Mission Trip to Nicaragua
Village Family Dental is involved with several missions throughout the year to Granada, Nicaragua. The group takes everything needed for the trip instruments, tooth paste, toothbrushes, antiseptic, filling materials, and gauze all of which were donated. The value of the supplies was about $5,000. Donations came from Patterson Dental Co., Sullivan Schein Co., Crest, Colgate, Caulk Inc. and Valley Pediatrics.
The missionary program, Cristo Sana, was founded in 1992 in New Orleans through the support of the Archdiocesan Society for the Propagation of Faith. Cristo Sana was the brainchild of a group of doctors, nurses, other health-care professionals and volunteers seeking opportunities to work with underprivileged people in a developing nation. The program pairs missionaries with Nicaraguan counterparts so that each can observe, assist, and teach when invited. It also ensures that equipment and supplies are provided.
In addition to treating patients, a preventative program has been established, and one of the goals is to teach endodontics (root canals) and other specialty procedures to Nicaraguan dentists. The Nicaraguan dentists are well trained and knowledgeable, but their facilities are lacking. The lack of money and with Novacain as the only option for anesthesia, most diseased teeth are pulled rather than restored.
Over 100 children have had their teeth restored or received other treatment from our group at the free clinic. Dr. Faith McGibbon estimates that each dentist performed about $3,000 worth of services per day. Village Family Dental sponsors the trip, which cost between $1,200 and $1,500 per person. The participants also volunteered their vacation time for the project.
UPDATE: Nicaragua Mission Trip 2013
In April of 2013, another team from Village Family Dental made the trip to Nicaragua. Once again, the trip was made possible by the wonderful folks at Christ the Healer Missions, an organization based in New Orleans, Louisiana. The team included two doctors, two hygienists, four dental assistants and two clerical staff members. For these individuals, the trip proved to be one of the most challenging and rewarding experiences of their lives. They returned with a great sense of appreciation and a further desire to help those in need. They worked at least ten hours each day, performing treatment and seeing to the needs of numerous patients. A majority of the treatment centered around two orphanages in the Granada area. The team visited these children and provided them with treatment ranging from basic cleanings to extensive dental work. Afterwards, the team members treated patients of all ages at a nearby dental facility located in Granada. Patients received both simple and extensive treatment at no charge.
When not providing dental treatment, staff members took part in the Rice and Beans Foundation. Established to provide non-clinical volunteers with a means to help, this commendable organization allowed the team to supply local families with bags of rice and beans. The Rice and Beans Foundation would purchase 100 pound bags of these goods and divide them into individual packets. Available volunteers would then distribute them to families throughout the area. These efforts were met with great appreciation from the community.