Our Dental Program
In our dental program this year we have made large strides due to several visits by dentists and dental students, as well as donations of much needed equipment. A completely portable battery-operated dental unit, which can be transported on mule back from village to village, was obtained by Dr. Pieter Dahler, who himself raised most of its cost. Recently, we have also had a donation of $7500.00 worth of dental equipment from Dr. Philip Rasori of Palo Alto.
As most visits by the dental profession have been short term, many dentists have felt their biggest contribution is to further train the two village boys who already extract teeth and who learned the rudiments of drilling and filling from Dr. Dahler last summer. Dr. Charles Woesner, first dentist to fly down with Dr. McKean, worked beautifully with 17-year-old Miguel Mánjarrez, taught him many techniques, and filled him with such confidence and enthusiasm that it gave the boy just the push he needed to convince him to apprentice for village dentist. This encouragement was further extended by the 7-man team of dentists, dental students and oral hygienists from the U.S.C. Mobile Dental Clinic. By the time the team left, Miguel Mánjarrez with 15 year-old Miguel Alvarez assisting him, had developed enough skill and confidence to perform the entire job of drilling and filling. Since then they have sometimes worked alone doubtless they have made mistakes - but a few mistakes can be afforded when filling teeth which would otherwise be pulled (by they same boys, of course).
We have also had a donation of $7500.00 worth of dental equipment from Dr. Philip Rasori
This summer, while two dental students recruited from the U.C. Dental School in San Francisco took over the Ajoya dental clinic, Miguel Mánjarrez went to Cincinnati, Ohio, where he learned to take dental impressions with Dr. William McLaughlin and make dentures at the greater Cincinnati Dental Lab. Sa far, none of the visiting dentists have offered these services, needed by many a toothless client. With his new training, and a little on-the-job practice, Miguel should be able to provide a patient with a full good-quality denture for as little as 100 pesos ($8 U.S.) … and still make a modest salary for himself. †
† Services and medicines at our clinics are free, but for one peso (8 cents) “contributions” which go into a fund help cover emergency aid outside the area. However it is only reasonable that the village youth, when they finish apprenticing and provide services by themselves should earn enough to live.