Category: Dental Missions

28 Feb

Pre-Dental and Dental Student Volunteer Opportunities

Both pre-dental and dental students can benefit from volunteering. It allows them to acquire new skills and to help people at the same time. Even though you are volunteering when you help others, it is also possible to benefit from the experience. Volunteer work offers you the opportunity to meet people in an area that is culturally diverse. There are many opportunities and benefits associated with volunteering either in America or throughout the world.

The benefits of dental student volunteering

Regardless of whether you are a pre-dental student or a dental student, there are many reasons to think about volunteering. As an example, pre-dental students can volunteer in order to learn more about the dental field and to be exposed to various specialties. It provides an opportunity to observe different types of dental procedures and to discuss your future with dental professionals.

Dental schools will take the volunteer work you have done into consideration when students are being selected. When you have a volunteer experience on your dental school application, it can provide positive benefits.

There are many other reasons why volunteering as a dental or pre-dental student can be of benefit. For one, volunteer work provides an opportunity to contribute to something worthwhile while also honing your skills. Those skills include more than the dental work and include teamwork and communication.

When you volunteer, it also gives students the opportunity to break out of their day to day activities. This is especially true if international volunteering is considered. When you do so, you can connect with many others in diverse cultures.

When you team up with an organization as a volunteer, they provide you with valuable experience of what can be done outside of the dental office.

Volunteering opportunities

It may take some research to find the proper volunteer opportunity for you but it is important to consider the options so that you can make the best choice. Some of the areas where you may consider volunteering include the American student dental Association as well as the American Dental Association.

College professors or your college advisers can also be asked if they are aware of volunteer opportunities. If you contact local dentist and let them know you are a student who is considering volunteering, they may be able to help as well. You should also consider the following, as it can help to broaden your horizons.

Local volunteering: it may be possible to volunteer locally and you could do some time at a mobile dental unit or free dental clinic. Many of those free clinics don’t have the budget to hire additional dentists but they would be happy to have dental students help. The duties you would be responsible for may be quite diverse and could include stocking supplies, writing down medical histories or talking to patients about dental care.

Local volunteering can be just as important for health and wellness as international missions.  For example, one Jacksonville, FL based dentist on San Jose Blvd regularly volunteers at Sulzbacher Center in his own city. Through the center, he is able to offer dental care to many homeless individuals who wouldn’t have access otherwise.  He said he knows he’s making a difference in each patient that is able to receive free dental care they otherwise wouldn’t be able to afford.

Give Kids a Smile: The American Dental Association started this program to provide dental services for children who may be lacking in that area. The program was initiated in 2003 as a one-day affair. Since that time, it has grown to include multiple events year round. You may find that there are opportunities for students in this program.

International Smile Power: This nonprofit agency offers dental care to people around the world in a variety of countries who may not have access to dental care. Along with providing dental services around the world, they also offer programs for children in the United States in Seattle, Washington. Dental professionals and those who do not yet have dental experience can volunteer with International Smile Power. The organization will provide volunteer teams to overseas areas such as Mexico and Haiti. The responsibilities of volunteers may vary depending upon your experience and education. You may be responsible for helping people with their dental hygiene or understanding preventative care. If you are a student that is willing to travel internationally, International Smile Power may be a good choice.

United Planet: There are many volunteer opportunities in this program for students who are studying health care, including those who are in a dentistry program. Dental volunteers travel in teams to Ghana, Peru, and other countries. The length of time that you volunteer can vary from 1-12 weeks. A variety of duties may be considered including teeth cleaning or oral healthcare education.

Additional Considerations

A number of things should be kept in mind when choosing the volunteer work that you plan on doing. Considering when you will do the volunteer work is important. In some cases, students will do a number of volunteer jobs of shorter duration through their undergraduate years. Others may volunteer for a longer program that could last for several months. It may be possible to volunteer for an entire year after a bachelors degree has been earned and prior to the time that you enter dental school. When you volunteer during summer break, it can also be beneficial. Choosing the best time to volunteer may help you in moving forward.

How much time is available for volunteering? There may be a commitment by some programs for hours or weeks. As an example, a full-time commitment may be required by certain volunteer opportunities for a number of weeks but others can be done in just a few hours per month. Think about how much time you spend on school-related and extracurricular activities. Consider the amount of time you have for volunteering carefully.

Have you carefully consider your goals? Is your volunteering to give back to the greater good or to look good on your resume? Do you want to gain experience with new patients or with a new culture? When you think about what is possible for you when you volunteer, it can help you in choosing the program.

Do you want to volunteer locally or internationally? Some programs offer a diversity of location opportunities. If you do plan on traveling abroad to volunteer, be sure that your health and safety are well cared for. As an example, it may be necessary to have immunizations prior to traveling to certain countries.

Before you start with any volunteer agency, be well aware of what type of work is being done. When communication is part of the process from the start, it will help to avoid misunderstandings later in the assignment.

28 Feb

Tips For Planning Your Medical Mission Trip

A medical mission trip can be one of the most rewarding experiences for any medical or dental student or professional. You will be granted the opportunity to learn about different cultures, expand your horizons, and pick up various new medical skills as you serve the community. You have to make several considerations when planning your mission trip, however. If you really want to make a difference, make sure you honor your intentions by taking the time to plan carefully. You should even be sure to consider all of your expenses, complete with a detailed list to ensure you have what you need. Crafting the most detailed plan early on is essential for the success of your trip.

