Dr Mike Houk and team of students, dentists and volunteers completed a very successful dental mission in Yanahuara, Peru. This was the third year in this community providing free dental care for the same communities. This team treated 219 patients, 321 fillings or preventative procedures, 146 extractions, for a total of 467 procedures. "We were much busier this year than in years past and we did an extra day (4 vs 3). According to Dr Houk, "The numbers are not as important than the reality that oral health is certainly improving dramatically in this region of Peru!" "The first years were mostly extractions. This year we did far more restoration procedures. This shows that regular dental check ups really do work."
Dr Houk's Dental Mission had been held in March each year but because of better scheduling with the Nebraska School of Dentristry, the mission was moved to December. This dental mission has 'adopted' the communities of Paurcamba and Yanahuara (in the Sacred Valley of Peru). This will make the third visit to this community. A local peruvian dentist and good Desana friend, Tula Oros conducted a survey of several rural villages. She found that the people in Paucarbama had greatly reduced the amount of dental disease compared to other villages close by. She attributes this to Dr Mike Houk's Dental Mission coming back each year.
Desana volunteers, George and Kathy Houk arrived in Peru on Dec 11th. Local Desana volunteer Nelly Mejia Muñoz met them at the airport. George, Kathy and Nelly along with the local Cuzco Team lead by Vladi Oblitas Cuba (Dentist) and Tula Oros (Dentist) and Leander Hollings (https://www.facebook.com/MySmallHelpPeru) met to finalize the the details for this year's mission.
Dr Mike Houk and his students will arrive on Friday. This will give them the night to make final setup adjustments and be ready to start the four day dental mission on Saturday.
Check back often to watch the progress of this year's mission.
Rather than simply extracting decayed and infected teeth, our emphasis was on preventative measures, such as fluoride varnish and dental sealants; plus the restoration of hundreds of decayed teeth with composite and glass ionomer fillings. Of course, there was still a great need for the removal of non-restorable and infected teeth. Of the astonishing number of 650 total treatment procedures accomplished, only 28% of these were extractions. We saw a great number of our patients from last year; plus many, many more.
Dr Mike Houk, Desana Board of Director and Dental Mission Leader, was presented a recognition award from his students at the University of Nebraska Medical Center. Dr Houk donates his time to teach dental students the 'real life' proceedures they will face once they graduate from Dental School. Dr Houk started a Dental Mission several years ago. Congratulations Mike..... we are all proud of you!
"Dr. Houk has been a great addition to the clinical faculty at UNMC. He takes the extra time it takes to truly teach on the clinic floor. His expert advice is always appreciated as well as his flowing and flawless hair. (see photo) He has also allowed many students to Participate in dental mission trips, which takes an enormous amount of planning and time on his behalf. We thank Dr. Houk for making education a priority in his career as a dentist."