A team of Bupa dentists and dental nurses from 8 different dental clinics across the UK went to Thessaloniki, Greece to provide free, emergency treatment to those in the refugee camp, as part of the Dentaid volunteer programme.
For refugees fleeing war, persecution, poverty or violence, oral health may be the last thing on their mind.
But without access to regular oral health check-ups, many refugees have developed complex dental problems since leaving their homes, including agonising tooth aches and rotting teeth.
Working alongside local dentists, the 12 Bupa dental volunteers operated from pop-up clinics in schools, cafes and community centres to triage, treat and provide aftercare for the refugees, many of whom required fillings and extractions.
Dr Bhav Kotecha, clinical lead and dental surgeon at Bupa Bank Clinic said the team had everything they needed despite the challenging conditions.
"The clinics had all the equipment we needed to help our patients, including the tools to fix and remove decaying teeth and to repair fractured teeth.
"As a dentist you have an inbuilt ethos to help people, and in our profession we are in a fortunate position where we can offer practical assistance to help improve the lives of others.
"We treated a lot of people at the camp, from young children to the elderly. Many had deep tooth decay and were living in chronic pain. Others had orthodontic braces that needed fixing or chronic gum disease.
"Most of the people we treated had good oral health before they had to flee from their homes, but because of the situation they were in, their oral health had taken a toll.
"One young girl we treated had a big chip in her front tooth, which made naturally made her feel self conscious, as it would many people her age. After we fixed it for her, she said that we had not only fixed her tooth, but we had restored her smile."
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