Chilling out in the clinic


Our Tongan volunteers have a great time in the clinic. (Dorothy on the left, and Narissa, or “Risa” on the right.)


They are seeing patients every day, and using the cavitron on stubborn supra-gingival calculus (that usually gets blown off in HUGE chunks). It’s so much fun being in dentistry!


Just your typical patient. Elder Coombs, our oral surgeon from Australia, removed 254 teeth in March. I removed 16. But I was able to do 661 restorations. That is roughly 661 more restorations I would have been able to do, if Dr. Coombs were not here. This clinic could not function (could not meet its objective of serving the needs of the students, pre-missionaries, and missionaries) without our oral surgeon!


These are the names of the students for whom we have been able to complete all treatment. That usually means four quadrants of restorations (+/- 20), extractions, an a prophy.


Dr. Courtney Fisher, our volunteer dentist, and his wife, Paula, did 593 procedures in March. They have served above and beyond the call of duty. They have been here since January 27 and are leaving April 19, and we are really going to miss them!

We do a lot of restorations that we would never dream of doing back in the bubble (in the U.S.). We just do what we can, and hope for the best. Thank goodness for Thera-Cal and bonding agent. (And our Wave-One Endo system that was provided by Midwestern University).


Making a Ta’ovala


The Ta’ovala is worn with the tupeno, and is roughly the equivalent of a tie that is worn with a dress shirt. Everyone wears one with the tupeno on Sunday, and probably 75% wear one during the week.


The Ta’ovala is also worn by women. It is very common. This patient was making one while waiting for treatment in the clinic. It takes about a month to complete a ta’ovala.


Mine is very similar to the one she is making. One like this costs about $75.00 (U.S.).


All of the missionaries (Elders and Sisters) wear the tupeno and the ta’ovala. Everything is kept in place by the kafa, a rope about 12 feet long, that is wrapped around the waist.

Miscellaneous Ramblings


This is Siosifa ‘Amanaki Moanaifea Poua ‘I Saione Toluta’u Pita.

He is a pre-missionary. Pre-missionaries are those who are ready to turn in their papers, but need a dental exam/treatment. (We’ve done 1,191 procedures on 244 pre-missionaries so far this year, for a total of around a quarter of a million dollars in dentistry).


Siosifa ‘Amanaki Moanaifea Poua ‘I Saione Toluta’u Pita, goes by “Sifa.” (I wonder if his missionary name badge will just say “Elder Pita?”

“What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” (Shakespeare).

These are a sampling of the names of our patients in the clinic. Most of them arestudents at Liahona High School.  *

Sione Vaiangina

James Napa’a

Uneloto Toutai

Aisaka Kotoa


Tupou Masila

Losaine Vave

Salote Faka’osita

Senieh Vea



Sela Enielo

Kabo Taeifuna

Kelly Imoro

Sione Lehapoto


Subrina Mahe

Fokikovi Moala

Sione Tafengatoto

Suliana Siale


Petulise Movete

Marie Kanmatule

Namoe Vailea

Paukakala Mailau


Kefu Tonga

Isileli Panuve

Mele Masila

Losemalei Masila


Ika Finau

Siaosi Anitoni

Teuteu Loni

Afoa Fangupo


Fele’unga Vaea

Alisi Kofutu’a

Paula Vimahi

Vikama’u Neiufi


Petelo Taunata

Sione Taunata

Puafisi Fone

Vitolio Taulaki













Etina Pahulu

Siaola Hausia

Uaafe Akau’ola

Tilisa Tafengatoto


*     When it’s time to call a patient from the reception room to come back, for treatment, we generally let Dorothy Tonga do the honors.




The Ma’u family is from E’ua, a 37 square mile island with a population of around 5,000. Two stores, no restaurants, no movie theater. They have sent their two older children to Liahona, to get an education. Sister Ma’u weaves baskets, and sells them, to earn money for the kids’ tuition.

Their daughter came to our house for lunch, and she had tacos.  First time. She liked them!