Features: Volunteers Restore Lost Smile

MADANG, Papua New Guinea — Nancy waited anxiously on the rear deck of the m/v PACIFIC LINK for her opportunity to be examined by a dentist. This was a rare chance for free dental Nancy (2)care and, perhaps, to have her smile restored. Still, Nancy was not very optimistic.

She was missing a front tooth; other teeth were decaying — all in plain sight whenever she opened her mouth. She was keenly aware of her appearance and her self-esteem was constantly undermined by her condition. Although she hoped that something could be done to restore her, she had become jaded. But she decided she didn’t have anything to lose.

After waiting in line for four hours, she finally reached the examination chair. Yet she didn’t comprehend the implications when a dentist volunteering with YWAM Ships from the United States explained that improvement was possible. The dentist, Joan Fox, was aware of a technique that could provide significant cosmetic enhancement to Nancy’s teeth.

Fox extracted one of Nancy’s bad teeth. Then, she made a dental splint for Nancy by getting fishing line from PACIFIC LINK engineers. Fox bonded the front teeth together and molded portions of the line that were over the extraction sites. Then, she used a curing light to harden the soft composite teeth and polished them. When the procedure was complete, the composite teeth looked completely natural to the naked eye.

Nancy (3)

Nancy still wasn’t aware of what had been done for her until she looked at a mirror. When she saw her smile had been restored, she was overjoyed and in disbelief. Nancy can now smile without being self-conscious and she can eat most foods.

As Nancy exited the clinic, the dental assistants who participated in the procedure couldn’t stop telling her how beautiful she looked. Fox had done similar procedures on other patients, but Nancy’s was the most significant transformation.

To sign up for an outreach aboard the m/v PACIFIC LINK, click here.


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