• Dental Volunteering for Dentists and Dental Students

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    December 11th, 2010adminarticles

    Newly-practicing dentists are often at the moral standstill of either immediately employing their skills in private practice or serving the community by being a volunteer dentist at the general hospitals/clinics. I sincerely laud the newly grads that put aside their personal wants and cooperate on serving the community by way of dental volunteering opportunities – either in their locality or on dental missions abroad.

    There are several organizations, such as United Planet (UP), DentalVolunteer, International Smile Power, Bridge2Aid (B2A), and Global Humanitarian Expeditions who encourage both young and seasoned medical and dental professionals to engage in a variety of public service missions, namely:

    1. Online Teaching and Awareness Programs where dentists can share valuable research and information online to fellow dentists and blog readers

    2. Local Community Building Programs and Dental Care Missions to get the community upbeat on proper oral hygienics

    3. International Programs to educate and serve impoverished nations in Africa and Asia

    4. Ad Hoc Disaster Relief Missions that provide persistent care to those stricken by natural calamities, wars, famine, etc.

    Not long ago, only a few health mission organizations employed the aid of students. Nowadays – due to the increasing number of dental students interested in volunteer work and the incentives community work gives them – universities, youth groups and even families of the students urge students to enact their endeavors to help the local and global community. And, due to the expanding number of internet users and websites who share the same advocacy, it is now easier to contact these organizations regarding their upcoming activities and the possible admission to varying dental volunteering programs.

    Dental volunteering programs can last for a few days in the locality to an entire year abroad. The interested applicant may also invite a number of classmates/colleagues to participate for a more team-oriented experience. Beyond the incentives, preparation, and roughened experience this gives dental students – volunteering programs also aim to give students and dentists a better outlook of the global situation, not to mention a solid grasp of culture that can only be acquired through personal interaction with indigent and/or impoverished patients.

    However, international dental volunteering programs are not without their costs (although some missions offer free food allowance, travel, and/or accommodation). Since a majority of these organizations’ expenses are not subsidized by the government, the need for donations arises. A majority of goodwill comes from the volunteers themselves since some employees of these organizations also need to make a living.

    Donation money is evenly dispensed through the different facets of volunteer work:

    1. Travel Expenses

    2. Food

    3. Lodging/Accommodations

    4. Workshops and Seminars

    5. Medicine and Dental Instruments

    6. Research and Development

    7. Staffing

    8. Building Improvements / Sanitation

    If you believe in the spirit of community service, there’s no question that dental volunteering missions call for your immediate aid and expertise. Become a part of the growing community of awakened professionals and always remember to “give more than what you can take.”

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