Dental Program
Program Overview

About the Program

The East Meets West Dental Program addresses the serious adverse health effects of dental disease by improving the oral hygiene of disadvantaged children in central Vietnam. According to the World Health Organization, dental disease is the most common ailment on the planet, with over 5 billion people suffering from its effects.
In Vietnam, over 70% of the population live in rural areas where access to direct dental services is extremely limited and village government clinics are often understaffed and poorly equipped. Poor oral health can have a profoundly negative effect on general health and quality of life. Children who suffer from this painful disease often have difficulty eating, talking, sleeping and growing properly.
The EMW Dental Program has operated the EMW Dental Clinic in Da Nang since 1996. Program operations are managed by National Dental Coordinator Tran Thi Minh Huong, with Dr. Charles F. Craft serving as Senior Advisor.  The ten-member Vietnamese dental team works side by side with volunteer dentists, hygienists, assistants and dental students from around the world to provide free dental services to thousands of poor children every year in central Vietnam.

Program History

The concept for the East Meets West Dental Program was originated in 1995 by Dr. Charles F. Craft, a dentist working with the US Public Health Service in Alaska. It was his vision to create a community-based charity project for disadvantaged children in Vietnam based on the prinicipals of international public health dentistry. The first dental clinic was assembled through the donation of several large shipments of equipment and supplies from the United States. A group of international volunteers then assisted Dr. Craft in hiring a local Vietnamese dental staff and training them in the use of modern dental equipment, proper patient techniques and international safety standards.  
The original clinic opened in April 1996 near Da Nang Beach and Marble Mountain, with a three-member team providing emergency, corrective and preventive services to about 2,500 needy children per year. As funding and support for the program grew, the equipment was upgraded and additional staff were hired. In December 2000, the team moved into a new clinical office located at the Tuong Lai School for Disabled Children in Da Nang City. By 2004, the program had treated over 25,000 patients and an ambitious three-year expansion program was undertaken. In December 2011, the 100,000th patient was seen. Currently over 103,000 children have received nearly 300,000 free dental services with a humanitarian value of over $20 million.

Key Services

The East Meets West Dental Program is divided into three separate operations:  a modern dental clinic, a school dental trailer and a rural outreach project that utilizes portable field equipment. The clinic serves as a training center for our staff and students and specializes in providing complete restorative care for special needs children. The dental trailer focuses on prevention and education services for primary school students, while the outreach program provides emergency treatment to rural residents with no access to care.

Our program is outfitted with modern imported dental equipment, instruments and supplies donated by hospitals, dental companies and individuals from around the world. It features six ADEC dental units,  Midwest fiberoptic high- and low-speed handpieces, ADEC dental chairs, Aseptico dental lights, Siemens fixed and Nomad portable X-Ray units, a Gimad developer, an intraoral camera system, dry heat, autoclave, kavoclave and Statim sterilizing machines, ultrasonic cleaning and scaling units, curing lights, amalgamators, portable air compressors, electrical transformers/stabilizers, two portable power generators and a clinical and laptop computer system.

The EMW Dental Program provides children with a full range of modern dental care including: oral examinations and treatment planning, x-rays, cleaning and scaling, flouride varnish applications, preventive sealants, alloy and resin restorations, primary pulpotomiess and root canals, extractions, medications and oral hygiene education. Each procedure is performed with the strictest standards of infection control. All care is given with great compassion and cultural sensitivity.


Each year some 100 dentists, hygienists, assistants and dental students from a variety of foreign countries volunteer with the EMW Dental Program,  providing free dental care to the children of Vietnam. Volunteers typically stay for 10-14 days and work initially in the Da Nang clinic and school dental trailer where they are familiarized with our school-age patients and program guidelines.

Volunteers may then accompany the dental staff on outreach trips to rural children's centers or village schools, often to remote sites throughout Quang Nam Province and other areas of central Vietnam where the need for dental care is the greatest. Outreach dental teams can have 20 or more members and usually set up a temporary clinic in a school or community building where hundreds of children can be seen each day. Volunteers help pack up the portable gear and transport it to the site. A typical trip lasts five to six days and offers dental service to children who may never have seen a dentist before.

Find out more about volunteering with the EMW Dental Program.


In addition to the children served in rural areas on outreach trips, many special needs children receive regularly sheduled care at the EMW Da Nang Dental Clinic. These disadvantaged children may be sight- or hearing-impaired, physically handicapped, mentally challenged, orphaned or living on the streets. EMW Dental has partnerships with a variety of nonprofit groups, including the Dai Loc Orphanage, Tam Ky Orphanage, Hoi An Orphanage, Thanh Tam Handicapped Center, SOS Orphanage, Tien Phuoc Orphanage, Village of Hope, Red Cross Foundation, Hai Chau Love House, Danang Street Childrens Center, Tuong Lai Disabled School and the Nguyen Dinh Chieu School for the Blind.

Cost Effectiveness

The EMW Dental Program treats over 10,000 patients  annually and provides over 40,000 free dental services with a humanitarian value of over $2 million.  The program operates on an annual budget of approximately $100,000, with funds raised from individual donors and several grant-making organizations. 75% of the budget goes to staff salaries and the rest for overhead costs. Almost all dental equipment and supplies are donated. The program receives over $250,000 of in-kind goods and services each year from individuals, companies and volunteers. These donations greatly help EMW keep our costs down during difficult economic times.

The average cost to provide dental care to a single child in central Vietnam for one year is only $10 through the East Meets West Dental Program. You can make an online donation to the Dental Program today!

Contact the Dental Program

EMW Dental Program
269 Nui Thanh St
Hoa Cuong Bac Ward
Hai Chau District
Da Nang City, Vietnam

Tel: 84-511-362-4222/4224
Fax: 84-511-362-7568

National Program Coordinator Tran Thi Minh Huong
U.S. Dental Representative Mel Potter




"I’ve never seen such an incredibly professional team of people with such good hearts."

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East Meets West

1611 Telegraph Ave., Suite 1420, Oakland, CA 94612
Tel: 1-800.561.3378  |  Tel: 510-763-7045  |  Fax: 510-763-6545

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