Guatemala 2019 Dr. T. Bob Davis’s dental student mission trip
For the 43rd year, the T. Bob Mission Trips continued unabated from the ups and downs of international politics and cultural shifts. This year marked the 38th year of including students from the old Baylor (now Texas A&M) College of Dentistry and some 15 years from the University of Texas School of Dentistry at Houston. Ironically, the group was quite small relative to earlier years as we had exactly 43 teammates!
The main thrust this year was to bridge the process of going from bringing portable dental units on the planes as in the past to using recently purchased Aseptico units that are wall hangable which can be removed easily and stored for future security and use on an as-needed basis. Although the old medical/dental facilities were the work areas, it required improvised using of the new equipment mixed with some of the old. Not having to move rented/leased/borrowed 50 lb portable units around the US for carrying on the planes and returning from home bases of Dallas and Houston was a nice cost savings, plus convenience!
Huge thanks to a generous, Godly, major donor couple whose timely input has made plans for a new 21 chair dental clinic a reality! Now under construction on the 2nd floor of the San Raymundo Hospital and Clinic, notice the photos of the construction status as of this article. Projected finish will allow us much more capacity on the 2020 Mission Trip and beyond. Not only is it providing the much enlarged dental facilities but also the completion of an enlarged Cafeteria eating space/meeting room and 12 new two-bed individual rooms. The large male and female dorm rooms are also in the plans for upgrade.
The inspiration for the upgrade came from the remarkable honor of T. Bob’s selection as ADA 2018 Humanitarian! That donation from the ADA of $10,000 to Dr. Davis’s favorite charity has more than multiplied by some 20 times the impact of that seed money! The wise investment of ADA into the work of charity on the part of the profession yields massive results, as proven through the 12 years of that remarkable award! The many businesses and individuals who support the ADA Award are to be honored for vision and ethical input into our profession! Without major donors, most projects never get started.
Perhaps, the most important part of such a mission trip is the results of care given to those most in need, in the second most impoverished nation in the Western Hemisphere, second only to Haiti. Over 750 mainly grade schoolchildren were cared for, many with complete care, all with cleanings and oral health-care instructions plus a toothbrush, toothpaste, and fluoride varnish. For the majority, it was the first visit to a dental facility, a first exposure to oral health care (many to any kind of health care) and others, it was a follow-up from the team’s previous visits, many who now no longer have dental decay.
The goal of the trip is to change a generation for health versus disease management.
T. Bob Davis, DMD
Past President, Academy of Dentistry International, Dallas, Texas,
T. Bob Davis, Past President, Academy of Dentistry International, 11925 Loch Ness Dr.,
Dallas, Texas 75218, United States.