Gerald Lausa (27) is a professional specialist in making dentures and retainers. For this process, a patient needs to bite on a special kind of wet clay; when a patient needs both upper and lower dentures, the soft clay is placed in a mold and then the patient bites it until the soft clay hardens and is removed. The mold becomes the guide for Gerald to make the dentures and the stainless rings that will anchor them to the remaining teeth. His fee is 400 pesos ($9) per tooth in the denture.
For the past six years, Gerald has been doing well in this work. He began as an assistant to his uncle in making the mold, fitting the denture, and cutting and grinding the plastic dentures and stainless wires. Later, he was entrusted with assembling dentures and attaching them to a plastic gum. Unfortunately, Gerald’s uncle had to quit working because of a health problem, and Gerald was left to continue the venture on his own. At first it was very difficult, and it took several years for Gerald to gain the trust and confidence of his uncle’s clients. He was assisted by PSHF loans for several years, most recently in May 2013 for an expansion of his laboratory; he fully repaid this loan and is now applying for a reloan.
In recent months, the demand for Gerald’s dentures has declined because of the introduction of rubberized dentures, which are softer, somewhat flexible, and more comfortable to wear than traditional dentures with plastic gums. His income has gone down, and thus it is increasingly difficult for Gerald to meet the needs of his wife Joseriza (25) and daughter Rejoice (3), as well as Joseriza’s aging parents, who do not have stable jobs.
Gerald is keen to start making rubberized dentures and he is applying for a loan to enable him to buy what he needs to do so, namely a set of rubberized gums costing 10,000 pesos and a heater rod. The grinder and stainless wire that he has will still be of use in making retainers. He hopes to increase his monthly income from 6,000 to 10,000 pesos a month as a result of upgrading his line of dentures. Furthermore, he will be able to re-hire his assistant, who was working for him two days a week for a monthly salary of 2,000 pesos.
Gerald is very grateful for the PSHF assistance which has made a difference in his family’s day to day living. His income has enabled him to have his wife’s parents ancestral home repaired and divided to provide a living space for his own family. His next plan is to promote his products with dentists in the countryside so that he will have additional customers for his rubberized dentures.
Ireen O. Ingles