A driver will pick you up from your hotel around 9am and drive you to Clinic PAS about a 30 minute drive from the centre of Dili. This is a community Medical and Dental Centre with Domingos, a full time Timorese Oral Health Therapist, treating the local population. We operate out of the second dental chair with translation help from the clinic staff. Facilities are heavily dependant upon the sporadic power supply and we suggest you take a strong head torch and be prepared for power outages.
Patients have no set appointment time, with many arriving in the morning and patiently waiting their turn. The days finish around 4, or when the last patient is seen. There will be a mix of new patients, returning adjustment patients and patients requiring bond-up. Treatment plans and next steps are recorded on the laptop (and printed notes are also provided) however a degree of clinical judgement is required and photographs should be taken at each visit. Teams include a minimum of two orthodontists taking it in turns to treat and assist.
The anatomy of the teeth is often complicated by hypoplastic enamel making bracket placement and bond strength challenging, (please see below for the bonding protocol used in the clinic). There is an oral hygiene and braces instruction video recorded in Tetum on the laptop and also available for the patient to view on YouTube (a very popular pastime in Dili with nearly everyone owning a mobile phone). Translation is provided by dental assistants and Domingos but some of the younger patients have good English.
Sr Maria, the clinic coordinator and her team provide lunch in an air-conditioned room off the clinic which is a wonderful way to spend some time chatting to this inspirational lady. She frequently finds our new patients on her trips to remote villages, or approaches cleft patients in shops and on the streets telling them about the project. At the end of the day you will be driven back to your hotel (times vary).