One Smile at a Time
The goal of each Dental Mission is to educate our children and adults about the critical importance of proper oral hygiene and the dramatic effect it has on their overall health, and to provide the highest quality dental care to every patient. This includes examinations, x-rays, cleanings, fluoride treatments, restorations and extractions.
In rural Jamaica, there is one dentist per 62,000 people and only 10% of children see a dentist once a year (Jamaican Observer). Dentistry is most often unaffordable and many adults only visit the dentist when they need an extraction. Our dental missions aim to change these stark statistics.
Begun in 2012 by a Tryall Club homeowner, the first 7-person team of six dentists and 1 hygienist provided services for 408 patients in a one room temporary clinic. Every year since then the program and team has grown with increased numbers of participating dentists, oral surgeons, hygienists, dental assistants, Jamaican dental students, and volunteers. We now operate 2 temporary clinic sites, one at a local church and the other at The Tryall Club for their employees.
The oral hygiene program is fun and interactive utilizing demonstrations, word games, and coloring projects. Every patient receives a toothbrush, toothpaste, floss, home instructions, and of course, toys for the kids.
Several Tryall homeowners provide housing for the team, The Tryall Club provides daily lunches and the Kiwanis Club of Hopewell provides additional volunteers. “Great Shape! 1000 Smiles”, another non-profit organization, loans all of the large dental equipment, mobile delivery units, chairs, autoclaves, lights and hand-held Nomad x-ray units to us. Each team member is responsible for bringing consumable supplies (masks, gloves, gauze, etc.) and pharmaceutical supplies of anesthesia and antibiotics. Several dental companies generously donate these supplies.
At the end of each mission, a comprehensive summary of services is sent to the Jamaican Ministry of Health. Jamaica graciously allows us to do these volunteer Missions and we always adhere to the strictest and highest standards.
These humanitarian missions are life-changing experiences for both patients and professionals alike and we are grateful to the volunteers who return year after year. In 2019, our 25 person dental team treated over 900 patients. The 2020 dental mission had to be cancelled because of the Covid-19 pandemic, but we will be back in the spring of 2021!