One of the many constraints brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic is the inability to safely hold large-scale free dental events that serve as a great way to deliver care to underserved populations. While our Paraguay Local Outpost team can’t currently take equipment into the community for days of treatment, their dentists are still able to provide free care to patients in need in their clinics.

Recently they met Liliana, a 24-year-old mother of two children ages 8 and 4, who lives in Asuncion. Liliana works as a maid in the city, and had never received dental treatment before. In fact, Liliana shares that in her home growing up, brushing their teeth was just something they never did. The family had one tooth brush that they would share on occasion.

Dr Yamiley, clinical coordinator of the Smile for Everyone Foundation outpost in Paraguay, reflects on meeting Liliana in her clinic. “I had never seen such bad infections in a patient before, she shares. Even her bone had turned green, her mouth was full of infection and pus.” She immediately started Liliana on antibiotics, and then began the long process of restoring her smile. Among other things, Liliana will need 12 cavities treated, a molar root canal and two dentures.

Dr Yamiley expressed her joy at being able to see Liliana change her life around as she is now starting to brush her teeth daily and practice better oral hygiene in her home. “In this case, she says, “We are not only giving a smile, but we are saving the life of a mother. Also, her children now understand the importance of caring for their teeth, so that they can avoid the pain they’ve had to witness in their mother.”