Micheal Oliver

Michael Oliver of Oliver’s Dental, Sunderland Talks About His 2012 Trip With Dental Mavericks 

Michael Oliver Dental MaverickJust imagine living with your family in an isolated fishing village with no dentists , a high sugar diet , no toothbrushes and no fluoride toothpaste. You don’t need to be a dentist to imagine the consequences, but the dental neglect shocks even the most experienced of this group of national dentists and their team.

Abscesses, pain and distress, parents of these children in Morocco are no different to any other around the world, they want help for their children.

Maybe a little pebble in a big pond but three years ago a group of dentists from around the UK came together to form the Dental Maverick charity to provide dental care in remote areas of the world.

Expanding significantly in 2012, the Mavericks numbered a team of 15, including 8 clinicians and their support staff of dental nurses and admin staff. Excited at the prospect of providing restorative fillings for the first time to complement the inevitable extraction work load the Mavericks met up in Southern Spain for the ferry journey to Morocco. Laden with a tremendous range of clinical equipment donated by incredible dental company generosity and public donation, dental care we take for granted headed for a North Africa desperate for the services of this western team.

Leaving behind a western lifestyle in Tarifa, Southern Spain, a forty-minute ferry journey took the team to a land that in places felt two hundred years behind us. The most richly scenic of countries, in the countryside the primitive Berber tribes folk of the Rif mountains can be seen tending their fields with animals, quite a culture shock for this iPad generation of dentists.

Michael Oliver Dental MaverickBizarrely the team’s plans were severely hindered on arrival in Morocco as the border agents refused to sanction the entry of previously cleared dental equipment. With a full team of dentists finding their trip in jeopardy, three days of official negotiations spread across the country , finally saw the team reunited with their supplies. The relief was enormous as the team were well aware of the children in the village and their reliance on our annual visit.

The trip started with a two-day trek around the Rif mountains as they rise from the city of Tetuan. The joy of the trek being the integration the team felt with the local people including an overnight stay in the home of a Moroccan family who kindly allowed 15 of us to sleep in their living room. Feeding us traditional Moroccan food cooked beautifully in a Tagine is a memory that will live long with those of us privileged enough to be there. Moroccans living a simple existence offering tremendous kindness to their Western visitors. I can’t imagine many families in Sunderland giving up their front rooms to 15 Moroccans knocking on their door !

The highlight of this trip like others before came as the team were welcome like long lost friends as we pulled up into the village. A remarkable show of affection for the dental team from some of the village seniors including ex mayor Reduan, the school headmaster Mustaffa and the owner of our base the three days we were in town. 

I will let the photographs tell the story of the uplifting experience felt by the whole team as we set about helping nearly 200 children with their dental pain. Nothing I do in my career comes close to the emotion I feel being part of this UK team helping children in genuine distress who rely on us as a sole source of dental care. 

Such lovely children, they lifted the whole team. The gratitude of the parents made it all worthwhile.

The whole school came out to say goodbye to the Mavericks’ team delighted to have overcome all the problems of the border and a team feeling justifiably proud of themselves. A job well done for another year.

Michael Oliver Dental MaverickAfter such an intense few days the team had earned themselves a couple of days of R and R as they travelled back through the Rif mountains with its stunning views to the beautiful city of Chefchaouen , the blue city in the mountains. A scary, and I mean scary, Land Rover journey up to 2500 m saw some of the team reunited with the legendary Abdul, host of the Hotel Azilane, a trekkers paradise in the high Rif.

Onwards with a trip back to the Moroccan border and that short ferry journey back to normality and a final night of celebration in Tarifa that will live long. It’s the nearest I will ever get to experiencing what it is like to be Doctor Who with a step back in time so engaging it leaves a mark on all of us fortunate enough to be part of Mavericks 2012.

Mali , Central Africa next year , maybe just maybe.

Watch this space but for now its back to being a dentist in Sunderland, offering emergency dentist services back home will never seem the same again. 

Special thanks for making this trip such a huge success….

Chris Woolley of Henry Schein and his company itself who donated phenomenal amounts of equipment at no charge and helped us ship hundreds of pounds worth of supplies to Spain.

My business manager at Olivers Dental Studio , Joanne Barella, who gave up endless amounts of her time in fundraising and organisation – a special person indeed.

The four new Mavericks this year, Mike, Amy, Gillian and dentist David who were inspirational, caring and above all became great friends of the team. Top people.

Maverick Chris Branfield who pulled the clinical side together for us, a tremendous feat in our field clinic in Africa. Brilliant effort Chris , it all worked seamlessly.

Mohammed our mountain guide for taking us into parts of the world few would ever have the privilege of seeing.

