Dr Helen Mclean recently returned from volunteering at Long Tan Dental Clinic

Dr Mclean and her son volunteered as part of the SA Dental Care team in Vietnam providing oral health care to locals

Long Tan Dental clinic in Vietnam was originally set up by the Australian Volunteers Resource Group to assist in the promotion of oral health to the local people of Long Tan.

Dental care and education of oral health are not considered of high importance in Vietnam. Dr Helen Mclean is a regular volunteer at the Long Tan Dental Clinic where her skill and expertise are greatly needed to both promote good oral health and provide locals with the care they so greatly need.

Although much of the focus is on relieving locals of pain and existing oral health issues, a large portion of the trip is focused on providing vital education for the community and helping convince local departments and government about the importance of good oral health.

During Dr Mclean’s trip, the team completed:

  • 158 patient examinations
  • 67 restorations
  • 49 extractions
  • 15 preventative treatments

What was your favourite part of the trip?

Revisiting the children that I examined and treated last year, and seeing that “the team” is making a difference.

Was there a memorable case you could share with us?

We treated a little girl who was in pain with 2 big abscesses. Seeing her persevere with the treatment was special because in her words, (Vietnamese of course) “I want to be beautiful”, so she knew that she had to go through with the extractions. Then she helped some of the other anxious children, telling them to be brave and that everything was ok.

Tell us why you think it’s important to do these trips?

We are the only people providing regular dental care to this socially disadvantaged group and they are happy and willing to accept our offer of dental care.

Dr Helen is especially proud to have influenced her son who is a general dentist in Adelaide to volunteer alongside her. Dr Edward has accompanied Dr Helen on her past four trips to Vietnam.

For more information about the work of Dr Helen Mclean and the SA Dental Care team in Vietnam, visit the AAVRG website.

dr edward treating patientDr Helen Mclean in Vietnamlong tan dental clinic in vietnamdr helen mclean with patient in vietnamdr edward and patient in vietam