This project provides dental care and promotes oral health for Artsakh refugees, displaced families, children, soldiers, and vulnerable populations in Armenia. It was started by a Registered Dental Hygienist named Maria Avakyan-Antonarakis. During a recent 4-week volunteer mission to Armenia, Ms. Avakyan-Antonarakis provided dental hygiene procedures and sponsored urgent dental treatments to children, soldiers, and refugee families from Artsakh following the 2020 war.
Armenia’s worsening economic situation, post-war political instability, and the recent influx of refugees from Artsakh have left many people unable to afford and access health care. Due to poor oral hygiene and oral health education in Armenia, most children are present with multiple tooth decay and are in chronic pain from an abscess and other dental complications. Many of them are losing at least 4 to 5 permanent adult teeth by the age of 15.
The owner of Klanse Dental Clinic in Yerevan, Lazar Yessayan, has generously provided facilities and other dental materials necessary for dental treatment and education about dental hygiene. Ms Avakyan-Antonarakis will continue to lead this project and provide periodic pro bono services. In addition, with a monthly budget of $600, the project will pay the salary for three dentists – two from a Shushi dental clinic – to treat refugee families and children in need of dental care. The Dental Care 4 Artsakh project can save hundreds of teeth each month at the same cost as one dental implant in Armenia – $600.
In just one month of operation, we treated close to one hundred patients. We plan to welcome more dental providers to collaborate with us on emergency dental care. Eventually, our project aims to provide regular dental care and oral hygiene to families affected by the war in Artsakh. Our goal is to bring a healthy smile for all Artsakh.