Domien, a Belgian who seems to know everyone in Spain, Africa and most of Europe come to think of it. A brilliant organiser, guide, translator and bunny rabbit. A wonderful man.

Finally, thanks to Tony Gedge and Cally Walker. They sowed the seed of the Mavericks, drove it on when many would have lost the energy and pulled the rest of us out of our little boxes of dental life.  Amazing people , generous and kind, driving us to experiences in life we would never have seen. The Mavericks salute you.

Michael Oliver, Oliver’s Dental, Sunderland

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I have just got back from a trip to Morocco with Dental Mavericks and had the most amazing experience! Everything was so well organised and felt really looked after by Cally and the team!
After being back home for 2 days after spending a week with dental mavericks the adrenaline is still flowing 😄 I don’t think you can appreciate the hard work everybody puts in with helping these children until you have tried it yourself. It’s a mission to help as many children as possible in the the time you have which in itself is a huge accomplishment and so very rewarding.The people who run this are absolutely amazing and make you feel so welcome 🤗 If anybody is hesitant about volunteering I’d say just do it because I then guarantee it wont be the last time😉 I will definitely be back x
So many gorgeous, happy faces. The best of times with the Mavericks team, working together was a privilege that shaped me. It was the honour of my life to be able to serve these beautiful children, helping them to smile again. I can’t wait to be back in the T-shirt again. Thank you to everyone on this trip, especially to the clinical yin to my yang Jas and to Michael who deserves credit for documenting all of these touching moments with his photography skills xxx#dentalcharity #dental #charity #dentaltherapist #dentalmavericks #morocco #volunteer
I was lucky to participate with this organized professional organisation.the team was lovely and so friendly, and i will recommend all the dentist to try this amazing experience,till the next one, see you soon team ❤️❤️😘😘.
It was great experience 🙂🙂🙂
What an amazing experience I had when I volunteered to help out on one of the trips to the Rif mountains with Dental Mavericks. This was the most exhilarating and rewarding thing I have ever done. I had never been to Morocco before so I was a little apprehensive about what to expect, but I can honestly say that with all of the organisation and planning that the Dental Mavericks team do (Cally Gedge and Kerri Geddes) I need not have been worried, I was in safe hands! We took the ferry over to Tangier and then travelled on to Chefchouene where we stayed for 3 days. I helped out with the oral hygiene, applying the flouride to the children and sitting with them after they'd had extractions. I was amazed at how brave these children are. If I ever have the opportunity of returning then I wouldn't hesitate. Thank you Team Dental Mavericks, the work you do is amazing xx
Every year at MPOD we have a competition, the prize is a fully paid trip to collaborate with one of Dental Mavericks’ projects. Being the newest addition to the team, you can imagine the surprise when my name was the one picked out of the bag. But even more surprising was the destination of the trip that Cally told me a bit later: Lebanon.I didn’t know much about this country, and most of the news from there is related to refugees. Anyway, upon arrival we received a warm welcome from Basima and her relatives. We were to spend the next week at her house and from the minute we set foot inside we were made to feel part of the family. My task on the trip was to take pictures, so I was able to observe as much as I wanted. What I saw was a country in a really harsh situation, but with people resolved not to lose their smiles or their will to improve their situation.During the trip we visited several places. A school founded by an NGO focused on Syrian refugee kids’ education. The clinic, where the professional team of Gina (nurse) and Anna (dentist), the two other volunteers, would perform treatments to anyone in need showing up at the door. And an orphanage, full of buzzing kids playing around, laughing and eager to get a picture of themselves.In all these places I found nothing but kindness and gratitude. From the kids, from the teachers, from the patients and from the people involved on the project. I can’t recommend the experience enough to anyone willing to help and ready to receive a dose of reality.
WELL... where do I begin?! 🤯 I can genuinely say that this trip has been AMAZING from start to finish. Every moment, every second. 💫 I had no idea what to expect but it has surpassed any expectation I ever could have had. I’ve learned so much 🥰 I have met people who are truly beautiful inside and out that have fully embraced me, I have seen a different way of life and can only hope to see more of and continue to learn about in the future. The work ethic of these people is like nothing I have ever come across before. 👏🏽 I will forever be thankful for this opportunity can not wait for more in the future. 🙏🏼 A special thank you to Gina Louise Goddard Cally Gedge Amin and Manar for everything this week from making me feel so comfortable to having me belly laughing all day long. My heart belongs to you dentistry and the dental mavericks particularly! ♥️
After my second trip to Morocco with DM I’m so proud to be part of such an amazingly dedicated team working tirelessly to achieve valuable life changing treatments for all those kiddies in dental pain, and setting new goals for sustainability in future generations!www.dentalmavericks.org
Amazing experiece would recommend anyone to do it
