Dental Care in Developing Nations – “Dentists without Borders”

As a country, we take many things for granted. Adequate dental care is only one of these things. Our children grow up with regular check-ups from earliest age on;  sealants, fillings if needed, and, if necessary, orthodontic corrections. Later on we receive restorative dentistry to preserve our smiles and the ability to correctly consume our food.

Not too many of us will question the value and necessity of such care. It is easy to forget that there are countries where regular dental care is unheard of, due to the lack of trained personnel and facilities.

You probably know about “Doctors without Borders”, physicians who volunteer their time and skill to help in such nations, but did you also know that there is an organization called “Dentists without borders”? Any volunteer, from the pre-med student (under supervision) to the licensed dentist,  as well as dental hygienists and even non-professionals can volunteer. These people give their time and expertise and even carry their own travel expenses.

Equally important to their set of skills, these volunteers bring enthusiasm to better peoples’ lives, and the ability to improvise in any given location and situation. Make-shift care stations can be set up in empty buildings, or in a tent, but rarely are there properly equipped medical facilities in place. Dentists without Borders is also working on future long term projects, in major cities such as New Delhi, India, to set up year-round dental clinics for the uninsured.

Another organization that provides dental care to remote areas, mainly in the South American Continent, is called Smiles Without Borders. On their web-site they state that they are a

foundation that makes sustainable dental treatment and education available to children in developing countries by equipping national dentists with portable clinics that are placed in public schools. Children receive complete care, instruction and materials free of cost.

If you would like to volunteer, or know someone who might like to volunteer, you will need to provide proof of licensing. Also, you will need to have your travel documents current, as well as any medical examination or vaccines for the country you intend to visit up to date. For more information of how to volunteer please contact either of these organizations directly.



Dr. Mead is an educator in the dental field, as well as an experienced family dentist with his practice located in Purcell, Oklahoma.
To schedule an appointment or to ask questions, please call:


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