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Dr. Julie Provides Dental Care for Fijian Children
Posted on 07/12/2017
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Dr. Julie Provides Dental Care for Fijian Children

If you have a toothache, you make an appointment with your dentist. If your teeth are crooked, you call your local Phoenix orthodontist to get braces. Most people in the Scottsdale, AZ area don’t think twice about having access to excellent dental and orthodontic care nearby. But if you live on the remote Fijian island of Malolo, that’s a whole different story.

People in Malolo and on other Fijian islands sometimes wait years to be able to receive the dental treatment they need. They also have rarely had access to dental hygiene information and care. Out of that need, Fiji Dental and Medical Foundation (FDMF) was formed to promote and fund dental and medical care to the islanders. Once a year San Clemente dentist Greg Herd, the creator of the foundation, leads a group of dentists out to the islands to perform basic and more complicated dental procedures.

Last month, Dr. Julie Anfinson, known as “Dr. Julie” to her pediatric patients at Affiliated Pediatric Dentistry & Orthodontics, was one of those volunteers. Dr. Julie’s daughter, Cassie, also volunteered.

“I was thrilled to be invited to bring my expertise in pediatric dentistry to this dedicated team,” Dr. Julie said. “The FDMF has been a dream come true for many Fijian families.”  

The group of 28 to 30 volunteers comes mostly from Southern California. They arrive to the islands to a line of patients hoping to get a chance to fix that cavity, have a tooth extraction, get new dentures or that implant to replace the whole in their smile. Whatever they can do in their one-day remote clinic that they set up on the island. A news article on the group and its recent success told of the impact the group of dentists and staff have made. Now in its fifth year, the FDMF professionals have performed a total of 4,861 dental procedures including:

  • 490 extractions

  • 92 fillings

  • 46 partial dentures with 167 teeth

  • 1,679 teeth treated with SDF (AgF2) silver diamine fluoride to arrest decay

  • 158 fluoride treatments

That doesn’t even touch the number of total medical procedures performed which has reached 8,151, including blood pressure, hemoglobin testing and blood glucose testing.

Dr. Julie said that after a few years, the group realized that their team was not prepared to care for the youngest of dental patients.

“Being comfortable treating pediatric patients, I was able to introduce and apply silver diamine fluoride (SDF), the newest medicament to arrest dental decay,” Dr. Julie said. “SDF, along with preventative oral hygiene and diet instructions will hopefully keep the future Fijians on the path of minimal dental decay.”

This treatment, as well as the education are equally important components in keeping parents and their children on the right track to healthy oral hygiene, especially starting an early age.

“My goal was to not only help the children who needed immediate dental care, but to also make sure we see less and less patients who need to have baby teeth pulled because they haven’t been taken care of properly,” Dr. Julie said. “It was exhausting, but also one of the most rewarding trips I have ever taken.”

You don’t have to wait a year. If you need dental care for your child, please call Dr. Julie today at one of our conveniently located offices. She’s been serving the patients in the Scottsdale and Phoenix areas for 30 years. From your first visit on, Dr. Julie and her friendly, professional staff provide a welcoming environment and the best pediatric dental care in the Southwest. Call today!