Dental students in their final years of training have the opportunity to conduct week long supervised dental clinics for the Cherbourg community. The community of Cherbourg has not had access to a dentist for several years and the closest QLD health dental clinic, an hour away, has a waiting list of over two years. This lack of access to dental treatment and oral health education has seen a significant increase in extensive decay, broken down teeth and chronic dental problems. This has resulted in individuals suffering from chronic pain, difficulty eating and discomfort due to aesthetic problems.
To address these problems, representatives of HOPE4HEALTH have established a volunteer dental clinic in conjunction with Barambah Regional Medical Service. The aim of the clinic is simple, and strives to allow the community to transition from emergency intervention to preventative dental health. As we aim not only to provide emergency treatment when visiting the Cherbourg community but also to raise dental awareness, all patients attending the clinic received oral hygiene instruction, a toothbrush and toothpaste for prevention of further decay and maintenance of good oral hygiene.
Up to five dental clinics are run annually. With 100 appointments available during each clinic HOPE4EHALTH is able to provide intervention and promotion to 500 members of the Cherbourg community. In the first visit of 2013, 380 procedures on 123 patients were completed. Of the 380 procedures, 71 were extractions, and 91 were restorations (fillings).
This clinic is aimed at fourth and fifth year dental students who are willing to volunteer their time for a week. It requires students who are able to work cohesively in groups as well as have the clinical competency to work independently as needed. We are always looking for qualified dentists interested in volunteering to supervise.