In order to provide sustainable health solutions, we aim to empower volunteers to facilitate dental care, such as fillings, sealants, cleanings, fluoride and extractions and increase prevention of oral diseases through education.
In Panama, access to dental clinics are scarce, dental care visits and medicines are costly, and existing clinics are often underfunded and under staffed. Dental Brigades focuses primarily on the oral issues that communities currently face due to limited access to dental care and education. Without access to dental care and services, many of the oral diseases, such as gingivitis and dental caries, worsen. These diseases cause infections, which in turn cause other chronic diseases. The Dental program addresses oral health problems by providing immediate dental care and preventative treatments and education through mobile medical clinics in partnership with the Medical program. Mobile medical clinics, which include dental stations, are provided to communities through the utilization of student and health/dental professional volunteers during the Dental Brigade.
Each patient will leave the brigade with a complete consultation from a doctor, oral treatment from a dentist, preventative education, and appropriate medicine for current problems presented during consultation and to prevent common medical problems that may arise before the next brigade in that community.
Volunteers shadow local and foreign health professionals as they provide pro-bono dental procedures and medications to patients in rural communities. Volunteer are expected to participate in the following activities:
- assist with in-take, triage, medication packing, and health education.
- observe dentists during preventative care, cleanings, and extractions
- record patient data progress by utilizing an electronic medical records system (OpenMRS)
In addition, mobile dental clinics are provided directly in communities, utilizing a community center or school as the clinic space. The Dental Brigade works in conjunction with the Medical Brigade provide sustainable healthcare.