March 2013

Recently, Paraguay International Outpost leaders Judah Mooney and Dr. Samuel Avalos headed a dental team consisting of Dr. Daniel Enciso, a dental assistant and five volunteers who traveled to the city of Capiata, 45 minutes from Asunción, Paraguay’s capital, to provide dental care for  about 150 youngsters and teens living at the Unidos por Cristo Children’s Home.

These kids come from extreme poverty and difficult situations and many have very poor oral health. In fact, the home’s newest residents have never received dental care in their lives. Because the cost of dental care in Paraguay is relatively expensive, and there are no government programs to provide assistance, the orphanage depends totally on donations and volunteer help for treatment.

Valeria Caceres, Director of the Unidos por Cristo Children’s Home was overwhelmed by the care the team provided and repeatedly expressed her gratitude, saying, “Thank you, Thank you, Thank you!” to everyone throughout the day.

Although the team began setting up the equipment at 8 that morning, some faulty clamps and hoses on the air compressor meant they weren’t able to begin treating the children until after 10:30. However, they were undaunted and set to work doing what they could. In the meantime, volunteers entertained the kids and did basic dental health instruction.

When the dental team began, they found that a significant number of children had severe dental problems. The doctors were able to diagnose and care for the children’s most urgent needs, and also created a database with complete diagnostic information to continue the care during future visits.

The dental team was also quite happy when they examined several young patients who were treated during the visit from SEAL Team One about 18 months ago because their dental health was excellent! Overall the team was able to treat 23 patients, 14 under 10 years of age, and nine who were 11 or older.

As with every such outreach, the team’s evaluation of the day suggested several ways to improve their effectiveness, including checking the compressor in advance of the event and recruiting additional volunteers.

Lead International Outpost dentist Dr. Samuel Avalos was thrilled with the quality of treatment they were able to offer. “This is the first time we have been able to do restorative work on one of our outreaches. We are really happy to be part of the Smiles for Everyone Foundation doing this work.”