There are a variety of exciting and essential jobs that you might be asked to perform as a general volunteer in a dental mission trip. Often, volunteers will rotate through two or more of these duties over the course of the service trip.
If you have a strong preference for one or more of the responsibilities described below, be sure to mention that to your clinic leader during the volunteer program briefing.
Hear from our general volunteers
An Interview with Lisa Sasevich, General Volunteer in Cambodia
Why Volunteer in a Dental Clinic? (Carole Witka, General Volunteer in Nepal)
Volunteers in our international dental clinics care for an average of 100 children per day, and they all require multiple instruments for examination and treatment. Volunteering in sterilization, you will play a key role cleaning and sterilizing instruments while also keeping the instrument table stocked and well organized. This is a great opportunity to volunteer as a sterilization technician, but no experience is required for this role!
Working at the fluoride station, you interact with children following their treatment to apply fluoride paste to their teeth, which, combined with regular brushing, will help protect them from future cavities. You may also be asked to keep an eye on and provide moral support to kids who have just had a tooth extracted until they are ready to leave clinic.
Volunteering in a dental clinic in a record-keeping role requires someone with an eye for detail and a love of little smiles. You will check out each child as they leave the clinic, collecting their record sheet and giving each child a sticker.
The record keeper keeps a careful tally of the work completed for each child, making note of whether they will need to come back for further care. Your summary will prove invaluable to GDR in calculating our impact and planning future international dental clinics.
Tooth brushing/dental hygiene instruction
This is a great volunteer opportunity for anyone who has lots of energy and loves kids. You will team up with a local community member to creatively and interactively teach kids about the importance of good dental hygiene and how to take care of their teeth. This is the perfect opportunity to volunteer with kids internationally – think games, songs and fun!
As an assistant on a volunteer dental clinic, you will be trained to work alongside a dental professional, helping with exams and procedures. You will be working directly with our young patients, so it is important to maintain a calm, soothing demeanor.
Volunteer dental assistants maintain patient dental charts, provide suction, retrieve instruments and needed dental materials, and generally support the volunteer dentist or hygienist in their patient care.
Many student volunteers and aspiring dental professionals love our short-term clinical volunteer opportunities to prepare them for their dental career!
If you are a trained dental assistant, this should be second nature to you, though it may take you a few hours to adjust to field conditions. As a professional, we may call on you to train inexperienced assistants or sub in on especially complicated procedures. We love our volunteer Dental Assistants!