the Vernon Journal

Serving the Kingdom in Southeast Asia

Filtering by Tag: clinic

Pulling Teeth On Our Own

After Dr. Newman and Dr. Luce finished the exodontia training and left us tools to continue the work, we knew that an opportunity would quickly come to try it on our own. The very idea of pulling teeth without the doctors around made me extremely nervous. One of the last instructions they left for us was "remember that you can stop at any time that you are uncomfortable and go get professional help". Unfortunately, this just provided me a perfect excuse to say "I'm not comfortable" with all of the hurt teeth we saw. Eventually, however, a little boy from our village was in such obvious pain that I decided to try to pull the tooth for him - and since that successful extraction Lori and I have pulled 4 additional hurting teeth in our village on our own.

Pulling teeth is such a unique experience, because we can see someone go from debilitating pain one moment to relief and peace the next. While caring for emotional, physical, intellectual and spiritual health of ourselves and those around us, we rarely get to see such quick and lasting results.

Here are some pictures from our most recent experiences pulling teeth in our village home:

Lori prepping the sterilization areaWorking the tooth outDone! One tooth and three rootsYou see, this is where it hurtFeeling out the hurt toothLori Vernon is prepping the patientRoot Tips, I hate Root TipsYou would be hurting too if your tooth looked like this

Just Like Pulling Teeth

Dr. Luce working on a Bible Student at House of Joy For the past 6 years, Dr. Luce and his staff have been giving of their time and skills to come to Chiang Rai and care for the dental needs of Akha children and Bible Students at Akha Outreach Foundation, as well as the occasional village dental clinic.

Last year Dr. Newman and his family joined the dental team, and the village aspect of the dental ministry began to really take off.

Dr. Newman teaching proper injection techniques.

Both dentists have been encouraging us to learn how to anesthetize a patient and perform simple extraction techniques, but we've been slow to respond to their urgings (Lori once had a mild fainting spell when watching an oral surgery). Earlier this year, however, Dr. Luce was at a meeting for the Christian Dental Society and saw a presentation training nationals to do rural, village or jungle dentistry and his heart was really stirred to see the young Akha leaders trained in dentistry as well. Dr. Newman, who has also used his skills to minister in Africa, was equally excited by the vision and the two of them prepared a 3-hour training to supplement multiple days of observation, along-side training and hands-on extractions.

Joe was very sympathetic as he watched the teeth being pulled.The training was a wonderful experience. These young Akha leaders jumped right in to the action, and Lori and I got up the courage to join them. After learning about the root structures of different teeth, safety and cleanliness precautions, and what types of teeth are within our skill set to extract we all practiced administering anesthetic to each other. You know you have a good trusting relationship as husband and wife if you can let each other practice sticking needles into your gums. After the training day, we had a village dental clinic in Doi Chang and we 6 trainees (and our pastor Joe, who couldn't stomach the shots, but trained as an assistant) treated a majority of the 40 patients we saw that day.

The trainers and the trainees.In total, the Dental Team (Bill, Rick, Jana, Lisa and Pam) put up some very impressive numbers in the short week they were here.  In the villages, over 200 teeth were pulled. At House of Joy, 40 wisdom teeth were pulled, 40 fillings were given, 2 tooth repairs were made, 13 additional extractions and 137 cleanings filled their week. In addition, they trained a team of 7 locals to continue dental care for remote villages as we are traveling in and out of them. Pray for M, Nuey, Anm, Adeu, Lori, Paul & Joe Akha as an assistant, that we might have opportunities to continue to minister to the needs of the Akha wherever we might go.

Akha Dental Clinic (Video)

At the end of this month (August 2009) our annual dental team will be arriving in Chiang Rai. Dr. Luce and Dr. Newman will be with the team to provide free dental care for the children's home, Bible students, and various Akha villages. Dr. Luce has been coming out for years, and Dr. Newman joined him last year - spending some extra time with us in our village running a village clinic. This year will be a whirlwind trip, just one week, but we are all looking forward to their visit. It's incredibly late, but I've gotten a video up from last year's village clinic.

The video is of a removal of an oral cyst (at least I think it was an oral cyst, Dr. Newman you can correct me in the comments if I'm wrong) from the lip of an Akha teenage girl. It's a graphic, bloody video, so if you are one of our weak-stomached viewers, here's a happier video for you.

Not Swine Flu

Over at Akha Outreach Foundation's children's home "House of Joy" everyone is battling the flu, not Swine Flu or H1N1, but a pretty nasty bug by its own account.flu Over 80 of the 150 people on site have gotten a flu that keeps them in bed for four days. You can read all the info over at Dan's site, The Edge.(While you are there, subscribe to his rss feed in your feed reader to keep up with all the news from the children's home). We are off to the village today with Erick Olsen who is visiting us on his way back to America. We are armed with boxes of medicine to restock our Akha clinic for the onslaught of flu cases we expect to see up there as well.

Despite all our running around during the last two months, we are all in great health but covet your prayers of protection from the flu and for continued recovery from the jetlag that we're still dealing with from Germany.

New Zealand Medical Team

We always welcome guests with medical expertise who can assist us with our Mobile Clinic and help us broaden our medical knowledge in the process! Our recent medical team from New Zealand was no exception; the team consisted of 8 medical students and 1 medical doctor. They were scheduled to be with us for 6 nights and we had planned to do 4 clinic days in 4 different villages. Unfortunately, due to Abi's hospitalization we had to cut our time short a bit, which left us with only 2 full days available for clinics. However, through the teams hard work, we managed to squeeze in clinics at all four villages and we ended up treating over 150 patients!

Three of the four clinics we did were especially exciting for Paul & I because they were in villages not associated with our organization. As is the case in much of the world, sometimes, here in Thailand, church groups have trouble getting along.Unity among Christians and Christian organizations is one of the areas that Paul and I really have a heart to see improve among the Akha. So, in providing a "no strings attached" clinic, we hope to not only bless the individual receiving the medical care, but to build relationship with village and church leadership which might remind them that the body of Christ can still function even outside of denominational affiliation!

Akha Village :: Dentistry and Clinic Pictures

For the past week a dental team from America has been visiting Akha Outreach Foundation doing the annual check-ups and cleanings for all the orphans. While this is quite a large task in itself, they still made time to haul all thier equipment up to a village for a day to pull some teeth. Preventative dental care is a fairly new concept in Akha villages, so although most of the children and young adults brush thier teeth, many of the older adults have never brushed thier teeth and live in constant pain. It is very common for adults to chew betel nut which helps to numb the pain temporarily (and makes for the blackish-red teeth that are so often seen among the Akha), but in the long run it causes much damage to the mouth & gums. You can imagine that Dr. Luce and his two dental assistants had their hands full that day! They saw over 40 patients and pulled over 100 teeth in just 6 hours! Good work, guys! The village they visited was about 20 miles east of the village we live in, so we drove over to help out if we could. We certainly weren't much help in pulling teeth, but we were able to set up a mobile clinic and treat some minor non-dental ailments. The open-air school room we were in felt like a three-ring circus at times, with everyone in the village either straining to watch in sympathetic agony as the dentist pulled teeth, or curiously crowding around to see the two white people "who speak Akha" give out medicine.

Here are a few pictures of the day, courtesy of Joe Rutledge.

Dr. Luce pulling an Akha woman's toothTwo Akha women watching with sympathyDr.Luce, two assistants and the Akha woman after pulling the toothPaul and Lori with their mobile clinicPaul dispensing medicineLori reading 'Where there is no Doctor'

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