Tibetan

Dental

Aims


  • To improve the dental health of the children in the exile Tibetan community in India.
  • To provide preventive information to the children including toothbrushes and fluoride toothpaste and instruction on how to use effectively to maximise the benefits of topical fluoride.
  • To educate carers and educators of the children on diet and the process of decay.
  • To treat the children as fully as possible in order to make their mouths dentally fit.
  • To train/upskill local operators (ideally dental therapists or dentists) to take over this work with a similar accent on prevention.
  • To reduce the pool of dental disease to a manageable level so that the Tibetan therapists/ dentists can cope.
  • To provide an evidence-based working model of preventive dentistry that can be reproduced in many situations including remote areas.
  • To make the program sustainable so that it can be run by the Tibetans themselves with the systems in place for ongoing training and auditing.
  • To work with any other dental volunteers in the field to provide a coordinated approach.
  • To work with school directors, principals, nurses, amalas, teachers, canteen owners etc to raise dental awareness within a school.
  • To make ourselves redundant.


Methods


  • Clinical field trips to establish credibility and introduce the preventive message.
  • Workshops to train/upskill Tibetan therapists/dentists.
  • Mentoring to encourage and prevent burnout of the therapists.
  • Education of those in charge of the students (teachers, directors, amalas).
  • Providing specialist feedback to those making decisions, for example re. timetabling a school so that teeth are brushed after breakfast not before.


Results


  • Documented improvement in the dental health of approximately 4000 children in three TCV schools that we have been involved with closely for about six years.
  • Documented improvement in the dental health of approximately 900 children in two schools in Spiti that we have been involved with for five years.
  • The training of eight dental therapists, some experienced, some not, mostly within the TCV schools.
  • Assisting with the set up of three new clinics in TCV schools.