!

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