In Guatemala, the average annual income is the equivalent of $800.00 and 80% of the population live in extreme poverty. Access to good dentistry like Crowns or Implants is simply limited to the small percentage of the population that have the means to pay for it, leaving the great majority of people without dental care. So, when a tooth falls out due to lack of dental care, there are no options to replace it. That’s just life in Guatemala.
Until on January 7th, 2016 something pretty remarkable happened to offer hope. SPEAR Open Wide Foundation, in collaboration with local non-profit “Build a Smile Guatemala”, celebrated the opening of the CEREC Crowns & Implants Center in Guatemala City. In attendance were local mayors and other governmental officials, dental university representatives, our Open Wide Peronia clinic staff Dr. Stephanie Lambour and Dr. Rodrigo Davila, as well as Open Wide Board Member and Guatemalan Liaison Evelyn Paiz, Esq.
The newly inaugurated CEREC & Implants Center is a big deal in Guatemala. The clinic will exclusively be used to provide affordable crowns and implants to patients coming from all Open Wide Clinics throughout Guatemala and other under-served populations. Additionally it will serve as a CEREC crowns training ground for local dentists and dental students from two local dental universities. An important component of the center’s success will be the work of our Open Wide U.S. CEREC-specialist volunteers who will have an opportunity to teach the technology to local practicing dentists and dental students.
Local oral surgeon, Miguel Angel Valdez DDS, founder of “Build a Smile Guatemala” and President of Guatemala Dental Society and his partner, Dr. Archila, are donating the clinic space located in the beautiful “Euro Plaza” building in Zone 14 of Guatemala City. The four operatory clinic has the distinction of being the only ADA approved clinic in Guatemala.
The new CEREC center is also exciting for Open Wide. The bedrock of the the Open Wide Foundation, poised to celebrate it’s 4th year in Guatemala, is sustainability. It’s mission is to work in concert with local government and community leaders to set up permanent clinics in areas where there is no access to dental care, to mentor and financially support the clinics for the first five years and then transfer the responsibility into the ready hands of the communities to run the clinics for the long term.
Open Wide knows that sustainability involves training, mentoring, and teaching good dental practices, techniques, materials and technology in the clinics and in the dental schools. It means putting the importance of oral health on the radar for government and community leaders.That’s why CEREC Crowns & Implants Center is so groundbreaking. Open Wide and it’s Guatemalan partners are ensuring that the next generation of dentists will be able to use the CEREC crowns milling technology to bring permanent change to the scope of dentistry in Guatemala.