A partner to the primary care clinic, Casa Colibrí’s dental program operates in the same style, with annual team trips that usually coincide with the clinic.
There are few, if any, affordable and ethical dentists in the region. Many use no anesthesia, no antibiotics, and sometimes not even the right tools. This, along with poor nutrition and lack of dental hygiene, makes it so the patients needing dental care often outnumber those seeking primary care.
On dental trips, teams of two to three practitioners from both Guatemala and the US spend long hours extracting infected teeth under anesthesia, providing relief to patients suffering from headaches and pain.
Protecting Healthy Smiles
Extreme poverty means most parents can’t afford gifts, and high-sugar drinks and snacks are often the one thing a family can give their children. The effects are seen all over the clinic, from tooth decay in the dentists’ corner to complaints of stomachaches and lack of appetite in the primary care rooms.
To combat the detrimental health effects, both dentists and primary care practitioners work to educate patients and mothers on what foods are healthy for development, and the longer term effects sugar can have on the body—and teeth. In the pharmacy, before leaving the clinic, families receive toothbrushes, toothpaste, and how-to instructions to help foster healthy hygiene habits.