International Dental Missions

GSDM continued its involvement in international dental missions to provide preventative and restorative oral health care to underserved communities worldwide, serving those who otherwise would not have access to care. These GSDM supported dental missions have increased in both number and type, as well as in the number of students participating in the trips. During this past year, GSDM students participated in twelve international mission trips to Colombia, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, and Ukraine.

  • An Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery post-doctoral student went to Ukraine with the Smiles International Foundation’s Smiles of Ukraine team. The team provided consultations and performed surgeries on underserved children affected with various facial deformities and developmental anomalies, including cleft lip and palate.
  • Faculty and postdoctoral students from the Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery Department traveled to Colombia with Healing the Children, NE, Inc., to perform surgeries on children affected with various facial deformities and developmental anomalies including cleft lip and palate.
  • Two dental students traveled to Azacualpa, Honduras, as part of a health mission organized by the Medical Eye Dental International Care Organization (MEDICO). The pair of students was part of a six-person dental team that worked alongside medical and optometry teams to provide care to the residents of 21 villages surrounding Azacualpa. The mission group worked at a technical school treating a mix of 318 adults and children over the course of five days. The students also went with members of the team to local schools to provide fluoride treatment and promote oral health.
  • Three dental students signed on with the Boston University Chapter of Global Brigades to travel to Honduras. Global Brigades is the world’s largest student-led global health and sustainable development organization. The group spent four days providing oral health outreach, treating between 40 and 50 patients each, mainly performing extractions and composite fillings.
  • Three dental students traveled to Poptun, Guatemala, with LIGA International treating patients of various ages in the dental clinic at Poptun Hospital. The team spent five days at the hospital performing a combination of extractions and restorations for 150 to 200 patients.
  • Three dental students participated in a mission trip to Cap Haitien, Haiti, with the Cap Haitien Dental Institute to provide oral health outreach. Over the course of their week-long trip, the group treated a wide variety of adult and child patients in four different locations, working in some locations that were without running water or electricity. The team often would see well over 50 patients per day, working until supplies ran short.
  • A group of GSDM alumni volunteers and two dental students traveled to Panama with Northeast Volunteer Optometric Services to Humanity (NEVOSH). The group treated 750 patients in three locations where a great deal of their outreach was focused on the very-poor indigenous population who reside in huts in a local mangrove swamp. Most of those they treated had no access to care and had no idea about how to care for their teeth.
  • A dental student who hopes to become an oral and maxillofacial surgeon accompanied two oral surgeons from his home town on their annual mission trip to Cap Haitien and Milo, Haiti. The student assisted with cleft palate repair and surgeries to remove tumors and reconstruct jaws for individuals at both a local orphanage and hospital.
  • Two dental students, paired with pediatric dentists serving as mentors, traveled with a GSDM faculty member to Rio San Juan, Nicaragua, with the San Juan Relief Organization. A total of 19 volunteers, including local Nicaraguan dentists, treated 519 adults and children. The students were a part of a group serving children and together they performed over 500 extractions.
  • A dental student accompanied Dentistry for All (DFA) teams to Comitancillo, Guatemala, in the fall and to El Remate, Guatemala, in the spring of this past year. The teams consisted of 6 volunteers and 18 volunteers, respectively; and in both cases, the groups treated both children and adults in a full range of procedures.
  • Four dental students joined GSDM faculty and alumni on a recent Project Stretch dental mission to Teacapan, Mexico, where they provided dental care to local children. The group treated more children than had been accomplished by any previous Project Stretch trip, treating 350 patients by performing extractions, placing sealants, applying fluoride, and carrying out 200 operative procedures.