March 29, 2009
Amrita School of Dentistry, Kochi
Hundreds of people participated in the Dental Awareness Camp, Dantharogya Mela, organized by the Amrita School of Dentistry on March 25, 2009 at Edapally in the Changampuzha Park, a few minutes away from the School. Dantharogya in Sanskrit means health of the teeth; the Mela or Camp was conceived as a means to disseminate knowledge about common oral diseases and the importance of oral health care.
“This was the first time we organized such an event outside our health care campus,” stated Dr. Chandrasekhar J., HoD, Dept of Public Health Dentistry, who was the event coordinator. Students and faculty helped with the organizing of the camp.
Beginning at 2:00 pm, the camp was inaugurated by noted cine artist, Mr. Manikuttan, who was joined by Dr. K. N. Unni, Principal of the Amrita School of Dentistry and Ms. Sneha, Administrator of the School. “Many people from poorer sections of society are unable to receive the required dental care in our society,” stated Mr. Manikuttan. “I am happy to note that Amrita is organizing this camp, where so many people can avail of free check ups as well as learn more.” Mr. Manikuttan also expressed his profound appreciation for the models and oral education material displayed at the camp. “I myself was not aware about the gravity of the some of the oral diseases; I know more now,” he shared later.
Included as part of the camp, was an exhibition about dental care and diseases. Three sections broadly covered different aspects — the first had posters and displays about the normal anatomy of the face and the tooth, the oral cavity and its adjacent structures. The second section detailed diseases that affect the oral cavity and its adjacent structures. The third and final section included displays on the preventive and curative modalities of treatment of dental and oro-facial diseases. Ramya, a third year student studying for her BDS (Bachelor of Dental Surgery) degree at the Amrita School of Dentistry, was one of the volunteers at the camp. “People asked us so many questions. It was a great to be able to clear their doubts,” she said.
Final year BDS students enacted a street play that told the story of a young boy who gets addicted to smoking and is diagnosed with oral cancer. The play highlighted the importance of dental care and regular visits to the dentist in addition to underscoring the ill effects of smoking tobacco. “This camp gave us an opportunity to educate the common man about issues related to dental care; many of these issues are of great importance in their day-to-day lives, yet they are unaware,” stated Joseph, a final year BDS student. “The play was appreciated by the audience.” A free dental checkup was available for all who visited. When the camp concluded at 7:30 pm, nearly 450 people had availed of this service.
Experts from the School also gave talks on various aspects of oral health care. Dr Anil Mathew, HoD, Dept of Prosthodontics, talked about oral health issues as they related to the elderly. He discussed options available to replace missing teeth. Dr Radhika Radhakrishnan, an intern at the School, described common habits that children have, that can cause dental problems. She offered tips on how to maintain a nice smile. The ill-effects of smoking were highlighted yet again when Dr Alexander from the Dept of Oral Medicine and Radiology spoke about different types of tobacco and described how smoking could cause pre cancerous conditions, leading to oral cancer.
“It was quite amazing to see the response of the general public,” shared Dr. Chandrasekhar later. “We are happy that such large numbers of people participated. They were eager to know more about oral health and we were happy to provide them with the required information.” “The event was a grand success,” proudly stated Dr. K. N. Unni. “The students who participated in the camp did so with great enthusiasm. I congratulate our faculty members for coming together and taking the initiative to organize this event. I thank the media cell on our health care campus which helped publicize the event that greatly contributed to its success. Healthy teeth for happy smiles — I am happy that Amrita has been able to serve yet again in another way.”
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