A DENTIST who has dedicated his retirement to helping improve third world tooth care has returned from his latest expedition.

David Daniels, of Forest Corner in Ringwood, set off to East Timor on July 2 with five fellow dentists to oversee and coach trainees in the war-ravaged country.

The trip, organised by the Rotary Club and charity Dentaid, saw the 77-year-old supervise fledgling dentists who had no previous clinical experience.

David said it presented a number of challenges, not least the language barrier, with Tetun the first language of many.

“There are a lot of subtleties to the treatments,” he added. “They had had no exposure to a clinical environment before.

“They tended to follow everything by rope – if it didn’t go one, two three etc then they were lost.”

However, armed with five wheelie bins filled with dental equipment, including a light, suction device and other tools, David feels the team were able to make a significant difference.

Between 200 and 300 patients were treated under his watchful eye during the course of the visit and he said he was delighted with the progress the protégés made.

“The students did examinations in schools as a practice under supervision,” he added.

“At the start some were terrible but after 12 days of our being there some were really quite competent.”

This will means thousands of people in the poverty-stricken region will now receive a standard of care for their teeth they otherwise would never have received.

David, who worked in Bournemouth for 45 years, has also visited the likes of Mongolia, Ethiopia and Brazil since retiring in 2005.