Everyday a dental team works hard to serve 50-60 patients at a clinic run by Mercy Ships. The clinic is located about 25 minutes from where the Africa Mercy is berthed in Lomé, Togo. Procedures include extractions, fillings, new tooth construction and sometimes the occasional root canal. Dentists also treat osteomyelitis-a decaying bone infection that occurs when a tooth with a large cavity creates an abscess at the end of the root.
Dental hygienist Michelle Ediger, Canada (above) cleans a patients teeth. Local Day Workers from Togo work alongside full time crew to assist with all aspects of procedures.
People line up by the hundreds to be screened on Mondays and Thursdays for appointments. An average of 250 potential patients would be willing to wait all day in the hot sun to be seen. If able to be treated, they would given an appointment bracelet and day to return for their procedure.
Due to the lack of dental care in Togo, most patients have never been seen by a dentist. For many, a visit to the Mercy Ships dental clinic will result in relief of lifelong pain.