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Arajuno Foundation Dental Mission in Ecuador

Saturday, November 14th, 2009

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.

Dental Mission 1

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.

Dental Mission 2

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.