During our one-month stay in San Pancho, we spent a number of days giving oral health presentations and providing screenings and fluoride applications to the kindergarten, primary, and Escuela del Mundo schools. Almost all of the children were very well behaved and seemed eager to listen to our presentation. One of the more challenging things we did was screen the children for cavities. It was heartbreaking seeing how decayed some of their teeth were, especially those that I found on permanent (adult) teeth. On a positive note, Ada informed us that the number of children with decayed teeth has been consistently decreasing since the first field school arrived, six years ago.
Self care and educating clients on their oral health status was a major factor in our clinical appointments. Having Tanya, a fellow student who was fluent in spanish, and who was able to translate for us was one of the most helpful component to our team. Our clients were very receptive and interested in learning how to prevent periodontal disease. One of my clients at Entreamigos who had just moved to San Pancho from the US told me that she’d never learned so much in an appointment with a dental hygienist. She said she generally goes in for her appointment and leaves confused. She liked that I had explained everything I was doing, even down to the small details like what instrument I’m using or what the ultrasonic does. I think this made me realize how important it is to talk to your client during treatment because they can’t see in their own mouth and aren’t sure what you are doing in there. Education is extremely important in this profession and just because we have the dental background, we can’t assume that everyone else does too.