Marina Del Sur is a remote village on the southern coast of Guatemala, about 100 kilometers from Guatemala City.  For a week in early July, Dr. Shirzad was part of a team of dentists from around North America that treated hundreds of local residents, many of whom had never had access to a dentist.  In an open-air church converted into a temporary twelve chair clinic, the team focused on performing surgical procedures to relieve patients with chronic pain and oral infection.  The team was required to overcome numerous challenges, including extreme heat, a lack of running water, and long lines of patients.  Despite these challenges, Dr. Shirzad reports that the project was a success and the experience was deeply satisfying.

Open-air church converted to a dental clinic

We converted an open-air church into a dental clinic in the small town of Marina Del Sur, Guatemala.  We treated approximately 800 people during our week of clinical work, helping eliminate oral infection and removing problematic wisdom teeth.

Clinic Setup

Many people here live with oral pain and discomfort, as their means to pay for dental treatment is almost non-existent.


Waiting room

The waiting room just outside our clinic.

“It was difficult at times because we were working under conditions we were unaccustomed to.  Many of the patients we saw were dealing with constant pain.  But it was very fulfilling to be able to provide treatment to people that have such limited access to dental care.  Our patients showed us a great deal of warmth and kindness, even despite my terrible attempts at Spanish.” —Dr. Shirzad

The children of Guatemala

This little boy came to us with pain due to badly infected baby teeth. Treatment required removal of several teeth. Our little patient came back to the clinic the next day to visit, dressed in his best and full of smiles!

This cutie is one of the many children we have seen. She had been living with oral abscesses for some time. We had to remove a few of her baby teeth to help eliminate pain and to give her adult teeth a healthier environment to develop properly. She was not too pleased with the anesthetic but very pleased with the Dora doll she received at the end of treatment.