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Friday, September 1, 2017

Clinic Update and Final Post

With Gloria is one of the chefs from the Lodge.  (never did learn his name!)  He promised to come see us for the whole month, finally came in on the last day.  Beautiful smile!  All he wanted was his teeth 'washed', he means prophy.  Very happy with the result.
                              You may have noticed, all recent posts have been pictures of the game drives, no mention of the clinic activity.  Actually, since this is such a modern, well-stocked clinic, dental services have been fairly routine and I didn't feel you would be interested in the day-to-day workings of a dental office!

24 clinic days.  Although I am not a numbers man, around 240 patients seen and around 200 teeth extracted and just a few fillings.  A few reflections:

First, as we were promised, the day is very unpredictable.  Maasai in the area are all aware of the clinic’s presence and know that it is open Monday through Friday year-round. No appointments are made, although we did hear that those with mobile phones will call ahead to be certain that the clinic will be open when they are able to arrive.

We have heard that people will travel up to three hours or more to see the dentist.  Many walk, others ride a motorcycle taxi.  Not only Maasai come to the clinic.  Others, many working at the camps and resorts in the area do not wear the typical Maasai sandals and blanket; more western clothes, and do not have the ear jewelry that are typical of the Maasai.

Most have their dentistry done at no charge, although some are charged or there is a negotiation that takes place.  As mentioned before, typically the patients want an extraction.  The tooth has been painful for some time, and the x-ray taken confirms the need for the tooth to be removed. 

You will also notice, not a lot of pictures of my patients. Maasai and Kenyans prefer not to have their pictures taken.  We have honored that.

Mornings are busier than afternoons. An average day is 15 patients, we end the day between 3 and 4.  If we are upstairs waiting for the next patients and look out the window and see the front gate closed.  The clinic is closed!  We change out of our scrubs and enjoy the afternoon.
Dad wanted this little guys crowding corrected.  So we took out his two central incisors!  Normally this is done in the village by an elder with a knife and no anesthesia.  Much better solution at he dental clinic.

Same little guy, here, his two lateral incisors are in cross bite, (behind his lower teeth), so out they come!
Also, mentioned, most procedures are extractions.  Most of them are molars, and most of them are wisdom teeth!  I think most dentists would agree that wisdom teeth are the most challenging to remove due to the anatomy of tooth and location in mouth.  But, that is the way it is, and we deal with it.

Interesting, rarely is there any gratitude expressed.  It is cultural.  It is my job to pull teeth, I have done so, and they walk out.  The few that do know English, however, will frequently express appreciation and maybe a hand shake, otherwise, it's off to the next patient.

To those in the dental community reading this blog, I recommend you consider this 'assignment'.  The dentistry is challenging but you are well-taken care off with a great support staff, very comfortable accommodations and the opportunity to gain weight as you eat next door at the tent resort!

We have made some great friends here, and who knows, we may be back someday!
Gloria and me with Masooi and Dennis.  Masooi on the left is the day watch-warrior, Dennis is all around maintenance guy, custodian and cook.  Great guys!

Here is The Team!
Next to me is Eunice, then Grace and on the end is William.  The gals are the two assistants, William is clinic manager and safari guide.  It was a real honor to be able to work with these people!