One of the major programs of the Cheerful Heart Mission provides free dental care to those living in the impoverished border region of the Dominican Republic and Haiti. Since our first dental clinic in 2011, our volunteers have treated over 3,400 people in need, performing over 10,000 dental procedures.
About Our Dental Mission
In March of 2017 our Mission team of 23 volunteers conducted our 7th dental clinic. During the six day clinic we treated 853 patients performing 2,700 procedures including extraction, restoration, cleaning, fluoride and sealing. We distributed 1,300 tubes of toothpaste and 3,000 toothbrushes.
As in the past, our 2018 Mission focus will be on acute care with the priority being to restore decayed or damaged teeth. In addition, the team will also apply fluoride and sealant to healthy teeth for decay prevention. Our long-term goal is to reduce dental disease and thereby improve the overall health of our patients.
The need for dental care in this region is great. Dental care is available on a limited basis in the larger cities but most people in rural areas do not have access to a dentist. There exists only one dental school in all of Haiti and it graduates a small number of students. With very few dentists in the country, dental care is unavailable to most Haitians.
In this border region owning a toothbrush is considered to be a luxury. Decay and other health risks associated with poor oral hygiene can be reduced with access to toothbrushes and toothpaste, and with basic education. We teach proper brushing techniques to children and adults, and distribute instructional material explaining proper dental care. Education is one of our priorities and a key to improving general community health.
Dental disease can lead to serious health complications including disability and death. The consequences of poor dental care are devastating, but preventable with proper care.
If you wish to help, a gift of $50 will provide complete dental care for one child. If you have been to the dentist lately you know this is a good value. Donations larger than $50 are always appreciated and allow us to offer more care to more children.