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Children Need a Healthy Smile
Posted By Lina Alarcon On June 5, 2013 @ 12:59 am In Country Staff | 6 Comments
The Los Amigos de Jesús Child Development Center is located in the Porfía neighborhood in Colombia, where more than 250 children are cared for by our ministry.
At the child development center they receive an annual medical examination to check their health and physical development, with medical intervention when necessary. A recent medical examination left our staff worried, since the majority of children had dental problems, a recurring issue observed during previous medical examinations.
Access to dental care and health in general is a complex topic for families in the lowest social strata. Dental problems are compounded by parents’ neglect of their children’s dental health — in many cases due to lack of knowledge and awareness.
The child development center staff, headed by Pastor Alirio and Project Director Arley, designed a Complementary Interventions proposal to solve this problem through three phases.
In the first phase, dental problems are detected and children receive treatment.
In the second and third phases, experts check the children’s dental conditions and perform additional treatment processes if necessary.
Lessons about teeth cleaning are also provided, not only to the little ones but also to their parents who, through awareness-raising workshops, have learned the importance of brushing, prevention and good dental habits. The center staff have also been trained, so they can reinforce good dental hygiene habits for the children.
José is a dentist with more than 18 years of experience. He agreed to do the work at lower patient costs, being aware of the good cause.
Although, for some, visiting the dentist can be scary and something they prefer to avoid, experience and patience make José a trusted professional. He is happy to be part of this program, because he feels that in some way he is contributing to the children’s wellbeing.
During the children’s care, he is patient, precise but delicate, effective and fast in his job – qualities that are very good in a profession that, although necessary, is not fun for many patients.
Among the dental treatments provided are prophylaxis, fluoridation, resin on cavities, teeth extraction and pulpotomy, which consists of extracting a part of the nerve harmed by cavities.
Also, each child has a record of his or her dental history created that contains data about each one’s dental health and treatments. Parents or guardians sign papers, giving permission for these treatments and verifying that they took place.
These processes improve not only the children’s dental health, but also their quality of life.
Such is the case of Lina, who suffered from severe dental problems, causing her discomfort and pain. Lina is a very friendly and smiles a lot. According to her mother, Hermita, Lina wants to play with her friends all the time.
Months ago, Lina’s teeth were black due to cavities, but now she has a beautiful smile. Her mother is grateful for the help her daughter received, and knows that she has to take better care of her daughter’s dental health.
Alexis is another child who had severe pain in one of his teeth and who consulted with Dr. José several times. The dentist sought to solve the problem of one tooth without extracting it, because it was a permanent tooth.
In spite of his efforts, extraction was the best solution, because Alexis’ mouth was overcrowded. His mother, Betty, is a housewife in charge of her children’s care, and she is now aware that she has to pay more attention to her son’s dental health. She is making sure that he brushes his teeth correctly to prevent future problems.
Arley is close to the children and is often in charge of taking them to dental appointments because their parents lack time. Arley is very grateful for the opportunity our ministry has to help the little ones by taking care of their dental health.
“With the weak points Colombia’s health system has, it is very difficult to have access to dental care, and this care arrives at a moment of need to guarantee complete care. A Complementary Interventions donor can be satisfied that their money is being used in the accurate way and is reaching those who need it.”
Pastor Alirio adds,
“Many of these children had not been to a dentist and I, as pastor, am very grateful for this opportunity. The people of the community see the church as a group of people who help, and this has given us more credibility among them.”
Many little ones now enjoy good dental health. Their pain and cavities are taken care of, and their smiles continue lighting up those around them.
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