Our Story

Dentaid improves oral health around the world

We provide access to safe, affordable and essential dental care for people in many of the poorest countries in the world and in the UK.

 

WHERE DID IT ALL BEGIN?

In 1995 the UK charity Hope Now was approached by a prison governor in Ukraine. His inmates were in urgent need of dental care and a local dentist had agreed to come to the prison if they could set up a surgery there. A UK dentist who was upgrading his surgery donated his old equipment and the clinic was a great success.

Hope Now recognised the need for a dental charity and in 1996 Dentaid was formed with one member of staff working from his garage supported by a £10,000 grant.

At first the charity concentrated on refurbishing donated equipment and sending it to charitable dental clinics across the world. But as funding increased Dentaid started oral health education projects, dental engineer training and volunteering trips.

In addition to providing equipment, volunteers and training, Dentaid has become a respected voice in international dentistry. In 2007 an ongoing action group was set up to study and combat the traditional African practice of tooth gouging, known as infant oral mutilation (IOM).

The charity is also involved in fluoride advocacy, oral health projects in schools and initiatives that provide toothbrushes and toothpaste to deprived communities. In the UK Dentaid developed its Bright Bites education resource for Key Stage 2 pupils which includes teachers’ packs, an educational game, experiments and lesson plans.

One problem with sending large pieces of dental equipment around the world was high shipping costs and the length of time it took for chairs to be installed in surgeries. But Dentaid’s engineers came up with a solution. In 2009 the charity devised the DentaidBox – a portable dental surgery complete with a chair that can be operated without access to water or electricity. And the whole thing fits into a wheelie bin! Not only did this allow the charity to help more projects around the world but an entire surgery could be built and sent overseas for £1,800.

The first DentaidBox was sent to Uganda in 2012 and they are now being used in countries all over the world.

The DentaidBoxes were soon followed by a DentaidBag a special rucksack that allows dental equipment to be taken by areoplane as carry-on luggage. This fully portable surgery can be transported easily to outreach clinics in rural areas and to regions affected by natural disasters.

OUR TIMELINE

1996

Dentaid launches in a garage with the help of a £10,000 grant and lots of great ideas.

1997

First surgery donated, reconditioned by volunteers and sent to a prison in Ukraine

2000

Dentaid moves to new headquarters in Landford with a much larger warehouse.  Volunteers help in the warehouse to recondition donated equipment and produce Dentaid’s portable chairs.

2003

Dentaid launches its first oral health education programmes.  Our volunteers visit schools around the world to talk about toothbrushing, the importance of fluoride and how to avoid tooth decay.

2003

Dentaid designs a fully portable dental chair.  This lightweight chair means that dental clinics can be set up in schools, community buildings, churches, prisons, orphanages and remote locations.

2004

Great Wall of China Trek raising £50,000

2005

First major sponsor Denplan became involved

2006

Introduction of Bright Bites education pack

2007

Introduction of training programmes to local health workers

2009

Dentaid delivers full surgeries and portable equipment to more countries than ever before

2012

The newly designed DentaidBox is introduced.  A fully portable dental surgery fits into a wheelie bin so it can be shipped and set up in some of the most remote places in the world.

2014

Dentaid was awarded a Global Grant from Rotary International to train a new generation of dentists in Timor Leste.  The grant also provided much needed dental equipment in a country where there were only 6 dentists and a desperate shortage of facilities.

2015

Dentaid starts working in the UK and launches the Real Junk Tooth Project in Dewsbury, West Yorkshire. The project has helped 120 vulnerable people who found it difficult to access NHS dental care.

2015

A Dentaid team and portable equipment goes to The Jungle Camp in Calais where there is a desperate need for dental care.

2016

Dentaid purchases a mobile dental unit that will offer outreach clinics for homeless and vulnerable people in the UK.

2016

Dentaid sends its first volunteering team to the refugee camps in northern Greece

2017

Dentaid starts new projects in the refugee camps on Lesvos and Samos

2017

Dentaid’s Mobile Dental Unit starts providing dental care for homeless and vulnerable people

2017

Dentaid receives funding from the People’s Postcode Lottery to run its Brightbites oral health programme in Leeds