The tooth, the whole tooth and nothing but the tooth

Africa, Documentary, Mercy Ships

I did a post of dental work in Togo last year, stressing the importance of the work Mercy Ships do in this area. The dental clinic is located at the ‘Hope Centre’, the name given to the venue a short walk from the port where many long-term patients recover after their operations on the ship. The amount of people the dental team see each day is huge. On average they get through 120 patients. Last week alone they pulled out around 1100 teeth. I spent just over an hour at the clinic observing and photographing their usual routine. They are a close team with excellent management and organisation – a well-oiled machine. It is refreshing to watch such good work done with such efficiency.

Above: The lazy atmosphere at the entrance to the clinic is deceiving.

Above and below: Waiting patients are instructed by Comfort Yeboah, a long term resident on the ship as to the best way to look after their teeth. Basic routines like brushing your teeth twice a day is news to many of them.

Above: This mother turned up at the dental clinic with her severely cleft-lipped daughter. She was moved onto the ship 10 minutes walk down the road at lunchtime for surgery due later in the week.

Above and below: patients wait in the main hall to be called in to be seen by the dentist.

Above: A patient waits in the chair while the dentist finishes an procedure.

Above: A patient waits for five minutes for the dentist to return after receiving an injection in his mouth.

Bob reaches for a tool while working on a patients mouth. He is an incredibly fast worker, and seemed to be operating on three to four patients at once – a bit like watching a master playing several games of chess at the same time.

Above: A woman waits for the anaesthetic to take effect. She then has a rotten tooth removed later (below)

Above and below: Alistair extracts a number of teeth which come with a few inevitable drops of blood…

Above: A day volunteer has a quick rest from assisting the dentists.

Above: Jesse, a Mercy Ships cook volunteering for the day holds a patients hand as the dentist pulls out a tooth.

Above: A day volunteer briefly assesses a patients mouth before the dentist comes over.

Above: A patient waits for the dentist to come over.

Above: Alistair explains to a patient why he cannot pull the teeth out that are giving him pain.

Above: Dusti, one of the dental hygienists cleans up a few teeth.

Above: Bob operates on a patient.

Above and below: Alistair examines and explains a procedure to a patient amid the businesses of the clinic.

Above: Mona, one of the dentists a work.

A patient waits anxiously for her name to be called.


4 thoughts on “The tooth, the whole tooth and nothing but the tooth

  1. Pingback: Gute Filme

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