The fear of the dentist’s chair is nearly universal. It is scary, uncomfortable and in many cases quite expensive, but on 13 April, the presence of a team of volunteer dental surgeons brought laughter and joy to homeless people at a dental camp at the St. Brigids hospital in Starehe, Nairobi. The camp was organised by RC Muthaiga.
The surgeons braved the sunny day to bring their skilled hands to the hundreds of homeless people who turned up for the highly publicized event. By 7 a.m, the group of dentists had already laid out their tools of trade, ready for their first client. And they trooped in one by one. The young, old, women and men, some tooth full and others nearly toothless. They shared jokes, their fears of the dental chair and their hopes in life. RCM members were at hand to assist the dentists and share food with all present. They also distributed donations of clothes to the street families.
Services provided included dental cleaning, exams, X-rays, tooth extractions and fillings. Dental services are largely out of reach for homeless people mainly due to cost but also because most would rather spend the time out on the streets struggling for survival. However, lack of timely dental care can lead to serious medical care.