“South Africa still battles with poverty and a lot of people still cannot access dental services, which are a crucial part of overall individual health”
Dental caries is a common but preventable condition among children. It is believed that in South Africa, oral caries is the most prevalent oral condition and nearly 60% of six-year olds have suffered dental caries. While over 90% of caries in the country remain untreated due to an overburdened oral health system and lack of public awareness.
Dental caries are permanently damaged areas in teeth that develop into tiny holes; causes include sipping sugary drinks, bacteria and poor teeth cleaning. Untreated dental caries can cause toothache, infection and tooth loss.
Recently, health organisations and professionals have stepped in, in attempt to ease and combat oral health problems and are raising awareness about the importance of hygiene oral health among children. Such organisations include Sunset Dentistry.
Sunset Dentistry is a dental practice based in Fourways, in Johannesburg providing comprehensive dental services with a vision to provide individualised attention in order to meet patient’s specific oral health needs.
Their services range from general dentistry annual check-ups, cleaning, fillings, dentures, root canal treatments and dental emergencies to cosmetic and re- constructive dentistry crowns, bridges, implant works, orthodontics and oral surgery extractions, wisdom teeth removals.
There is a close link between poverty and poor oral health behaviour. “South Africa still battles with poverty and a lot of people still cannot access dental services, which are a crucial part of overall individual health” says Kometsi Mokuele – one of the founding members of Sunset Dentistry.
He proceeded that “dental health usually takes a back seat due to lack of resources, however, as an organisation our aim is to give back as we feel this is very important to us having been raised in such communities.”
It is such reasons that propelled Sunset Dentistry to join forces with Johannesburg Children’s Home to enhance the oral health of the little ones. “Services offered at the home range from check-ups, cleaning, fillings, extractions, root canals, braces and all based on children’s needs,” reveals Mokuele.
Bridgette Bond- the Johannesburg Children Home’s Child and Youth Care co-ordinator, shares the perks of their relationship with Sunset Dentistry. “Sunset Dentistry gives our children the opportunity and a privilege that was previously known only to advantaged children.”
Bond also reveals that “more than 70% of the Johannesburg children’s home have benefited from sunset dentistry’s services.”
She further extends words of gratitude to sunset dentistry team as “our organisation would like to say a big thank you to Sunset dentistry for putting a smile on our children’s faces again and for not making them feel like they are from a children’s home.”
Dr Nomvuyo Methuse- a business partner at Sunset Dentistry shares that “the work we do with Johannesburg children’s home is a year round charitable program that provides free dental treatment to those children at the home in need of dental services”. “Appointments are done at least every 3 months but we are flexible to see emergencies as they happen,” she adds.
Johannesburg Children’s Home is not the only organisation that reaps from the fruits of the dentistry, Jacob’s Well Villages also benefits. Methuse also reveals that “at the moment we also work with Jacob’s Well Village, an NGO that takes care of mentally disabled children from Diepsloot and Olievenhoutbosch offering minor dental services”
Mokuele concluded that “currently, we are just working with these two organisations, but we are hopeful that in the future we can be able to further our services to others as we grow also in capacity.”
By Vuyokazi Mdlungu