How We Work
We believe in maintaining the basic philosophy of having a Simple, Safe and Sustainable approach. This philosophy is supported by five key notions which underpin our organisation and operations in Nepal: Outreach; Clinical Care; Education; Empowerment and Sustainability.
Outreach: Reaching children in remote regions
SmileHigh dental professionals travel to remote areas of Nepal biannually to set up a basic temporary dental clinic. Depending on the region the mode of travel involves a mix of air travel (fixed wing and helicopter), road travel and trekking supported by yaks and porters. Travel times vary from one to three days according on the region and the prevailing weather conditions.
We focus on saving teeth wherever possible and treat dental caries as a potentially reversible disease. The field team follows defined techniques to ensure each child receives the appropriate treatment:
- Every child is given a free examination followed by treatment where needed
- Fissure sealants are placed on permanent molars as preventative measures from decay
- Open decayed or ‘cavitated’ teeth (i.e. teeth with holes) are treated using ART (Atraumatic Restorative Technique) in combination with a fluoride releasing glass ionomer filling material supplied by our partner GC Corporation
- Complex and painful procedures can be carried out at Dr Mingma Sherpa’s Kathmandu clinic
Dental education and prevention are also critical to the on-going success of our field work. The SmileHigh field team is trained to deliver presentations to classes and schools. We emphasise the importance of maintaining healthy diets and differentiate between ‘good’ and ‘bad’ foods such as sweets, chocolate and ‘fizzy’ drinks compared with fruits, vegetables and complex carbohydrates. Where necessary, we also conduct household visits when there has been no clear positive responses to our treatment and advice.
SmileHigh has drawn inspiration from both Sir Edmund Hillary, who founded the Himalayan Trust which resulted in the establishment of schools and hospitals in remote Nepalese regions, and Fred Hollows, an ophthalmologist whose visits to Nepal resulted in training programmes for local technicians to perform eye surgery. Through the dental work provided by our Nepal team – Dr Mingma Sherpa and two dental hygienists Pasang Sherpa and Sareena Shrestha – lead by example to give back to their communities via their field work and dedication. In this way SmileHigh is empowering local people to solve their own health issues in a sustainable way.
Sustainability is key to our commitment to achieve long-term success. In order to be sustainable in what we do, we believe that there is wisdom in keeping things as simple and safe as possible. One serious problem arising from dental intervention has the potential to unravel all of the good work that SmileHigh has achieved.