Title of the Practice
SUSMITHAM – A free denture community outreach programme
- Provide Accessible Dental Care: To offer free dentures and related oral health services to individuals who cannot afford or access quality dental care, ensuring that oral health disparities are reduced and marginalized populations receive the necessary treatment.
- Raise Awareness: To increase awareness within the community about the importance of oral health and proper dental care practices through educational sessions and demonstrations, empowering participants to take control of their oral well-being.
- Foster Community Engagement: To foster a sense of community involvement and engagement by collaborating with social organizations, professional societies, volunteers, and sponsors, thereby creating a supportive network that extends beyond the outreach camp.
- Establish Best Practices: To demonstrate the effectiveness of a well-organized denture camp as a best practice in community engagement and oral health promotion, serving as a model for other institutions and organizations to replicate.
- Provide Oral Health Education: To offer educational sessions on proper oral hygiene practices, denture care, and preventive measures, ensuring that participants are equipped with the knowledge to maintain their oral health beyond the camp.
Despite the emergence of new dental colleges and clinics, accessibility and affordability of basic dental care is a massive challenge to a large section of the rural population in the region. Additionally, total edentulousness is a condition that severely compromises the oral health-related quality of life. The free denture project is being organized as part of the institution’s commitment to improving the oral health of marginalized populations, ensuring that individuals with limited resources can access essential dental care.
Under the initiative of the Department of Prosthodontics, the institution collaborates with social organizations like the Rotary Club and Y’s Men’s Club to identify deserving beneficiaries of the free denture project in rural areas. Outreach camps are conducted at various locations where screening and treatment procedures until denture trials are completed. The camp team includes teaching faculty, dental technicians, post-graduate students, interns, and final-year BDS students. The final dentures are delivered at the Prosthodontics department of the institution. Every year the programme aims to deliver 10-15 complete dentures.
Evidence of Success
More than 90 dentures have been delivered to deserving patients through the SUSMITHAM project, satisfying their long-standing need for oral rehabilitation. The collaborating bodies like the Indian Prosthodontic Society, the Rotary Club of Adimali, the Rotary Club of Koothattukulam, and Y’s Men’s Club highly appreciate the program and have given excellent feedback. The institution has signed a memorandum of understanding with the Rotary Club of Koothattukulam to continue this collaborative project.
Completing the extensive laboratory procedures is one of the main challenges faced during the program’s implementation. Coordinating the logistic aspects and the required personnel also is demanding. The project was halted during 2020-21 due to the COVID restrictions.
The program receives comprehensive coverage in various print and visual media.