Features: Woman’s Smile Restored After Nearly 30 Years

From the field

October 4, 2016

Beatrice’s smile was deformed as the result of an incident that occurred when she was only 8 years old. The event left her with only a stub as one of her two front teeth. When she heard that a dentist from the United States was at the Port of Madang taking appointments aboard a ship — the m/v PACIFIC LINK, she decided to go there for a routine cleaning. The thought of having her appearance restored never entered her mind.


The dentist, Dr. Sandra Varney, said she knew a technique that could yield a drastic cosmetic improvement for Beatrice. That offer was refused. Beatrice, 35, was resigned to being in the same physical condition for the rest of her life. She didn’t believe Dr. Varney could offer much help or hope to her. It all sounded fanciful.


Finally, after being asked a third time, Beatrice agreed to let Dr. Varney try to fix her smile. The dentist used a prosthetic, along with a curing light to bond an artificial tooth into Beatrice’s mouth. After the short procedure, Beatrice teeth looked as good as new.

Her makeover was one of 141 dental restorations that took place while Dr. Sandra Varney served aboard the PACIFIC LINK. The restorations where dramatic events in a nation where their is not even one dentist for every 100,000 people.

Just a day later, three of Beatrice’s friends came to receive dental care of their own. They said when she showed up for work at the local market that day, she was in a celebratory mood as she showed off her new smile.


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