All this healthy food we give the kids is of little use unless they have good teeth to help eat it. So, in April 2011, we proudly opened the doors of the Cambodian Children's Fund Dental Clinic. Started in consultation with Phnom Penh's International University, the clinic is just around the corner from CCF's Community Centre in the heart of Steung Meanchey. All our dental equipment has been provided by DentAid.
We teach all our children basic oral hygiene and show them how to use a toothbrush. We also keep a supply of toothbrushes and toothpaste at the Day Care Centre for anyone who needs them. We have instructional posters on the walls of all our centres so reminders are never far away.
We want to create an oral health clinic for dental education and basic dental treatment, including examinations, radiographs, cleaning, fillings and extractions. Once we're more established we'd like to take on further treatments such as root canal treatment, crowns and perhaps minor orthodontic and denture treatment.
Before the clinic was opened, people had to rely on practitioners operating out of roadside shacks or, for many, they just lived with dreadful pain. Now, they can come to our clinic confident that we use the most hygienic methods and that all our equipment is sterilised and safe.
Currently, children have scheduled appointments with the dentist every three months. For children who need emergency or immediate treatment, CCF refers and takes them to a dental hospital or private dental clinic.
The CCF Dental Clinic employs two dentists and one dental assistant, with overseas and local volunteer dentists and dental therapists complementing these full-time roles.