This past August our team of 17 dental students, 2 dentists and 1 hygienist traveled to Chichicastenango, Guatemala to provide dental care to the underserved population of this beautiful community. Chichi is an area that is plagued by hardship and poverty, where the average income is the equivalent of 1 US Dollar a day. For that week, we were able to eliminate the costs of dentistry to those who probably would have gone without it.
Through selfless teamwork, passion to heal, and a little bit of coffee, we were able to see 263 patients, performed 395 extractions, and 200 cleanings in the four days of clinic in a compound provided by the organization Pray America.
While most of our time there consisted of providing dental care, we also had some time to explore the surrounding area and connect with these individuals on a personal level. We traveled to local schools and food banks where we provided the children with toothbrushes and toothpaste, while also teaching them how to properly brush their teeth to prevent cavities and extractions from happening in the future.
We couldn’t have gotten nearly as much work done without the help of our amazing translators, and we were able to celebrate the long days of clinic with a friendly game of soccer at a local field a 15 minute truck drive away from the compound we stayed at.
We also had the chance to shop at the local market, hike the highlands, and cook meals with the wonderful Guatemalan chefs at our compound.
Overall, this trip was incredibly rewarding and will be a week that surely all of us will remember for the rest of our lives! We’d like to make a quick shoutout to our sponsors Aspen Dental, DentalOne Partners, Midway Dental, Crest, Oral-B, Colgate, GSK, Q-Optics, and Surgitel for providing some funding and easing the cost of the trip. Thank you to everyone else who donated and made this trip possible, we can’t wait to return next year!