Dentist To Travel To Peru For Mission Trip
A Buffalo-based dentist and two of his staff members will be traveling to Peru the end of January to provide dental care to close to 80 children.
Dr. Brian Cotant, owner of Cotant Dental, decided to organize the mission trip after he found a group of children in need of dental work during his last mission trip. Cotant and a few others decided to visit a remote village to teach bible lessons. Cotant ended up doing more.
“We decided to do a demo screening while there and found that among the 83 or so kids that were there, a lot of them—especially the younger kids—had quite a need of having some dental work,” Cotant said.
Some of the children had teeth so deteriorated that only half of the tooth remained. Cotant said many of the problems may be due to an increase of sugar in the Peruvian diet.
“Sugar has made its way in there, and I think that’s why we’re dealing with this,” Cotant said. “It’s interesting that some of the middle school kids didn’t have any cavities to speak of. I think, if we’d interview their parents, we’d find that the sugar made its appearance at a certain timeline where the older kids weren’t exposed to it at such a young age, but the younger ones were.”
Cotant said that the kids handled their problems better than one might expect.
“In my broken Spanish, I would ask them if they were in pain, and they would smile and nod yes but just go on about their day because it was just kind of a normal thing for them,” Cotant said.
He made it a goal to come back for them.
“We kind of had it set in our hearts that if the doors stayed open to come back, we were going to do that,” Cotant said.
The doors have remained open and, the team has found equipment to rent in Peru. The trip will come at some cost, however.
“Just for the dental [staff and equipment] alone, we’re probably in the $4,000 to $5,000 range,” Cotant said.
The rented equipment is light and compact, making it easy to take to the remote village. Contant said the equipment isn’t what they’re used to using. He described it as being like cooking in someone else’s kitchen.
“I’m sure that will take a little bit to kind of figure out the kinks and stuff,” Cotant said. “But, I think once we get going, it’ll be good.”
Cotant and his crew are excited to bring dental care and bible lessons to the children he’s been dreaming of for a year.
Cotant’s office performs free dental work for local children—many of whom are struggling financially—every Christmas season. The day-long event is one of the favorite days at the office for many members of Cotant’s staff.
“You don’t have to go across the world to help somebody out,” Cotant said. “You can just go across the street or next door and find somebody who needs a helping hand in something that God’s given you a talent in.”