Dental missions provide critical care to people who otherwise would be left without access to adequate dental treatment, sometimes for their entire lives. The knowledge and growth that comes with providing care for those in need reinforces the importance of dental missions for clinicians. And they are not just for licensed practitioners. Dental assistants and students, retirees or even those interested in dentistry with no formal training can benefit and grow from participating in a dental service trip.
Recently our office had the privilege to donate supplies to a medical mission trip to the Dominican Republic. Our friend, Kelly H., was part of a medical mission group from the University of Michigan Flint Study Abroad Program. The mission group set up clinic services in sugar cane villages near San Pedro de Macoris in the Dominican Republic. The living conditions in these villages are substandard, with most being miles from civilization. The residents have no transportation other than donkeys or horses. There is limited access to clean water, with one community bathroom for the whole village. The mission group, which saw roughly 150 patients per day, treated a wide variety of conditions and provided the villagers with health education and hygiene packs. The packs consisted of toothbrushes, toothpaste, dental floss, mouthwash, soap, wash cloths, Band-Aids, shampoo, lotion, toys, and school supplies. Among the most common conditions seen were intestinal parasites due to unsanitary water conditions, ear and scalp infections, respiratory conditions, and hypertension among adults. The mission group was able to arrange for long-term aid in the form of clean water delivery, medication, and wheelchairs and canes for patients with impaired mobility. Kelly said, “It was a very gratifying experience, and I hope to go on similar missions in the future.”
Please feel free to contact us about any upcoming local or abroad events. The doctors and staff at Brighton Healthy Smiles are always looking for new opportunities to give back to the community and those in need.
“We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give.” ― Winston S. Churchill”