the Vernon Journal

Serving the Kingdom in Southeast Asia

Filtering by Tag: dental team

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.

Yep, We're Fine

those of you who have heard about the unrest / state of emergency in Thailand, please know that it is neither affecting us or our work here in Northern Thailand. We have no desire to comment on all the goings on - you are welcome to get all the information about what is going on through your various news sources. We have been enjoying our time with a dental team from Colorado, having treated nearly 100 patients over the last two days (55 oral surgeries/extractions and 40 cleanings)

We will get some more pictures and details us from this team as we get the time, but just wanted you all to know that we are all doing well in Northern Thailand

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