Caries and gingivitis are the most widespread chronic diseases in the world. While they will not kill you, they do cause hardship, pain and a significant lowering in quality of life.

“‘The man with a toothache thinks everyone happy whose theeth are sound.”  George Bernard Shaw

Dental decay is the most common chronic disease, yet it is preventable.  That is why we want to make an effort for the children of the Kilembe Valley.  Our goals with the dentistry project are:

  • Give information and raising awareness about oral hygiene, especially in children and teachers.
  • Provide schools, to a certain level, with the tools for oral hygiene in a durable manner.

My experiences as a graduate student in dentistry:

When I arrived in Uganda for the first time I was just starting my last year as a student at the University of Ghent in Belgium.  I got in touch with the local dental officer in Kilembe Mines Hospital which made me realize how few resources he had to keep a practice running. In the course of the year I contacted some retired dentists in Belgium, who were willing to do something useful with their no longer needed material. Dental materials and instruments are an expensive business but with some help I got a nice collection of all the basic instruments.  We managed to get them safely to Kilembe, where they are now being put to good use.

In Kilembe Mines Hospital I mainly performed extractions and atraumatic restorative treatment ( ART ) on decayed but salvageable teeth, both are treatments where there is no need for electricity or any high-tech machines.

It was an altogether wonderful and unforgettable experience. My hope is to continue our project to further improve oral health in the Kilembe region.

More information on ART can be found here.