A big part of why I became a pediatric dentist was to be able to selflessly give back. I recently had the terrific opportunity to do so by participating on an eight-day Christian Dental Mission Trip to provide emergency dental care to patients in pain in Jamaica. (I also enjoy and participate in local and regional dental mission events to volunteer my time here in the US/South Dakota, but who can beat Jamaica in February!?)
A group of sixteen of us headed down to southern Jamaica the first week of February. Our team consisted of ABC Team members Andrea and Allyson, five dentists, two hygienists, one nurse, two pre-dental students, an engineer, and three kids ages 8, 12 and 14 who helped just as much as all the others on the trip. What an opportunity for them! Being able to positively influence kids in this way also fulfills a goal of my life.
Patients in pain, young and old, would come and wait for hours to be seen to have infected teeth removed. We brought our dental supplies down there with us in suitcases and worked out of a one-room dental clinic with eight dental chairs. When the week was over, we ended up serving 394 patients, provided 145 cleanings and removed 308 painful teeth. It was a rewarding adventure! As is often the case with volunteering, in the end we realized we were blessed just and much or more by those we served. Looking forward to our next mission opportunity!