Ukrainian soldiers receive professional dental care on front lines

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Stories from the Front, Ukraine, War in the Donbas

 

Toothaches cause unbearable pain, problems and inconvenience. They can turn the bravest and most trained soldier into an incompetent dishrag.

A team of volunteer dentists has tackled the problem of oral hygiene by organizing dental services in a mobile dental unit that travels along the demarcation line.

Dentists from all over Ukraine volunteer for one or two weeks in mobile and permanent dental offices, providing professional assistance to Ukrainian soldiers.

One of them is a dentist from Cherkasy, ​​Valeriy Horbenko, who’s been working for more than a week at Ukrainian positions near Shyrokyne.

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– The first mobile dental unit, called Tryzub-1, arrived at the front on June 1, 2015, says Valeriy Horbenko. Since then, volunteer dentists have been arriving regularly in weekly rotations to treat our soldiers. We realized that the problem was global after the first rotation. We were approached by commanders and field doctors who told us about the dental situation in the army. We saw that military dentists couldn’t cope with all the work on their own. Therefore, we decided to organize a volunteer organization and regular rotations. We launched mobile and stationary dental offices. We’re currently in a mobile dental office called Tryzub-2. This used to be a bread delivery van that we equipped completely by ourselves. All the equipment was financed by foreign colleagues and civilian dentists, who regularly work along the front lines.

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There’s not a moment of rest for Valeriy. He has a very large family, so must go right back to civilian work after the rotation. In addition, he and his colleagues need to regularly replenish the mobile unit with medicines and materials.

During his work on the front lines, Valeriy has often lived through shelling, gunfire and military actions.

– Last year, we were treating a soldier’s teeth when the enemy started shelling Shyrokyne. Our patient had travelled from a very distant remote position, and it took him some time to find us. Therefore, we decided to continue the treatment despite the explosions. I was doing a very complicated job, “playing around” with root canals, using optics and lights… Suddenly, there was a deafening explosion nearby that shook our vehicle, and I broke the instrument in my patient’s canal. Several guys ran up, checked that we were all safe and sound, and told us to take shelter. I smiled and told them: “Look here, I haven’t finished my job yet. You’ll have to wait…” I continued working under heavy fire. At the end of that day, I was really mad at those “separs”! It’s a real pity; I lost a very good instrument…”

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The dental volunteers have more than their fair share of work treating 15-20 servicemen a day. They work from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sometimes, they are faced with very difficult cases, for example, when they tell their patients that they must have several teeth removed. Sometimes five to six teeth have to be removed at a time.

Valeriy says that the dental team also tries to change the situation for the better, constantly promoting oral hygiene among the fighters. They conduct training sessions, explain how to properly take care of teeth and why it’s so important, and distribute hygiene products.

– I keep telling the boys what they should do. Guys, brush your teeth! If there’s a problem, visit our mobile dental clinic. We’re here for you!

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Mobile Press Group, Mariupol Operational Tactical Group

Translated by: Christine Chraibi
Source: Press centre ATO

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  • Robert

    Slava the Volunteers!!! Bless your Hearts!!! Be Safe!!!

    Slava Ukraini!!!

    • Mick Servian

      Hahaha
      What bullshit
      Hahahaha

      • MichaelA

        why is it bullshit?
        ukraine uses all volunteers on front line
        russia has to force conscripts to fight

        • Mick Servian

          It’s a civil war dude.
          I know the US told you to repeat your narrative.
          But it is what it is.
          And i don’t care if Russia is helping to establish new states.

          • MichaelA

            russia isnt helping to establish new states
            it has never wanted lnr and dpr as separate states
            and no its not a civil war
            just a proxy war by russia against ukrainian people
            thats why ukrainian volunteers beat soft russian boys
            it is what it is

          • Mick Servian

            You’re deluded.
            If Russia really wanted war with Ukraine.
            Ukraine would be squashed in two weeks. Lol
            Only fools like u sidestep reality.

          • MichaelA

            russia tried
            and failed
            thats why it cant do anything except keep tens of thousands of troops in ukraine
            but it cant advance
            it hasnt gone anywhere since feb 2015
            last offensive at avdiivka was shot to bits

          • Mick Servian

            Russia doesn’t want to advance. It’s keeping with minsk accords.
            Dude. At least have a bit of a real conversation here.
            Russia would crush Ukraine in less than 2 weeks.
            Pretending it wouldn’t just makes you look stupid.
            Russian orientated Ukrainians don’t want to be part of this new Ukraine and go against their fellow brother.
            No. Ukraine can’t even deal with a few seperatists. Let alone a real country.

          • MichaelA

            of course russia wants to advance
            but it doesnt have the strength
            its conscripts arent up to it
            and its contact forces arent strong enough
            it tried earlier this year
            and got beaten up yet again
            russian oriented ukrainians are the strongest defenders against kremlin forces
            50000 russian soldiers in donbass and many more surrounding
            but they cant go anywhere

          • Mick Servian

            Hahahaha

          • Mick Servian

            You like soft boys don’t you?
            Hahaha

          • MichaelA

            i think its sad
            nothing prepared them for the reality of real fighting against committed volunteers

          • Mick Servian

            Yeah.
            That why Ukraine has won right?
            Nothing sadder than selling out to the next empire. And expecting Russia to sit still while strategic Crimea is turned into an US base.
            What idiot politicians do you have.

          • MichaelA

            there were never any plans to turn crimea into a us base
            yet more russian paranoia
            putin was angry that his puppet was thrown out
            even though it was his own fault
            so he tried to invade
            he got crimea through buying off the uki generals and admirals
            but as soon as he hit defenders the russian offensive failed
            eastern ukrainians did not want kremlin rule

          • Mick Servian

            No.
            Crimea not strategically important location.
            Ok then.
            Obviously unimportant like Kosovo or Spratly islands.
            Hahahaha

          • MichaelA

            lots of places are strategic locations
            i didnt say anything about that
            try reading my post before responding next time
            there were never any plans to turn crimea into a us base
            just more russian paranoia
            putin was angry that his puppet was rejected
            which threatened his path to transfer his funds to the west

          • Mick Servian

            Sorry but i stopped reading your bullshit a while ago.

          • MichaelA

            no you are reading it
            and you dont know how to respond

  • Laura Glynde

    Good job! i read an article on what dental hygienist do https://www.dentalhygienist.education/dental-hygienist-job-description-career-requirements/ and one of the stated services is offering free service to help other people. I salute every professional dentists who participated in this event!