International Service Trips
Since its inception the Pacific Dental Services® Foundation has been committed to increase the access to oral health not just locally but around the world. Through partnerships with dental schools and non-governmental organizations, the Foundation has been able to support communities through mentorship and hands on treatment also providing equipment and supplies to these rural areas throughout the years. Through these efforts we hope to empower the next generation of oral healthcare leaders to create a sustainable model of care. Our international service trip destinations have included Fiji, Ethiopia and Guatemala. Our current volunteer opportunities take place in Xenacoj, Guatemala.
With 54 percent of Guatemala’s population living in poverty and 13 in extreme conditions, dental disease is a tremendous problem in this country of over 16 million people. Responding to the widespread need for oral healthcare, the Pacific Dental Services Foundation established a clinic in Xenacoj, Guatemala in 2015.– In partnership with Mission Impact and Beeline Wheelchairs, the PDS® Foundation clinic provides comprehensive care to the many people in need in Guatemala, including those with disabilities. The clinic is able to serve patients year-round with the support of volunteers and dental students from the University of San Carlos Dental School, who are able to complete a 9 month residency program at the clinic while serving patients in their community.
Although the Fijian government works diligently to provide free medical care, specialized care is often not accessible to a large portion of the population due to geographical and financial constraints. The result is many Fijians suffer from debilitating but treatable oral health complications. Since the first dental outreach in 1998, the Mission at Natuvu Creek has been providing access to care through volunteer teams. The Pacific Dental Services Foundation joined these teams in 2011 providing treatment to adult and pediatric patients as volunteers travel to local schools administering oral hygiene instruction and fluoride treatments to students so they are equipped to care for their oral health year-round.
According to the 2012 FDI World Dental Federation report, Visions 2020: Shaping the Future of Oral Health, there is just one dentist per 1,278,446 people in Ethiopia. Parents often walk several days with children on their backs just for the chance to see a dentist. Since 2010, The Pacific Dental Services Foundation has been leading trips to the Tigray region of Ethiopia to provide comprehensive dentistry services, and mentorship to the students and faculty of the University of Mekelle Dental School. The Foundation has also worked with Relief Society of Tigray and the Ethiopian Government to set up a dental clinic in the rural area of northern Tigray to ensure that proper oral healthcare is achievable year-round.
Volunteer Opportunities for Dental Students
The Pacific Dental Services Foundation Dental Clinic in Xenacoj, Guatemala provides opportunites for dental schools to volunteer their time and provide access to oral healthcare to the people of Guatemala.
“Providing dentistry at the PDS Foundation Clínica Dental in Xenacoj was a superb experience for our students. They really enjoyed the chance to help patients who were in pain and truly appreciated the gratitude shown to them by the Guatemalan patients. For many students it was a true transformative experience." - Dr. Raymond Scott, Associate Professor of Endodontics at University of Pacific
If you are a current dental student or faculty member interested in bringing service opportunites to your schools, inquire below for more information.
Partnering with the University of the Pacific
The Pacific Dental Services Foundation Dental Clinic was host to a group of dental students from The University of The Pacific Arthur A. Dugoni School of Dentistry for five days. This was the second visit from The University of the Pacific to the PDS Foundation Dental Clinic in Xenacoj, Guatemala. A total of 17 dental students, 2 hygiene students, and 4 faculty members provided cleanings, extractions, fillings, and endodontics to 179 patients. In addition to serving patients at the clinic, the students visited a local school where they provided fluoride treatment and oral hygiene instruction.