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Local dental clinic travels abroad to help orphans, caregivers

A dental practice with a local presence is working to ensure that orphans abroad who cannot afford dental work have a reason to smile.

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Employees with Afinia Dental, a dental practice with West Chester, Mason, Eastgate and Bridgetown locations, have spent the past 14 years providing dental mission work, six of them in Mexico and eight years in the Dominican Republic, Jamaica and Uganda.

Back2Back Ministries notifies the orphans and their caregivers of the upcoming clinics when Afinia co-owner Dr. Andrew Killgore and his dental teams visit, working at the Juniper Tree Clinic, which is on the ministries’ campus in Monterrey, Mexico.

The Afinia teams also traveled to remote, rural areas outside of the Monterrey compound to do dental work. The most common dental service needs include extractions, fillings, dental cleanings and sealants. Killgore typically spends about three days doing dental work each trip.

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After Dr. Killgore’s first trip to Monterrey in May 2012, he helped Dr. Sophia Segura, a dentist from Monterrey, set up Juniper Tree Clinic. Segura, who has been employed by Back2Back Ministries as a dentist at the clinic for five years, is there year-round to care for the dental needs of the orphans and their care givers, according to Killgore’s wife, Afinia Dental co-owner Dr. Cara Killgore, a pediatrician.

She said Afinia partners with Segura by traveling to Monterrey for mission trips with dentists from the U.S. and Mexico volunteering there from time to time. She said Segura has traveled to Cincinnati to stay with the Killgores and train with Afinia.

Five years ago, Afinia donated a panoramic dental X-ray device, treated countless children by performing extractions and addressing severe dental issues that had been left untreated, starting what has been “an amazing journey,” according to Lisa Best, Afinia’s sales and marketing director.

Afinia typically travels abroad twice a year for the humanitarian effort. The first trip to Monterrey this year was for several days in March and included Dr. Andrew Killgore and Dr. Lindsay Runyan. Killgore and Dr. Mary Hudepohl traveled there in October, treating 48 children and three caregivers in three days. The Afinia team also worked to repair panoramic dental X-ray device and confirm sterilization protocols, which are above standard of care for Mexico, Best said.

“The majority of the children and caretakers, other than those new to the program, are now stable, healthy and just in need of cleanings,” Best said. “There are daily success stories and long-reaching ones when you undertake to share dental treatment and skills to those in need. The incredible success story is how far Dr. Killgore and the Afinia teams have brought this Monterrey clinic in five years.”

The team is preparing to start a new cycle in Cancun, Mexico at a new clinic for the next few trips, Best said. For more information, visit www.afiniadental.com.

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