Open Wide Foundation, in concert with the municipality of Villa Nueva, launched their second annual Pediatrics week in the Peronia Open Wide Clinic during the week of September 29 through October 2nd.
Open Wide volunteers, Drs. Bergen James and Jennifer Yu along with their staff, made their second trip to provide hundreds of services to underserved children. The San Francisco team brought toys, balls, and art supplies to provide a playful diversion for the children waiting their turn for the dental chair.
More importantly they brought their expertise and big hearts to make a big difference.
More than 70% of families in Peronia and Villa Nueva cannot afford or have access to good dental care. The Open Wide Peronia Clinic is changing the lives of these families; children can now receive free or affordable dental care, preventive treatments and preventive education – all key to keeping young mouths healthy and avoiding the costly consequences of dental disease in the future.
During the week, the team saw 159 children between the ages of 3-12 and performed 331 dental procedures. In addition to the dental services, the team administered fluoride treatments and children were coached on the importance of taking care of their teeth; practicing brushing in front of mirrors while mothers, fathers, grandmothers and grandfathers observe and also receive instruction as to how to care for their children’s teeth.
Dr. Bergen James, organizer of the San Francisco team describes her experience.
“This is my second year at the Openwide clinic in Peronia and again, an amazing experience. The clinic is state of the art and incredibly organized and well run. The children are in such need. Many of them come in with all their baby molars decayed to the gum line and decay in their permanent teeth as well. This year we found a lot more children with teeth in need of repair instead of extractions, which was so nice to see. The kids walk into the clinic, sit in the chair, tell you where it hurts, all with out a parent being present. I can’t believe how many three and four year old children I was able to do a pulpotomy and stainless steel crown on without them moving or crying! More often than not they leave with a big smile on their numb little faces and a big “Gracias”. The mothers, waiting outside in anticipation, are gracious and so appreciative. There is no better feeling than knowing you have helped a child in need by getting them out of pain, saving a permanent tooth that might otherwise have to be extracted and just making their day a little more fun and happy knowing that someone cares about them. I think this is something every dentist needs to experience.”
On behalf of Open Wide, thank you Dr. James, Dr. Yu, and their wonderful team for a fantastic week. We look forward to seeing you back in Peronia next year!
OPEN HEARTS…BETTER FUTURES, help support the initiative to further the reach of oral care to Guatemalan children