Dental Tribune Middle East
Dentsply Sirona

Dentaid – improving the world’s oral health

By Dentsply Sirona
February 20, 2020

Thousands of rural Kenyans have been helped out of poor oral health with treatment and preventive education by volunteers from dental charity Dentaid. Trustee, Sally Reading, describes the charity’s mission and how it has been helped by the donation of an ultrasonic scaler from Dentsply Sirona.

In Kenya, the dentist to population ratio is 1:40,000, while the World Health Organisation recommends a ratio of 1:7,500. The average monthly income in rural Kenya is around £75, while the average cost of an extraction is £5.

Much of the dental equipment available in some rural areas is aging and difficult to service because of a lack of both skilled engineers and spare parts. This situation means there’s a huge need for dental volunteering and support.

Having regularly fundraised for Dentaid since 2001, I was invited to travel to Kenya to help deliver a dental chair and ART Kit for one of their projects. It was a dream of mine, so I jumped at the chance.

I’m now the Kenyan Team Leader for Dentaid, which involves providing emergency and routine dental treatment, as well as delivering vital equipment and materials.

Our mission

Since my first trip in 2010 I’ve been to Kenya on six occasions. On each trip the number in my team has increased and this year was the biggest one yet, with 10 people on the team. Most of our missions have been primarily focussed on extractions and getting people out of dental pain, but I’ve also seen many patients with either rampant caries or severe periodontal disease. Therefore, we are now also turning our focus towards more preventive treatments and long-term oral health education.

Support from Dentsply Sirona

The recent donation of a portable Cavitron® Select ultrasonic scaler from Dentsply Sirona was extremely timely, and it has made a significant difference by completely transforming the amount of work the team has been able to do.

Many patients come to us with bleeding gums or in desperate need of basic teeth cleaning, but because previously we were limited to hand scalers, we weren’t able to help as many sufferers as we would have liked.

Change is coming

Now things are really changing. In 2018 we only managed to carry out four scaling treatments due to time limitations and equipment. This year, with a larger team and the use of the Cavitron we were able to complete 322.

It has opened up the opportunity to help so many more sufferers of gum disease who otherwise would simply go without treatment and we can also be more preventive in the limited time we have.

Using trusted equipment

I was absolutely delighted when Dentsply Sirona donated the Cavitron Select to the team as it was ideal for our needs. I was trained on the Cavitron, I knew how to use it and was familiar with all the benefits it brings. Being portable it makes life much easier, especially when I am working in outreach clinics in rural areas.

I routinely use the Cavitron for most of my work. The range of different inserts gives great versatility and it’s extremely efficient. It’s a contrast to using hand scalers, which can make treatment very time-consuming, especially when working on tenacious deposits.

More comfort

My patients find treatment with the Cavitron more comfortable too. It has power and water flow controls which I can set according to the patient’s needs and they don’t experience too much sensitivity. This encourages patients to return for treatment, which in turn helps with our preventive message.

A fundraising mission

My dream is to expand Dentaid’s work even further and increase visits to twice a year and in more areas. With this in mind I’m now doing more fundraising, including a 12,000ft skydive with my daughter.
I also dream about building a dental clinic in Kenya one day. That dream is getting closer with a lot of hard work, support from Dentsply Sirona and donations such as the Cavitron Select, which is now staying out in Kenya to treat thousands more patients all year round.

Sally Reading

Sally qualified as a Dental Therapist in 2014 and is Managing Director of Sally’s Smiles in Swansea.

Dentaid

Dentaid supports dentists around the world by providing equipment, running oral health programmes and sending teams of volunteer dental professionals to help them reach and treat more patients. Dentaid helps vulnerable adults and children suffering with dental pain with routine and emergency dental treatments in Kenya and other places around the world including the UK.

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