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25th World Congress on Dentistry and Oral Health

London, UK

Hollie Hawrot & Kevin Lan

Hollie Hawrot & Kevin Lan

Floating Doctors, Panama

Title: Floating doctors-the work and goals of the Dental team working with the Ngobe-Bugle populations in Panama


Biography: Hollie Hawrot & Kevin Lan


The Ngobe-Bugle populations, who are indigenous to Panama, are the largest of the three indigenous groups. Historically, they had limited contact with dental professionals and therefore, have received minimal oral health education and treatment. Floating doctors is a non-profit organization, which has a dental program that aims to improve the oral health of this population. Floating doctor’s dental health program has been running for four years and focuses on oral health education, prevention and holistic dentistry to improve the quality of life of the Ngobe-Bugle people. As the Ngobe-Bugle population is divided into multiple communities in different locations, floating doctors travels remotely by boat to 26 different locations on a three monthly basis. Mobile dental equipment is taken to the communities and extractions, restorations, stainless steel crowns and preventative treatment is provided. Furthermore, oral health education and the provision of personal oral hygiene products are fundamental in the services we provide. Since starting the dental program, floating doctors has seen an improvement in the oral health of both children and adults due to improved access and regular reviews. However, over recent years refined sugar and sugar-containing products have become much more easily accessible to these populations and presents a significant problem, much like many parts of the western world. The aim of floating doctors is to continue with the services we currently provide, but most importantly to reiterate oral health education and preventative advice so that the positive effects of this dental program can be experienced by generations to come.