The founder of Sonrisa Immaculata, Bart Roach, DDS, was inspired to provide dental services to the indigenous people of Guatemala nearly ten years ago. During the past decade Dr. Roach has completed his undergraduate work in biology and his Doctor of Dental Surgery degrees. At age 30, Dr. Roach is currently in private practice in Eastern Washington, while expanding his efforts to provide dental services to the people in the state of Solola, Guatemala (see attached photos). Utilizing local contacts, Dr. Roach has assumed the responsibility of outfitting, staffing and overseeing the operations of two clinics in this region.
Dr. Roach’s first visit in 2014 was to assess the needs of the population and existing infrastructure. Six months later, he returned to the Novillero, Solola with another dentist and two of his office staff. In one week of working with a population who seldom receive dental care, the team provided comprehensive care to both adults and children. It was important to him that he not just extract teeth. In four and one half days of dentistry, the team completed 391 fillings, 224 extractions, 219 sealants and 55 deep cleanings. Additionally, classrooms were visited with hygiene instruction given to school-aged children and their instructors.
In the future, Dr. Roach wants to have efficiently run clinics with high functioning hand-pieces that are turn-key operable from which any dentist inspired to help could operate. Additionally, it is hoped that as this organization grows, there will be more opportunity to focus attention on early prevention, diet and hygiene among the families of the region. With increased funding and participation in the years ahead, clinics and educational outreach could be provided on a monthly basis, thus making a significant impact on the overall health of the people in the highlands of Guatemala.