GDR provides preventive care and oral health education to children with little access to a dentist. In partnership with local organizations, field clinics are set up at schools and municipal facilities, with the exception of Kenya, where clinics are held in a local medical center.
In these clinics, children receive an exam, restorations and extractions as needed, a cleaning when possible, a fluoride treatment, sealants and oral health instruction. Care is provided primarily to restore permanent teeth and children are recalled every two years to ensure long term health.
A typical clinic has six to seven dental chairs and is staffed by a volunteer work team of 12-16 people. Volunteer work teams include up to five dentists, three hygienists, and ten non dental volunteers. Clinics operate eight to nine hours per day for five to six days. Between 500 and 1,000 patients are served depending on how much care each child needs.
Clinic Volunteer Work Descriptions
Dentists perform exams, restorations and extractions as needed. Dentists work alongside an assistant who carries out normal chairside duties, including charting as well as instrument and suction support. Some assistants may be highly trained, and some may be relatively new to the role, providing teaching opportunities for dentists.
Hygienists primarily perform preliminary exams and patient cleanings – in many cases the first cleaning a child has ever received. Portable headlamps and cavitrons are provided as are the supplies to provide sealants as time allows. Hygienists work with assistants who may be either GDR volunteers or local partners to ensure children are comfortable and understand the importance of oral hygiene.
Click here for a detailed outline of our clinical protocols and structure for dental professionals.
Dental Assistants bring critical skills and experience to GDR dental camps. Paired with dentists and hygienists, dental assistants perform an array of chair-side duties including patient management, charting, and instrument and suction support. Their role is key to the comfort of both patients and volunteers new to the world of dentistry.
Non-medical / General Volunteers perform a variety of roles critical to the smooth operation of the clinic. These duties include tooth brush instruction, instrument sterilization, record keeping, clinic flow, and managing and engaging with the lines of children waiting for treatment. General volunteers may also be trained as chairside assistants, as skills and interest allow.