In late October, Dr. Gary Kuenning, a Tulsa-based dentist/oral surgeon/orthodontist, performed the first annual Arajuno Foundation Dental Mission, working two long days, relieving indigenous Kichwa people of dental pain.
Approximately 112 teeth were extracted from 79 patients. A dentist from Tena, the nearest town 40 kilometers from the Arajuno Jungle Lodge, also cleaned and charted teeth for all indigenous patients.
None of these patients has ever seen a dentist.
Three English-Spanish interpreters worked as volunteers to ensure accurate information translated from patient to dentist. Special toothbrushes with embedded toothpaste were provided to each patient, along with a recipe for toothpaste (translated in Spanish) that could be made from simple, inexpensive ingredients.
A temporary clinic was set up and indigenous, from distances of many miles, hiked to the clinic on rainforest trails or came by river on canoes. Everybody worked from sun-up until after dark on both days of the AF Dental Mission.
Dr. Kuenning plans to donate quite a bit of dental equipment to the Tena-based dentist.
All in all, the first annual Dental Mission was a total success.