A mission to bring dental care to South America is re-routed Louisiana. WGNO's Vanessa Bolano says dentists and oral surgeons are restoring lives one tooth at a time.

Suction devices and drills, two sounds that make most of us cringe, but not here, not today.

Gina Maher of Metairie says, "It's going to be great to actually fill that in and have a tooth there again."

All week dentists from around the country are in Marrero learning and giving back. Their Goodwill Mission trip was originally scheduled in El Salvador, but late last week the government said they could no longer come.

Dr. Darrell Bourg with Pontchartrain Dental Center says, "We originally had 10 doctors scheduled to go to El Salvador but six of the 10 were from the New Orleans area so we decided to relocate here."

Dr. Joel Gonzales, a visiting dentist, says, "Imagine relocating something like that that took months to plan in two days!"

The decision to relocate to Marrero may have been a last minute one, but doctors say it's a success. They're doing about 14 oral surgeries a day changing people's lives.

Patient Adam Lepine of Belle Chasse says, "I've been waiting for the chance to do something, and this is like answering a prayer for me."

Lepine hasn't been able to afford reconstructive oral surgery, but today he got it for free. He is just one of the many whose emotions got the best of them inside the operating room.

"No, no pain, no pain at all, happiness." Patients overcome by joy knowing now they not only have healthy mouths, but self confidence.

Visiting dentist, Dr. Dennis Smiler says, "So patients who have no teeth, if they have sufficient bone, we could give them back all their teeth."

The doctors expect to perform close to 60 free surgeries by Friday. Most are dental implant surgeries to replace missing teeth, and most have already been scheduled.