Students give back through oral health trip


CSU oral health and dentistry students treat a patient in makeshift conditionsWorking in hot, humid conditions to treat patients in make-shift clinics in regional communities in Cambodia is how a group of CSU dentistry and oral health students spent their holidays.

During the two-week program the team treated 537 patients, extracted 469 teeth and completed 414 restorations, along with preventative dental work.

They found the international study experience through CSU Global immensely rewarding, both professionally and personally.

“We worked in challenging conditions to provide dental care to a range of patients in early primary school, adolescents in high school, adults and other members of the community,” said Bachelor of Dental Science student Lindsay Webb.

“We were welcomed by the communities with open arms, some of whom had never seen a dentist and we were their first experience of modern dentistry.

“The clinics were set up in school halls and classrooms with very little light, limited suction and semi-adjustable chairs.

“Communication barriers combined with hot temperatures and intense humidity made the work environment very challenging.

“Despite these challenges the students and the patients managed to keep their smiles and each day looked forward to returning.

“I found the experience extremely beneficial to my clinical development and personally rewarding to provide free dental care to those in extreme need, with an emphasis on preventative dentistry.

“Hundreds of toothbrushes were given to patients and education about oral hygiene was given to each patient.”CSU students with a Cambodian child blowing bubbles

Another dentistry student, Kelly Webster, said it was an eye opening experience.

“A lot of the patients I saw were in pain and had been for a long time. It was really good to be able to help them and at the same time try to prevent it from happening in the future,” she said.

“I really appreciated having a team of Cambodian dentists and dental nurses with us to help with clinical work as well as bridge the communication gap between us and the patients,” said dentistry student, Adib Golshan. “They really kept the program running smoothly.”

The students also had the chance to experience some of Cambodia’s tumultuous past with visits to the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum (also known as the Killing Fields) and the S21 Torture Prison in Phnom Penh, along with the ancient Buddhist temples of Angkor Wat.

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