University Research Trust brings Mobile Dental Clinic to localities
The Mobile Dental Clinic, set up by the Faculty of Dental Surgery at the University of Malta with the funds raised through the University’s Research Trust (RIDT), will be visiting various localities across Malta and Gozo. The aim of this novel community project is to reach out to all sectors of society, including schools and the elderly offering screening and advice, and to conduct a national survey on oral health.
This was announced today by the Dean of the Faculty of Dental Surgery Professor Nikolai Attard, in the presence of the Minister for Education and Employment Evarist Bartolo, Rector Professor Juanito Camilleri, RIDT CEO Wilfred Kenely, Faculty members, and officials from corporate sponsors.
Prof Attard said: “The Mobile Dental Clinic will be visiting schools to educate the young through prevention programmes so as to bring about a change in our future generations and to promote better oral health overall. Visitors to Science in the City on Friday will have the opportunity to receive a free dental check-up.”
The dentistry team, led by Dr Gabriella Gatt, will be collecting fresh epidemiological data relating to the Maltese population as part of the National Oral Health survey through the University of Malta research grants and in collaboration with the Dental Public Health Unit of the Superintendence of Public Health. The list of people is generated scientifically, and will be a random sample depending on the age category. Participants receiving communication to participate in the oral health survey are urged to accept and contribute towards this scientific research while benefitting from a free dental screening.
Dr Gabriella Gatt said: “Although we cannot reveal all the results prior to their publication, one can say that the survey is indicating that one third (31%) of 3 year olds are already at risk of having dental caries. Moreover, 41% of these 3 year olds are overweight or obese and 70% of these are already showing signs of tooth erosion, with 10% of them having severe erosions. Another published study shows that institutionalised older adults suffer from poor oral health and consequently require a high level of treatment. This poses more cultural challenges to be addressed by the dental community,” explained Dr Gatt.
The Mobile Dental Clinic is fitted with modern facilities and is manned by staff members of the Faculty of Dental Surgery together with students reading the different courses offered by the Faculty. Patients requiring further dental treatment will be referred to the appropriate clinics.
The clinic will provide further education through training undergraduate dental professionals in delivering care to diverse segments of society in a non-traditional setting. It will help the Faculty collect epidemiological data which will be of value to various stakeholders.
The Mobile Dental Clinic forms part of University’s health outreach programme and is supported by GlaxoSmithKline (Malta) Ltd, Cherubino Ltd, Suratek Ltd, Bart Enterprises, the Good Causes Fund, Prohealth Ltd, Express Group and Rahuma International Ltd.