Three dentists and a periodontist from California and Washington provided a dental clinic on March 26 & 27, 2009. Almost 100 patients, that do not otherwise have the resources to receive good dental care, were provided with fillings, necessary extractions and instructions in dental hygiene.
It was the first trip for one dentist and an assistant but the other three dentists and one assistant were returning volunteers.
One young man was suffering from excessive staining on his teeth and was considering having them extracted. Through the intervention of one of the volunteer dentists, he left the clinic with a beautiful smile and white teeth.
The Friday clinic was devoted almost entirely to the Mennonite population. One volunteer speaks “Plautdietsch” and has worked with APNMI and the Mennonite population for over two years scheduling their appointments and translating. His wife also volunteers and helps with the cleaning, preparing food and serving the meals to the team.
The Mennonite children played happily in the therapy gym as they waited for their turn.
Family volunteer participation is encouraged and many times the dentists bring their spouses or children to help during the clinic; three family groups were part of the team. The periodontist brought his wife and two daughters and they gave valuable help sterilizing the instruments, running errands and providing other services as well. (Please see the articles on Nutrition and the Food Distribution Service Project).
One father and daughter team enjoyed spending time together as they worked, did some sight-seeing and traveled together.
Another of the dentists brought his daughter to assist him and his son-in-law served as a Spanish translator.
The dentist that organized the March 2009 team helps with clean-up at the end of the clinic.
The clinic was a great success and we look forward to another visit by the team in a year.