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Indigenous Dental Training

Giving hope to the 3.5 billion people who don’t have access to dental care.

According to the research done by Kings College London Dental Institute, the number of people world-wide with untreated dental conditions was 3.5 billion in 2015. 3.5 billion means nearly half of the world’s people have unmet dental needs. 

In order to meet these dental needs, groups have traditionally travelled to the developing world to provide dental care on a short-term basis. While this does meet some dental needs, there isn’t anyone there to provide care after a short-term dental team leaves. By equipping indigenous Christ followers with dental skills, they are able to meet the spiritual and physical needs of their own people in a way most outsiders cannot. 

ITEC’s dental training program consists of classroom and live patient care portions. Dental trainings normally focus on extractions, but sometimes dental hygiene is taught depending on the governmental regulations in the hosts country. Trainees learn appropriate use of PPE, tooth anatomy, how to safely give local anesthetic, extraction technique, and pressure pot sterilization. They also learn how to apply silver nitrate to slow the progression of tooth decay. 

After demonstrating proficiency and competency with the training, trainees receive a certificate, an ITEC portable dental chair, and the dental instruments needed for treatment and sterilization in remote areas. Dental training graduates are encouraged to charge a small fee to resupply their own disposable items. 

We can’t forget the spiritual aspect, either. Trainees learn the Gospel parallels of tooth decay and sin and have opportunities to pray with and share the Good News of Jesus with their patients. After demonstrating proficiency and competency with the training, they receive a certificate and dental instruments. 

The ITEC dental training program exists to meet felt dental needs as well as give students more opportunities to share the Gospel. When you pass on your skills, the dentistry and the ministry continue, even after the short-term trip is over.
Dentistry opening doors to share Jesus.

The close personal contact between a dentist and a patient provides a conduit through which both their physical and spiritual needs can be met. In Ghana, for example, a pastor was able to share his faith in Christ with a Muslim Imam after the pastor cared for the Imam’s dental needs. This sharing of his faith might never have been possible for the pastor, had he not first shown the Muslim leader compassion and love in a very tangible way.

The Training

Indigenous Christ-following trainees learn basic dental skills (like extractions) from our team of professional dentists and dental assistants. They must learn and demonstrate a minimum level of proficiency in dentistry to obtain their certification. The trainees are then encouraged to use the skills to share the love of Jesus by helping locals with basic dental problems.

The Chair

The ITEC Portable Dental Chair was developed to improve the quality of frontier dentistry for both patients and dentists alike. These chairs weigh in at only 25 lbs and can be carried in a suitcase or as a backpack.

Watch how both physical needs and spiritual needs were met in Mozambique.

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