Paula Masters Cambodia

I recently travelled to Cambodia for 2 weeks with Dentaid The Dental Charity. A team of 11 of us volunteered from all over the UK including dentists, dental nurses, therapists and admin. We provided emergency dental care and oral health programmes to people who are in need. I successfully fundraised which enabled me to go and the amount covered my flights, accommodation and some meals.

Due to events of the last century in Cambodia, there are many people without access to affordable basic services including dental care.  Each of the trips is different and we could be the first dental professionals our patients have ever seen.

The first week we worked with the Cambodian-based charity One2One with some Cambodian dentists to provide basic dental care at a prison in Siem Reap. We managed to see 241 prisoners. We spent a lot of time with the Cambodian team and were taken to eat where the locals visit.  As you can imagine there wasn’t much Westernised food on offer so I did get to sample some crocodile, octopus and frog dishes!

The working conditions in the makeshift clinics were difficult due to the heat and humidity and the very basic equipment and instruments we had to use, but the team morale and the gratitude of the Cambodian people made it very rewarding. We had some free time at the end of the first week where we visited some temples at Angkor Wat to watch the sunrise and to learn about the history and cultural significance of these religious monuments.


The second week we travelled 3 hours to our second destination Poipet which is right on the border of Thailand. We worked with the charity Love Without Boundaries which is an international charity that provides help for vulnerable children and under-served communities through its education, nutrition, medical and foster care programmes.

We were based in 2 schools in rural areas over the week where we managed to see 285 children and 2 adults. We saw a total of 1585 decayed teeth with 1551 teeth fluoride varnished, 590 teeth fissure sealed, 68 filled and four extracted.  Oral health education is critical to the work in Cambodia and the children were given new toothbrushes that had been donated to many of us before we travelled.

I was lucky enough to fit in a visit to the Cambodia Elephant Sanctuary to spend time with elephants that have previously been used in the tourism or logging industries. The sanctuary provides a natural and comfortable environment for the elephants with areas of forest for them to roam freely and a river to bathe in.


My trip to Cambodia was an unforgettable experience both professionally and personally and is something I would definitely recommend. I loved every single minute of volunteering with Dentaid The Dental Charity and Simon Crewe Dentaid’s international clinical director who led the team was fantastic support for all of us.

Paula Masters – Dental Health Educator