Many people in developing countries have never had the privilege of seeing a dentist. Dental help is almost non-existent in much of West Africa, and in other countries Mercy Ships visits, it is unaffordable for the majority of the population.
Mercy Ships conducts free mobile dental clinics for the poor. Extractions are a common procedure - a last resort after years of poor dental hygiene and the lack of routine dental care. Relieved from infected or rotting teeth, patients often hug dental staff in gratitude. When possible, dentists give fillings and do restorative work to brighten smiles and avoid future extractions.
Lack of oral hygiene and untreated tooth decay can lead to much more serious conditions such as noma. Mercy Ships dental teams work to improve oral health in developing countries through dental hygiene education and training of local personnel.
Mercy Ships statistics
Since 1978, Mercy Ships crew has:
- treated over 572,000 patients in village clinics, with over 119,000 dental patients with more than 305,000 dental procedures performed.