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A Focus on Guatemala Family Development's Dental Team

Dentistry is an integral part of the services provided by our team in conjunction with Fundenor in Guatemala. Given the poor diets, lack of dental hygiene instruction and access to professional care, the people we serve suffer from an incredible number of dental anomalies and disease. Due to the remoteness of the areas we serve and lack of follow up care, extraction of grossly decayed, non-restorable teeth, is the primary service the Dental Team can offer. The Dental Team, typically around 5 members, have averaged 400 extractions during a typical 5 clinical day mission trip over the last 5 years. A three-dentist team made up of 2 general dentists and a pediatric specialist seems to work well.

Two essential members provide the sterilization and administrative help to make all this possible. In addition the dental team works with Fundenor to provide toothbrushes, toothpaste and most importantly instruction for proper use throughout the remainder of the year to hopefully reduce the need for more invasive treatment when we are there.

The team has also worked with and supported groups of dental students from Guatemala City by training them on how to deliver care in remote areas. This is a very rewarding part of what we do. It is so fulfilling to have those Doctors, after completing their training, return to assist our dental team in providing treatment. The relationships formed between team members and those we work with and treat are the most satisfying part of these journeys. We all will agree that no matter how much or little care we provide these relationships are what keeps us coming back. The long-term support to maintain the financial health of Fundenor is critical to continue this vital ministry so important to those who receive and provide care.

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