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The VN Smiles Organisation was formed in 2012. The primary aim of the organisation is to provide free dental care to under privileged children in poor regions across Vietnam.
Volunteering is one of the toughest but most rewarding jobs you will ever have, it enables you to make a personal contribution at the same time be involved in a life changing experience. VN Smiles volunteers are an incredible group of people, not only do they give their precious time to help us with our goal of providing dental care to the underprivileged, but they also form the backbone of our organization.
Being a volunteer has a lot of challenges offers so many rewards. Many have said it is life changing. It calls on you to make a personal contribution of time and money which touches lives. VN Smiles volunteers are an incredible group of people who are the backbone of our organisation.
Our vision is to provide world class dental services to under privileged children. We aim to create a place where patients can have all their dental needs taken care of with our comprehensive care. We values quality service, care, trust and patient comfort and safety above all else.
Initiate and support community outreach programs in providing dental services to the disadvantaged populations who have no regular access to dental care.
Promote and support oral health education by increasing awareness and understanding of oral health problems affecting the population.
Provide an infrastructure that result in better dental and medical treatment to the communities.
Encourage and support volunteers within the profession by the means of sponsoring programs that allow dentists to give back to their communities.
Support dental research in academic and community settings, to advance the understanding of oral diseases and public health problems.
Encourage careers and professional development in dentistry through grants of scholarship to programs and applicants in Australia and overseas.
Contribute to the development of health to young people in achieving their full physical, intellectual, emotional, social and spiritual potential. To become responsible citizens and as members of their local, national and international communities.
Supply food and accommodation for the needy and poor people including but not limited to the homeless, the disadvantaged and elderly people in emergency situations.
Provide financial assistance for the orphaned and disadvantaged.
We work at different sites on most days; it ranges from remote village to a busy city. Facilities vary at every location. This requires us to adapt and we work in makeshift dental clinics. This is guaranteed to be an experience different from what you are used to.
Roles you will undertake will range from:
- Pre-operative: organizing and registering the children, getting them to line up in an orderly manner, keeping them calm and when ready to be seen, send them in the right direction.
- Dental Nurse: assisting the dentist in treating the patient i.e. suctioning, getting and passing the appropriate instruments and materials required for the treatment.
- Post- operative: giving clear and precise instructions to the patient on how to look after the area that was treated.
i.e. after an extraction tell the patient to bite down on the gauze for 20-30 minutes or until the bleeding stops. If the gauze becomes blood soaked take it out and replace it with the fresh one provided, stressing to the patient that it is ok to swallow their saliva. Encourage a soft diet. Pain-relieving medication and antibiotics should be given as required.
After an amalgam restoration, tell patient not to eat for 2 hours to allow the amalgam filling to fully harden and set.
- Sterilization: disinfecting and reprocessing the infected instruments so we have sterilized instruments ready to use throughout the day.
- Instruments: here you will deal with dental materials and instruments only. Anything the dentist or dental nurse requires you will have ready to go.
- Familiarise yourself with instruments as shown. Click here to see illustration.
- During down time volunteers can roll gauze, make goodie bags for patients or play with the children.
Be prepared to: See blood, stand for long periods of time and calm anxious patients.
Infection control is critical in running an effective dental setting.
Mask, gloves, protective glasses and closed toe shoes must be worn at all time when treating and assisting patients.
Thorough and proper hand wash technique is the starting point and is the most effective way to prevent cross contamination.
After a patient has been treated the table has to be wiped down with a disinfectant, from the top to bottom i.e. from the cleanest part to the dirtiest in one direction (no circular motion).
Personal hygiene: Wash your hands after every glove change
*The instruments table is a clean zone at all times. Only the team member assigned to that table will pick up the materials and instruments for you.
VN Smiles has an emergency box, in which you will find a CPR wall chart, sharps injury protocol emergency/important telephone numbers and instructions for universal precaution
All sharps will be removed and disposed of ONLY by the dentist.
Your safety comes first before anything else. In any situation where you feel that your safety is compromised or at risk, please raise your concerns with the head nurse or dentist.
At the start of the day the head nurse and dentist will decide on how and where we will setup each workstation.
A work schedule will also be created so everyone gets a chance to experience the different roles.
At the end of the day all instruments have to be sterilized and packed away into their appropriate marked box and ready to go to the next destination.
VN Smiles will always have appropriately qualified and insured personnel included in all projects.
All Dentists, Dental Therapists and Dental Hygienists must be registered within their state/territory and Dentists must be covered by Dental Indemnity at their own cost.
Please see who is responsible for which costs and how they are paid and disbursed:
Airfares – all volunteers are responsible for securing their own flights to and from the operational base of each project.
Accommodation – all volunteers are personally responsible for the cost of accommodation, which will generally be secured in advance of the project.
Ground Costs – This will be covered by VN Smiles which includes cover bus hire, food / drinks whilst working, a scrub shirt, purchase of sundry items, donations to institutions we visit, gifts/donations to local workers assisting VN Smiles.
Any surplus funds are re-invested into VN Smiles for the purchase of dental equipment and materials to ensure continued work of the organisation.
Other expenses – these are to be covered by each volunteer personally, unless otherwise determined by the Committee.
VN Smiles will be responsible for the cost of equipment, materials and bus travel whilst the group is working on a project within Vietnam.
All other travel, accommodation and personal costs will be the responsibility of the volunteer.
1. VN Smiles brochure
2. Dental Equipments