, Volume 28, Issue 6, pp 857-858
Date: 16 Nov 2012

Open Wide

This is an excerpt from the content

We found Iris’s home between a cornfield and a lime green house—a little white trailer with no address. As our cars crunched onto the gravel driveway, Iris and her puppy, Osito, froze to examine us before resuming their game of tag. The nurse practitioner, the Spanish interpreter, and I, the medical student, unfolded ourselves and the plastic chairs of our makeshift clinic from the hot cars. I saw Iris’s mother, her skin dark and wrinkled like a used coffee filter, edge out of the trailer’s shadow. A childhood spent growing coffee in Mexico and eight years of picking corn and oranges up and down the Eastern Seaboard made her look far too old to be the mother of a five-year-old. Reserved and stoic, she usually waited until we approached her, but today she marched right up to us. There were tears in her eyes.

“Can you please look at Iris’s rotten tooth?” she asked. “Her face swells when she’s in pain, and it hurts me to see her crying.” She told us that a dentist in Florida had given them