American Dentists Bring Their Expertise to Dominican Republic to Help Underserved Communities

American Dentists Bring Their Expertise to Dominican Republic to Help Underserved Communities

When an influential person donates money to a cause, it’s usually celebrated for a short while and then orgotten. When a person of influence donates their time and expertise to help less fortunate people, however, it’s truly something special.

According to Las Vegas Review-Journal, Wisconsin dentist Dr. William Moline placed a call to his good friend, fellow dentist Dr. Cal Evans of Las Vegas, to inquire about a potential trip to the Dominican Republic last year.

The reason for the trip was simple; people in the Dominican Republic have few affordable options for dental care, specifically dental implants, which replace missing teeth. Instead of donating money to fund schools or programs in the tiny country, Evans and Moline decided to take matters into their own hands.

The two friends and the rest of their dental cohorts worked from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. for four days straight during their stay in Santo Domingo. The dentists received a warm welcome from their patients, who were extremely grateful for the opportunity to receive affordable treatment from renowned professionals.

“They were very appreciative of receiving treatment,” said Evans, “even though it was just with local anesthesia. There was no gas, no general anesthesia. I have patients here in Las Vegas who say, ‘I’ve got to have [full anesthesia],’ and things like that. Not there.”

According to U.S. News and World Report, the most common solution for tooth replacement among dentists for several decades was the fixed bridge. In the past several years, dental implant technology has advanced by leaps and bounds, making it the preferred option to replace missing teeth.

The success rate of dental implants has been reported in scientific literature as 98%, but this percentage is far lower in underdeveloped nations like the Dominican Republic. The dental tools that Evans and Moline had at their disposal were not even remotely close to U.S. standards, which made procedures more challenging.

“Nowadays, you have guided implants,” Evans said. “You can place it to within the millimeter of where it goes. There, we didn’t have that.”

Yet the dentists didn’t let the substandard tools stop them from helping Dominicans improve their smiles. The islanders were only charged $50 U.S. dollars for the entire procedure, which typically costs $2,000 for Americans.

While philanthropy was a primary factor in the dentists’ decision to make the trip, they also got a chance to hone their skills in difficult circumstances. Evans noted that he felt quite pleased with himself once the trip was complete.

“It made me feel good,” he added. “It makes you feel you’ve done something for someone who you know couldn’t afford to have it done. The giver usually wins.”

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