Nick’s journeyto fix teeth out in Malawi

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A dentist says he has “pulled out more teeth in two weeks than I would in two years” after returning from a trip to Malawi.

Nick O’Donovan, who lives in Tingley and works at Dewsbury Dental Centre, found his services were in high demand as he set up a temporary practice for a fortnight on a visit to Southern African country.

Nick, 43, said that it was simply “something he always wanted to do”.

He said: “The state of their teeth was quite poor. They all just chew sugar cane over there.

“Decay in the top front teeth is quite common.

“In most cases I managed to make sure their teeth were fixed or out.

“They very rarely get to see a dentist - I think there’s a travelling one that passes through the area once every three months.

“By the Thursday evening I had 200 people queueing round the corner and I’d run out of local anaesthetic.”

It took three flights and a six hour bus ride for Nick to get to his final destination of Bulala - a small village in the west of the country.

Throughout his visit, he kept a diary of his adventure which documented his disrupted journeys, his problems with fever and Malawians’ attitude to dentistry.

In one entry, dated June 29, he wrote: “Bulalans seem content with their decayed, smashed and wobbly teeth as long as they don’t hurt. When they hurt they want rid.”

“They are a tough lot here. We got none of the antics carried out by patients in the UK. There was no anxiousness or fear from both young and old. There was no need for “ Tell, Show, Do” - they just lay back and let you get on with it both young and old. They were so easy to treat and so grateful when they left.”

Nick’s trip concluded with a well-earned rest at Lake Malawi before he headed home to continue his work.