After taking a 2 year hiatus due to Covid, this was DAN’s sixth dental aid visit to Kashmir and it was lovely to see the children from previous years all grown up!
We were lucky to have a UK qualified dental nurse with us on this trip. She was able to provide oral health education and apply topical fluoride varnish for the children. This was a great addition to our team and we are hopeful we can bring more DCPs with us on future trips.
Below are testimonials from 2 of the volunteers on the Kashmir dental aid mission in October 2022:
Volunteering abroad as a dentist to provide dental treatment to orphans can be an incredibly fulfilling and rewarding experience. As a dentist, you have the skills and expertise to provide vital dental care to people in need, and working with orphans allows you to make a positive impact on the lives of vulnerable children who may not have access to adequate healthcare. By using your skills to improve the oral health of these children, you can help to alleviate pain and discomfort, prevent serious dental problems, and improve their overall health and well-being.
However, volunteering abroad as a dentist also comes with its own set of challenges. Depending on the location and the resources available, you may need to adapt to different working conditions and cultural norms. You may also encounter language barriers, which can make communication with patients and local staff difficult. Additionally, working with orphans may be emotionally challenging, as you may encounter children who have experienced trauma or neglect. Despite these challenges, volunteering abroad as a dentist can be an incredibly rewarding experience that allows you to use your skills to make a tangible difference in the lives of those in need.
As a dentist, I am looking forward to volunteering again and using my skills to make a positive impact on the lives of those in need. Volunteering abroad provides a unique opportunity to immerse oneself in a new culture, learn from others, and broaden one’s perspective. By volunteering as a dentist to provide dental treatment to orphans, I can use my skills to help those who are most vulnerable and who may not have access to adequate dental care.
While the challenges of volunteering abroad can be significant, the sense of fulfillment and personal growth that comes from helping others makes it all worthwhile. Volunteering as a dentist allows me to not only make a difference in the lives of those I serve but also to develop new skills and gain a deeper understanding of the world around me. I am excited to continue volunteering and making a positive impact on the world, one patient at a time.
I would like to start by firstly thanking God for giving me the ability and the opportunity to help treat those in need as part of the DAN Kashmir Trip 2022. I would also like to thank my family for their patience and support whilst I was away., the whole DAN charity group who organised this trip and lastly the patients who trusted us with their care.
The Dan Kashmir trip 2022 was my third dental charity trip and second with DAN. Coincidently these trips seem to occur at times of relative personal upheaval, with this one coming in the middle of renovating our soon to be new home! Despite my relative familiarity with dental trips I was nervous joining this trip for a host of reasons, but mostly because I did not really know any of the other dentists. Perhaps this was one of the most amazing aspects of the trip that at our first meeting in Islamabad airport I knew how much I was going to enjoy the company and was confident that I was making friends for life
In contrast to my other dental charity work I must admit this was extremely well organised and the chaos was spectacularly well managed. Charity trips by their nature never run smoothly and you must overcome constant challenges on a daily basis. The only way I can describe it is to picture yourselves working in a four surgery NHS clinic from morning to night with no nurse and a monkey for a receptionist. Unfortunately most of the time you are also taking the role of the receptionist. Yet despite this we managed to maintain a good work flow between ourselves and the staff at KORT charity who helped facilitate our treatment. We were able to screen, educate and treat over 300 patients efficiently despite limited resources and limited time.
As you know treating children is probably one of the most challenging aspects of dentistry, both technically and emotionally. This is made even more difficult when you know that the treatment you provide cannot be corrected as the children will most likely not see a dentist until the next trip. Despite this we were able to provide a wide range of treatment including both restorative and surgical treatments. The dental team complimented each other very well and I believe that we brought out the best in each others skills and temperaments. A big factor in this was that we all left our ‘egos’ in check and understood that we were there not to brag or show off but to genuinely treat those in need. I don’t believe I would have been able to do as much as I did without help from the other dentists.
On a personal note the DAN Kashmir trip was an amazing spiritual and clinical experience. Working in the UK on the current dental model whether it is in Private or NHS dentistry there is a tendency to focus on earnings and get caught up in the rat race. Dental trips help remind us of both how fortunate we are and how much we can help others who are less privileged. Stress and depression have been intrinsically linked to the dental profession and I believe Dental Charity trips bring a new sense of joy and satisfaction that can alleviate that burden. The trip was emotional for all of us and many a tear was shed, even from the most macho members. Driving into work this morning through the gloomy rain in Manchester, knowing I had a packed schedule I smiled as I remembered the face of some of the children we treated. Their smiles were infectious and they will remain with me always. Would I go again? I don’t think anyone is stopping me from getting on that plane in October! God willing.