The “dental component” of Operation Walk Canada, November 2018, Antigua Guatemala was the most effective session in the three years that I have been participating in this program.
Some of the major contributors to this year’s session included but were not limited to 3M Canada, Oral Science, Patterson Dental, Sinclair Dental, and various generous dental colleagues from London Ontario.
The need for current materials that have the highest therapeutic effect was met in large part by 3M Canada and Oral Science. The latest versions of both Glass Ionomer Cements and Resin materials supplied by 3M and Silver Diamine Fluoride provided by Oral Science allowed us to treat many children in a much more conservative fashion rather than having to exclusively extract all carious teeth, no matter how small the lesion.
Given the language barrier that presented itself, since I do not speak Spanish, the contribution made by Ms. Karla Perry was amazing. Karla is a registered nurse from Prescott Arizona that offered her services to Operation Walk Canada as a dental assistant this year. Besides her clinical skills the fact that she spoke fluent Spanish was a bonus that I could not have otherwise anticipated. The impact she had on this year’s clinical sessions was profound, compassionate, and incredible. We also had the luxury of having a more spacious and better outfitted clinic this year.
This year, in the four clinical days that we provided dental care, we saw 46 patients. 22 of them were boys and 24 of them were girls. The ages of our 46 patients ranged from 3 to 13 years old. Most of the children were under seven years of age and there was a significant number of children under the age of five.
There were 256 dental procedures completed. This did not include the actual dental examination and diagnosis. Most of the procedures we completed included but were not limited to 55 extractions 127 fillings, along with sealants, x-rays, and periodontal procedures. It should be noted that all of the procedures were completed with the use of local anesthesia alone since we did not have the facility, supplies or manpower to provide any kind of sedation or General Anesthesia to complete some very complicated dental procedures on some very anxious children.
The generous appreciation shown by the local caregivers and parents of the children was incredibly heartwarming, rewarding and fulfilling.
Plans are already in place for next year’s trip.