Wow. So proud of this team. Worked so hard for our patients and each other. Humble enough to learn from each other and grow. Now, there’s a recipe for success. Worked side by side with my son as a clinician. Got back last night from my 14th Dental Maverick expedition. Up in remote, rural villages in the Rif mountains of Morocco getting kids out of daily pain, giving oral health education, preventive fluoride therapy and enough toothpaste and tooth brushes for the foreseeable future. 1600 benefactors!!!We sponsored a football tournament organised by Rif Com to build bridges and develop trust. This is really good for the soul. I’ve done a good few of these now but this was the best. If you want to get involved message me or go to www.dentalmavericks.org. It just might change your life. It did mine. And those of the kids. HERE’S TO MAKING A DIFFERENCE!!!https://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/…/finalCharityHomepage.act…
Hello everyone! I have just returned from 7 days in Morroco 🇲🇦 working within Asni alongside the Dental Mavericks. Wow what can I say what a rewarding and life changing experience! I couldn’t have wished for a nicer group of people I was working alongside an also the local village people were very welcoming an very friendly an very much respected what the Dental Mavericks team have helped them with ending their daily dental pain. I would totally recommend taking part in this project. I didn’t want to come back! I will be returning next year!! 😘😘
I have just returned from a week in Asni,Morocco with the Mavericks and can honestly say its has been such a rewarding experience.I was part of an amazing group and we all got on so well we did not want to leave. The Asni community was full of wonderful people and they were all very appreciative of our time in the village getting them out of dental pain. 🥰Looking forward to helping on another project with you next year
having done 4 trips with Mavericks I can say hand on heart no ome will regret going on a adventure with themchanges lives including your own for the better and make amazing friends and memories !!! come on join our family xx
Had an incredible time as part of Project Essaouira, Morocco 2019... one of the most rewarding experiences I’ve ever done and I miss it already. It was the dream team, thank you for looking after us so well 😊❤️
We were privileged to spend 2 weeks in Lebanon Bekka Valley with DentalMavericks. It was an eye opening experience to work with refugees and children.DentalMavericks provides an important role providing dental care for the most disadvantaged group in this area. Well done.We wish you all the best. 🙂
Last week I finished the project with DM in Bekka Valley. Since day 1 I got so much love and support from Cally, other volunteers and the team on the ground (not to forget Kerry who helped organise everyhting before the trip) The only downside could be you fall in love with Lebanon and can’t wait to go back.
Recently returned from my first trip to Asni Morocco ( but won't be my last ).The Dental Mavericks are a well run charity, everything about the trip was organised and I felt very well supported by Cally and all her team. If you are looking for a rewarding trip, outside of your comfort zone but one which is an amazing, humbling experience then you should definitely sign up
Amazing amazing AMAZING experience. I loved every minute, I would recommend it to anyone! Kerri did an amazing job for her first solo trip with a group and it was just nothing I have ever experienced. The people are lovely and are so appreciative of you being there. Working with Richard and becoming a dental nurse was wonderful and just made me want to become a dental nurse even more than before! I would definitely go back and would recommend in anyone into going! Thank you dental mavericks for an amazing trip and an experience of a life time!
Keep up the good work !! Proud of Your amazing work
I’ve been involved with Dental Mavericks for 5 years and have recently come back from my 5th project in the Rif Mountains. Over the years I’ve worked with people from all walks of life from all over the world, people who have one purpose while on these projects, to take these beautiful children out of daily dental pain. Ive made some awesome friends. It's the most incredible and fulfilling experience that I've ever been involved with and an absolute privilege to work with such inspirational people and to call myself a Maverick. Thank you Dental Mavericks for the opportunity x
It's the most incredible and fulfilling experience that I've ever got involved in. I'm so grateful that I was given the opportunity to join the Dental Mavericks, and I can't wait to go back!
What an absolute privilege for our NZ team of dental volunteers to join the Dental Mavericks in Morocco. They are a fabulous group, passionate about sparking positive and lasting change, for the Moroccan community's we worked in. If you want to add some fun and real meaning to your travels, get involved it will change you forever. �
Dental Mavericks have given me a wonderful life changing experience to work alongside them in the Bekaa Valley in Lebanon. This is a fantastic opportunity for any Dental Professional to become involved with. It opened my eyes to the harsh reality of such huge numbers of displaced refugees. In my ignorance, I previously thought of them as homeless and poor, rather than of who they are professionally before they found themselves in the circumstances they are currently in today. Having experienced day to day life in a refugee camp, it made me connect fully with the people and gave me an understanding and awareness I wouldn't have gained otherwise. I would therefore like to thank the Dental Mavericks team for a fantastic experience that cannot be gained by simply reading about it alone. I thoroughly recommend this to anyone considering volunteering for such an amazing cause.