Preparing For Your Mission Trip

First of all, you need to find a medical mission trip that suits your interests. Some basic research will help you determine exactly where you’d like to help out. You can find a lot of pertinent information through International Medical Relief, including upcoming trips. A number of areas of focus are included, even dental and surgical. Healthcare professionals such as nurses and physicians may also have success by looking at the current list of Foundation of Peace trips. Many trips have a particular application process, so be sure to read carefully.

You should also consider the need for immunizations and specific forms of travel documentation. Make sure to research vaccinations on the Center for Disease Control & Prevention website. They can provide exacting details regarding the immunizations you’ll need for the particular area you’re hoping to serve during your mission. You should also seek out the nearest embassy for the country to determine which travel documents you’ll need.

You should also consider the supplies that you’ll need when putting together your medical mission trip. Many programs have specific requirements, such as a limit of two bags that separate your personal belongings and clothing from your medical supplies. The materials you’ll need to bring along will depend largely upon the nature of the work you’ll be doing. It’s in your best interest to have full clarification on what you’ll need on hand as far in advance as possible.

How Much Can You Expect To Spend During A Mission Trip?

According to the Catholic Health Association of the United States, you can expect the following from your medical mission trip:

  • The cost of international trips along will make up nearly half of your total expenses.
  • Nearly half of all program participants spend anywhere between 1,000 to 2,000 dollars.
  • Around 25 percent of the participants in the study spent even more than $2,000.
  • In some cases, you may be able to spend less (and even nothing at all).

Each trip’s expenses will vary depending on where you’re going and what the program is able to provide on your behalf. Make sure that you’re well aware of everything expected of you through your program’s guidelines, and ask as many clarifying questions as you need. At the very least, you should prepare to cover your own transportation, food, supplies, and lodging.

Raising Funds For Your Mission Trip

All of the early planning above may only be one aspect of the overall process. In some cases, you could need help raising the funds needed. Once you have a good idea of the medical mission trip that you’d like to participate in, it’s time to start thinking about establishing a fundraising effort. You may be able to crowdfund a significant portion of your expenses if not all of them! There are many online options such as YouCaring that will allow you to share your passion for the trip and receive donations from people all over the world. This can allow you to finally bring your hopes of helping others through a medical mission trip to fruition.

28 Feb

Interesting Facts About Worldwide Oral Health

Math is often referred to as “the universal language”. It’s hard to argue that even hard numbers struggle to communicate as clearly as a smile! The meaning behind the pleasant sight of a genuine smile will be apparent no matter where you are or whom you’re with.

Unfortunately, not every country can claim their smiles are on the same level. Oral health varies greatly from one corner of the globe to the next. Here are some basic statistics that you might find interesting:

Which Country Can Claim The Best Oral Health?

It’s a bit difficult to determine which country holds the title of “best teeth in the entire world”, but there’s enough hard data to give us a rough idea. Based on the findings of some dedicated dental bloggers working within the field of dentistry, Japan may have the best oral health overall. There are over 200,000 dental hygiene professionals working throughout the country. There are just as many dentists working within Japan as there are in the United States, a fact that’s truly staggering considering how much larger the US population is overall. That said, dental care is still common enough in the US to make it a strong contender. The same can be said of Canada, South Korea, and Denmark as well.

Interestingly, there’s also some credence to the idea that Great Britain may have the world’s best teeth. This may seem odd at first given the stereotype that their oral hygiene is actually quite poor. That is little more than a myth these days, however, especially considering 7 out of 10 British citizens recently reported having been to the dentist over the past year. By contrast, only 4 out of every 10 Americans could say the same!

Which Country Has The Poorest Oral Health?

It’s fair enough to assume that the countries with the poorest oral health are those that are simply lacking in dental resources. Some of the prominent examples may surprise you, however. The World Health Organization has reported that there are a number of widespread dental health concerns throughout many Latin American and Asian countries.

There’s something of an oral health crisis in The Philippines in particular. The College of Dentistry at the University of The Philippines has statistics showing that over 90 percent of Filipinos are suffering from tooth decay. Nearly 100 percent of the country’s children between the ages of 3 and 5 suffer from cavities. These findings are more general than exact, but it’s estimated that as many as 75% of the country’s citizens have never seen a dentist at all.

Additional Findings

By the same token, it’s also obvious to assume that first world and well-developed countries have the best oral health given more access to dental care. Some of the poorest countries in Africa have shown impressively low rates of cavity development, however. This is largely based upon the cleaner diets of those regions and their lack of processed sugar. The more some countries progress in an economic sense, the higher their chance to develop widespread tooth decay may become. Some first world countries such as Australia actually have the most regular occurrence of cavities anywhere!

After reading all of this, you’re likely wondering how well you’re keeping up with your own oral health. Can you flash your pearly whites with pride, or does your smile actually need some work these days? If you haven’t been visiting the dentist regularly, now is the perfect time to start. Visit your local dental care provider as soon as you’re able!

22 Feb

Medical and Dental Missions

We’re launching our new website for our Dental Missions Society.

We’ll be posting information on medical and dental missions. Information on how to get involved and tips for making your impact on the world through a cross cultural experience.

If you’ve never been on any form of medical missions, it can be a pretty daunting experience. I know personally that my first experience in a third-world country was something I could have never really imagined or braced myself for. The great extent and impact poverty had on the society was unimaginable for my young mind to grasp. Seeing it first hand was truly eye opening.

We hope to bring a little of this awareness through this website and get you ready for dental missions and truly helping and making a huge impact on a life that may very well be lost without you.