Guyana 2019 ISE Dental Mission Report submitted to the ICD USA Section Foundation:
I would like to provide you with a report of our recent dental mission to Kwakwani, Guyana. I will provide you with data from the current clinic which was held March 9-14, 2019. As well as some historical data, with this being our 16th annual dental trip to provide free dental care, education, equipment etc.
The 2019 dental team included 31 people. There were eight dentists, including one dental specialist (endodontics), one adjunct with The University of Michigan, School of Dentistry and one Ferris State Dental Hygiene clinical dentist, three dental hygienists, 16 dental hygiene students, three dental assistants, and a nurse.
The first day was a little light in the morning as Kwakwani’s celebration of the national holiday was the night before. That morning Dr. William Holder and his nurse Torres came to be trained on a brand new Cavitron Plus ultrasonic. Dr. Shameer Ali, dean of the Cheddi Jagan Dental School, had requested if possible, the team provide a new ultrasonic for the Kwakwani Hospital dental clinic. Funds were secured for the Cavitron and tips, which cost $4,000.00. Dr. Holder and nurse Torres were trained on set up, use and maintenance. Dr. Holder took the unit Monday to the hospital and then on Tuesday Dr. Hodges went to the hospital to install the unit directly to the dental chair.
Besides the $4000.00 equipment gift, sterilization pouches were brought at Dr. Holders request and left-over supplies were provided.
The team worked 64.5 hours during the week which is a donation of almost 1995.5 man-hours. There were over 550 patients treated. Almost 500 dental cleanings were provided and each were treated with fluoride varnish. Because there were no national school exams a total of 263 dental sealants were placed on the children treated. Almost 500 dental restorations were done including over 775 surfaces. There were 49 endodontically treated teeth. Some teeth were beyond repair and 191 permanent and primary teeth were removed. We bring with the team the most up to date, sterilization unit and process. As well as digital radiographs. As a team, we have always tried very hard to first provide dental education through the dental cleanings addressing sweet drinks, frequencies, etc. Then we tried to instill the importance of Oral Hygiene Instructions, especially to the mothers. We bring supplies to restored every tooth that we can. We were able to restore 2.6 to 1 the number of teeth removed. The conservative total of dental services provided in US dollars from our region was $323,000. The funds required to secure the equipment, supplies, team travel, etc. was over $60,000 for a total of over $383,000.
Looking back at the last 15 years:
8253 patients treated
6941 dental cleanings
6189 dental restorations
1588 dental sealants
2941 dental extractions
503 endodontic treatments
Others, radiographs, fluoride treatments, etc.
$3,572,421 in dental services (based on Michigan dental fees)
$700,000 travel, equipment, supplies, donations
Total of over $4,272,421
The team included 31 people including 16 Ferris State University dental hygiene students. Many dental mission trips just focus on extractions, but we have always focused on Education, Oral Hygiene (that's where the hygiene do great) and then restoring as many teeth as we can.
For example, our philosophy can be seen in a short story from one trip a number of years ago, Dr. David Hosking joined the team and we both took a son. Dr. Hosking's son Michael was doing some research with the poison dart frog which some species inhabited Guyana where we were going. Mike shared this story when he had asked me to write a letter of recommendation for his application to Graduate Endodontics. So one morning a young lady 16 years of age was seated in his dad’s dental chair in Guyana and she was crying. Mike thought he would try to reassure her a bit. But during the conversation, he found out she was crying because she had come to the dentist this morning expecting to get her upper front tooth removed. This would mean a life affected by lower self-confidence, smiling and talking with a handheld over your mouth trying to not show your missing front tooth/teeth. Other issues like employment, finding a spouse, etc. factor into such a decision. At that time the primary treatment of any government dentist was to remove your tooth. If you did not want to remove your tooth, they would put a temporary in until it hurt bad enough you would elect to remove it or it would crumble. Mike’s dad and I teamed up to provide I believe three anterior root canals and replaced all the black decayed teeth with nicely matching composite filling. When the young lady was shown in a hand mirror the results. She started crying again. Instead of receiving the traditional removal of a painful tooth and future of challenges, she had a different life, one with a beaming smile and future of dreams. This event was so impactful not only for the lady but for Mike. He changed his focus, was accepted to The University of Michigan dental school and then went on to become and endodontists
In the pics on the second page of the report, you will see myself on the left with that navy ICD scrub shirt I had bought in Hawaii. On the right in the maroon (photo #7 in gallery) is Dr. Steve Hall who was inducted last year into the ICD. As the report notes, we donated a brand new Cavitron to the Hospital.
We trust we will be able to continue this annual dental mission trip.
Scott J. Hodges, DDS, MS