Creating smiles for Honduras

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Creating smiles for Honduras

Left, Dr. Arun Srinivasan on a dental mission to Honduras. (Photo: Aspen Dental)
By Aspen Dental

By Aspen Dental

Mon. 9 May 2016


At Aspen Dental practices, we are bringing quality care to communities that need it most. From small towns to city suburbs, and everywhere in between. Last year, Aspen Dental clinicians and seven team members traveled to Honduras to provide free dental care to more than 500 people in desperate need. Here is Dr. Arun Srinivasan’s account:

“We were, quite literally, on a mission, knowing only a small portion of the population has access to health services, including dental care.

“Working out of makeshift ‘dental offices’ in Plan Grande, San Jose and Yoro – and with the help of our great partner, Honduras Hope – we treated Hondurans ranging in age from 5 to 75. It was heartbreaking to see the condition of the teeth and mouths that we saw, especially in the young people, but it was so rewarding to give many Hondurans at least a fighting chance for a healthier future.

“The children were so strong as most had never seen a dentist. A 7-year-old girl came to our clinic – alone. She needed to have extractions. She started crying inconsolably, not knowing what was ahead. I tried calming her down and suggested she sit off to the side for a few minutes. I fully expected her to leave, but she came back to our makeshift dental chair about 10 minutes later, tears still streaming down her face, and she let us do what we had to do. Unforgettable. Those kinds of stories repeated themselves every day.

“There was a boy, around 9 or 10, who lived in the mountaintop village of San Jose. One of our hygienists did his cleaning and said the boy had carious lesions in his front teeth. She brought him over for fillings. Unfortunately, the cavity in one of his teeth was into the pulp. Once the boy realized he needed his front tooth pulled he started bawling. Our hygienist felt terrible, but she realized that it couldn’t have come at a better time because we were there to help, before an infection or pain set in, while he had access to dental care. The next day he was around the clinic and you could see in his face that he was so appreciative of our help. He gave our hygienist, Tiffany, a big hug. I don’t think she’ll ever forget it.

“A little girl in Yoro just loved hanging out with us in the clinic – this time it was a converted beauty salon. The team gave her a fun sticker and she never wanted to leave our side. We took pictures with her and she wanted to hold our phones so she could pretend to take more. She couldn’t get enough of us and hung out at the clinic for the two days we were there.

“One of our dental assistants said a young girl simply asked to hold her hand so she’d feel better during her treatment.

“Teaching the kids the correct way of brushing their teeth and the importance of oral health was such a rewarding experience. The children of Plan Grande were so excited to get toothpaste and toothbrushes. It was such a simple thing, but it meant so much to them.

“We overcame challenging working conditions – no running water, no electricity — long hours and a five-hour hike up a mountain. None of those challenges deterred us. We came to Honduras on a mission, with a job to do, and we achieved our goals. This mission strongly reinforced the overwhelming need for the care we provide. To restore a healthy smile and relieve a patient from pain is a reward you can’t describe. Whether we are traveling to a third-world country or working in our Aspen Dental practices in the United States, one thing is clear: We are always on a mission to give people a healthier mouth.”

(Source: Aspen Dental)


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