Third World DentistryApr 29 2014

third world dentistry dentist fairfieldAccording to the International Dental Journal, in underdeveloped countries about 75% to 80% of the population live in rural areas where no dental care is offered. These terrible conditions pose serious threats to the dental health of generations of families as no immediate care is offered and no corrective work can be done. One of the largest problems that has yet to be addressed in the third world is the question of short term fixes versus long term solutions. There are an increasing number of outreach programs that send volunteering dentists into the third world countries to perform operations and treat the local residents but there are far fewer organizations who teach dentistry to promising candidates in these areas. When the visiting practitioners leave the community they are once again living without proper dental care and no better in the long run than they were before.

In order to compensate for these lacking medical resources, and to take advantage of a lack of community education, there are many untrained practitioners that have set up dental clinics in these underdeveloped and rural areas. These untrained dentists cause more damage in their communities but many people are not educated or affluent enough to know where to go for proper care. In many countries the cost of a toothbrush or toothpaste can cost more than a daily wage and so the problem of oral health becomes a non-necessity and people only seek dental care and medical attention when pain or infection warrant a visit. The Journal of Public Health dentistry published an article in 1992 that drew light to the fact that many people around the world in these unsatisfactory conditions actually ask to have their healthy teeth pulled to avoid the pain of future infections!

Education is the only solution for lasting change, both for potential dental professionals around the world and the general populations in third world countries. Perhaps someday safe, affordable oral care will be available for everyone around the world.

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