Stress increases risk of tooth decay and leads to tooth pain, and Israel has experienced its fair share of lockdown. DVI’s target populations, at-risk youth and needy elderly, are at greater risk of tooth decay, oral health issues and general health issues, and when someone requires urgent dental care, it should be treated immediately, lest it lead to the loss of the tooth and other health problems. However, hospitals and government-run dental clinics have been closed for dentistry, due to the risk of infection. To this end, DVI committed to remaining open, to provide urgent care to Jerusalem’s most vulnerable populations, who on a good day are not on top of their oral health. DVI purchased a large quantity of supplies at inflated prices (supply and demand) that were not in stock in order to keep the clinic open, including disposable gowns, full plastic face screens, surgery head caps – to meet the ever-changing regulations, to increase infection control protocol. With countless foundations and non-profit organizations temporarily closing and canceling their activities, foundations are unsure of the benefits of donating now. In contrast, support for DVI now actually keeps DVI’s doors open, and make sure that our patients have better, healthier lives – and that underprivileged youth have a real chance at fully integrating and becoming productive members of society, after the Coronavirus Pandemic has passed. Needy elderly, like Miram Kastner, whose dentures were lost in the hospital during the pandemic, are significantly more stressed by the sudden lack of teeth – and according to Dr. Palmon, this is a frequent occurrence.
While the medical director does all patient checkups and devises the treatment plan, the actual dental treatments are primarily executed by international dental volunteers. In 2019 alone, DVI hosted 140 volunteers from 19 different countries. In addition, DVI remains the only dental clinic in Israel that both receives international volunteers and serves as an external pediatric rotation for dental students. Our initial partnership with the Hadassah School of Dental Medicine has now expanded to also include the Tel-Aviv School of Dental Medicine. At this time, with foreign dentists unable to GET to Israel, local volunteer dentists are stepping to the plate as NEVER before. Israeli dentists who have always said that they simply don’t have time have MADE time, and are showing up in force. Arab Israeli and Palestinian volunteer dentists have taken weekly shifts, in droves, at DVI. It’s inspiring. And Hadassah and Tel Aviv Dental School residents have continued coming. Patient demand has been strong and DVI has thrived!
What are a young person’s prospects when they are visibly missing teeth? Think about it for a few moments, and do the mitzvah of putting yourself in another person’s shoes. Once the tooth is gone for a couple of years, there is bone loss – an implant is no longer a serious possibility. DVI is here to FILL THAT GAP, prevent that from happening, and enable vulnerable Jerusalemites to ESCAPE the cycle of poverty.
DVI…staff and volunteers. WORKING THE FRONTLINES….for a better Jerusalem for ALL.