Saturday, November 30, 2019

#Giving Tuesday: Protecting Tiny Teeth is... Within Our Reach

This #GivingTuesday, Protecting Tiny Teeth is... Within Our Reach.

In the first years after we moved to Nicaragua 25 years ago, I asked, “Where’s Pat?”

“She’s translating for a dental brigade in Roberto Clemente,” I was told.

“Pat?  She’s terrified of dentists!”

And sure enough, Pat returned home soon after.  She had fainted while shining a flashlight in the mouth of a patient getting a tooth pulled, which is the procedure most volunteer dentists and local dentists who worked with poor Nicaraguans do… they pull rotten teeth to give relief.  One right after another.

In our dental clinic we do so much more than extract teeth, in fact we do a great deal of preventive care… cleanings, fluoride, and sealants.  Out of our 8,688 dental procedures from Jan. - Oct. this year, 5,406 were preventive procedures or 62%, while only 10.3% were extractions, and of those an unknown amount was extracting primary teeth to make room for the permanent teeth.

Out of all the patients that came to our clinic, a little over 40% received cleanings…and amazingly enough over 10% of them received TWO cleanings…a cleaning every six months.

What does this mean?

Our dental clinic is making an impact on teaching people about good oral hygiene.  It means children and adults can keep their teeth.  It means that their over-all health will improve.

Unfortunately, we have not had toothbrushes, tooth paste, and dental floss to give to our patients.  Our dental supplies are getting low with only one or two delegations coming a year.

66% of all our dental patients are children under 12 years old…and most of these children are the poorest of the poor, who come from feeding centers run by ORPHANetwork all over the west coast of Nicaragua.  Help us help them.  


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