Thursday, January 12, 2012

Dentistry at San Antonio Palopo

Today we had an early start to try to get through the list we had planned after screenings on Tuesday and Wednesday. The Mobile Dental Unit (seen in action in the Puesto de Salud at right) that Rotary so generously provided worked exceedingly well. We had a few start-up glitches, but overall the day went fairly smoothly. In the afternoon we had three no-shows in a row - not such an unusual occurrence - so we filled the spots with some walk-ins. Many people are keen to have the work done, but then get cold feet, or forget, or simply, for whatever reason, don't show up. Ursula (left in photo at right) from Santa Catarina was a great help all day long. I found standing all day on a concrete floor had its challenges. The room we are working in is extremely crowded, but you get what you get and make do.

Here's a close-up of the mobile dental unit. We keep the sterilizer in the room across the hallway, as there simply isn't room in the procedure room. The Puesto de Salud staff have accommodated us as best they can, given the very poor circumstances in San Antonio Palopo. We have seen some incredibly healthy sets of teeth, but many of the kids, who seem to enjoy a diet of coca cola and sweets, have horrendous teeth requiring several extractions. Maria's experience as a Dental Assistant has been invaluable to the team.

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