Spreading smiles: Moreton Dental Care’s fifth Uganda mission

Spreading smiles: Moreton Dental Care’s fifth Uganda mission

Paul Sherrard, dentist and founder of Moreton Dental Care, is planning to make his fifth charity mission to Uganda in 2022 to provide dental care to impoverished communities without access to a dentist. Edward Sherrard, a dentist at the practice and Paul’s son, will also be joining him.

Paul will be part of a team of medical professionals visiting remote villages in Uganda without access to medical or dental treatment. They’ll take all their equipment with them to set up temporary clinics in the settlements which have no electricity or running water. It’s likely that the villagers will have never seen a dentist before.

Speaking about the trip, Paul said, “The mission is always a hugely worthwhile experience. I had never seen such poverty and poor living conditions before going to Uganda, and yet we see so many happy, smiling faces when we are there, and have been able to help a lot of people in a short space of time.”

On previous trips, Paul has relieved toothache for hundreds of local villagers. Most of the dental work involves extracting teeth to relieve pain, but he and the team also offer advice on diet and oral health to the communities, as well as leaving supplies of toothbrushes and toothpaste. A major cause of tooth decay in the South Western Uganda region they visit is grazing on sugar cane, an important local crop.

On previous trips, the medical team has travelled for up to four hours by minibus each day along rough roads and mud tracks to reach these remote locations. Villagers would often turn out in their hundreds to be seen, even though it could mean waiting in a queue for several hours. The team work closely with an interpreter to explain to each patient the treatment needed.

Supporting local charity

The missions have been organised through the Wirral-based Rock of Joy Trust, a Christian charity which runs three schools in Uganda and offers care and sustainable support to their communities.

Paul first decided to go to Uganda when his teenage son, Edward, signed up to go on a three-week charity trip to the country with the Rock of Joy charity in 2011. Edward, then aged 16, was in a group of 30 teenagers who helped out at the Rock of Joy-funded schools and in their communities. Paul joined the medical team running in tandem with the trip.

Since then, Edward has trained and qualified as a dentist and, in 2019, joined the medical team as a dentist.

Every other year, the trust takes a group of 30 teenagers to spend three weeks working at the schools, along with a medical team. Speaking about the support he’s had for the trip, Paul explained, “We greatly appreciate the huge support we’ve received from patients and colleagues of Moreton Dental Care, as well as other local dentists, who have made generous donations to support the charity’s work. It means we can really make a difference to the lives of these communities.

Learn more about the Rock of Joy Trust.

Bupa Dental Care is a trading name of Oasis Healthcare Limited. Registered in England and Wales number: 03257078. Registered office: Bupa Dental Care Vantage Office Park, Old Gloucester Road, Hambrook, Bristol, United Kingdom BS16 1GW.