Posted on April 6, 2020.
Global Dental Relief began in Nepal in 2001 when a small group of volunteers brought dental care to 450 children at the Shree Mangal Dvip School (SMD) in Kathmandu. Since then, Global Dental Relief has hosted 69 week-long clinics at this school, treating tens of thousands of children from the local neighborhood and beyond.
And this year, in February 2020, we had a vivid reminder that GDR’s model works!
The February 2020 Pharping Small Adventure team extended their clinic by one day to give exams to all the children at SMD. It had been 1.5 years and GDR needed to be sure that our core school got renewed dental care.
The day was festive as the students at SMD knew the drill. Toothbrush instruction and a new brush followed by a dental exam and a fluoride treatment. Students lined up class by class, many of them studying their dental charts and avidly discussing their odds for “perfect teeth.”
After the first 40 student exams, the dentists started talking. The kids were great “toothbrushers” and no one had decay. After 80 students, we were thrilled, and by the time we treated all 449 students, we were ASTOUNDED!
ONLY 39 STUDENTS NEEDED ANY CARE AT ALL!
THAT MEANS 91 PERCENT HAD “PERFECT TEETH.”
SMD and GDR have been partners for 19 years. Any GDR Nepal volunteer knows the wonderful experience of having an SMD student as a dedicated, talented chairside assistant. The school health club holds evening tooth brushing sessions, gathering all resident students two nights a week. And between classes, the littlest students gather at the clinic door to watch the action.
This school grew up with dental care and shows to an amazing extent the model works – years of toothbrush and oral hygiene instruction, dental exams and care every 1.5 years leading to the best teeth in Nepal for sure!
Written by Laurie Mathews
GDR Co-founder and Trip leader