Among the things indigents cannot afford is dental treatment. Most do not mind the discomfort on their teeth, which leads to a much bigger problem.
Like many kids his age, seven-year-old Jehno Calapano dreads the eternity in the dental chair. With words of encouragement from his mother Anita, however, he pulls through. The tooth plagued with decay was pulled out without incident. Had it not been for the time and effort of Tzu Chi providing free dental care, the family’s only breadwinner—the father—wouldn’t be able to pay for it.
“It is very helpful because you don’t have to pay and their service is very good,” says Anita Calapano.
Residents wasted no time having their teeth checked by volunteer dentists on August 23 at San Lorenzo Ruiz and Companion Martyrs Parish in Dagat-Dagatan.. A total of 167 residents benefitted from the said event.
Lingap, a non-government organization from the Parish, assisted Tzu Chi volunteers in registration and pre-dental checkup of the patients. Ten Tzu Chi International Medical Association (TIMA) dentists paved the way for a brighter and healthier smile for the residents.
“If you would take a look around our community, you’ll see that many people are striving to live due to poverty. This free dental mission and medicine is an opportunity for them to achieve healthy teeth,” says Lingap volunteer Araceli Manalii.
Despite anxiety of needles and injection, children pushed through with the procedure for the sake of healthier teeth.
“Other children do not have to be afraid because it only felt like an ant’s bite. I would like to thank the dentist who did the procedure and also Tzu Chi Foundation. Because of you, my teeth are now looking better and healthier,” shares eight-year-old Faith Princess Umali.
Tzu Chi conducts a dental mission in the parish once a month. The residents feel the love every time and also grateful for the efforts of TIMA dentists and Tzu Chi volunteers. After the procedure, patients received free pain relievers, antibiotics, and snacks.
The dentists and volunteers also feel glad for the chance of giving love to people in need.
“It feels good. We can do no great things, only little things with Great Love. No matter how small are the things we did, we’re giving back to the Lord all the blessings that He has given us,” says TIMA dentist Ma. Madonna Mariquit.
Lingap social workers took charge of the registration process in the dental mission. Lingap is a local group of volunteers who take care and attend the needs of indigent Navoteños. 【Photo by Luisa Cabato】
A Lingap social worker checks the blood pressure of a patient. Dental treatment requires patients to maintain normal blood pressure to minimize bleeding and prevent further complications. 【Photo by Luisa Cabato】
Eight-year-old Faith Princess Umali bravely pushes through with the tooth extraction despite of her anxiety over needles. 【Photo by Luisa Cabato】
After tooth extraction, patients received free antibiotics and pain relievers as part of their complete healing process. 【Photo by Luisa Cabato】
One of the Lingap volunteers sterilizes dental instruments after use. With limited equipment, volunteers work non-stop to make sure dentists have sterile tools ready to use. 【Photo by Luisa Cabato】
Anita Calapano also underwent tooth extraction with her two children. She grabbed the opportunity of free dental service because they cannot afford a private dentist. 【Photo by Luisa Cabato】
After the procedure, nine-year-old Jenelyn Oleda received medicine and snacks. 【Photo by Luisa Cabato】
Anita and her children show their gratitude to Tzu Chi for conducting the free dental mission for them and their fellow indigent Navoteños. 【Photo by Luisa Cabato】
Residents line up outside the dental clinic. Children and elders took the chance of having their teeth checked by dentists. 【Photo by Luisa Cabato】
Two TIMA dentists try to calm an agitated patient. The child feels nervous because of the syringe. 【Photo by Luisa Cabato】
Japanese students went into the dental mission to know the health situation of impoverished Navoteños. 【Photo by Luisa Cabato】