Dental Volunteers Provide Free Dental Care to Hundreds of Children in Guatemala
Date: November 21, 2018
Date: November 21, 2018
Explore how eight dentists, three dental hygienists and four dental assistants made a life-changing impact for hundreds of families during an overseas outreach trip to Guatemala.
In a life-changing joint effort, eight dentists, three dental hygienists, four dental assistants and two support team members from Aspen Dental-branded practices and Global Dental Relief journeyed to Antigua, Guatemala with a unified mission to deliver crucial dental care and oral health education to more than 880 local school children. The mission is part of a joint effort to provide opportunities for care to the people who live in some of the world's most impoverished countries and marks the first time an Aspen Dental team has traveled to Guatemala.
"It's an amazing blessing to have the ability to take care of others and alleviate their pain. There were multiple instances in which a child would sit in my chair, and I would have to fight back tears," said Dr. Reham El-Hennawey, an endodontist from the Tampa, FL area. "These trips make a huge difference because not only are we helping the underserved communities at that moment in time, but hopefully educating them to be able to care for themselves in the future."
The team set up clinic in a local school where they treated hundreds of children and families over five days, often working more than 10 hours per day to ensure every patient was seen. While the team had access to working electricity and running water, the team still had to rely on head lamps, loupes and flashlights as there were sometimes minimal light options. The biggest challenge was the language barrier as many of the volunteers didn’t speak Spanish fluently. However, team leader Dr. Anita Imadomwanyi and practice owner Dr. Paul Pimentel are fluent in Spanish and were able to teach key phrases to the team so everyone could connect and communicate with patients.
The team delivered nearly 1,500 dental procedures to the children of Antigua, many having never seen a dentist before, greatly impacting their overall health to date. The assembled team of volunteers performed 596 fillings, 126 scaling and root planning procedures, 195 extractions and 488 fluoride varnishes, ensuring that the children could resume their daily lives pain-free and on the road to better overall health. Each child also received education on proper oral care to ensure that future complications are avoided.
"I thought we were going to help change the lives of these kids, but what I didn't know was how much they'd change mine," said Dr. Savannah Reynolds, Aspen Dental practice owner in Greenville, SC.