You do not have to be a dentist to volunteer with Global Dental Relief! Each team includes dental volunteers, RDH volunteers, and general or non-medical volunteers, which typically make up 60% of each volunteer team. A strong general volunteer team is critical to manage daily clinic logistics and care for the children.

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.

General Volunteers
Hear from our general volunteers
An Interview with Lisa Sasevich, General Volunteer video

An Interview with Lisa Sasevich, General Volunteer in Cambodia

Why be a Non-dental Volunteer (Carole Witka, General Volunteer) video

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!

Fluoride treatment

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.

Record keeping/checkout

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!

Chairside assisting

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!

Wolfgang Pfannenstiel

What Volunteers Say

After my first dental volunteer trip I was sure to do this continuously no matter what! This is helping kids in need effectively. This is having enjoyable conversations with new friends. This is creating unforgettable memories. So in my specific case the letters GDR stand for the German Dentist Returns :)”

- Wolfgang Pfannenstiel, Dentist, Germany

Darshani Khosla

What Partners Say

Global Dental Relief makes sure children are receiving continuous care and that clinics are run efficiently and with the highest ethical standards. They take care of every detail on your service trip — I plan to volunteer with them for years to come!

- Darshani Khosla, Dentist, Texas

Carol Lim

What Volunteers Say

Thank you Global Dental Relief! Nothing compares to the efforts and impact of your volunteer overseas programs, working hard to bring healthy smiles to children.

- Carol Lim, Vice President of Business Development, Cranberry U.S.A

TJ Gabriels

What Volunteers Say

I plan my whole year around these opportunities to volunteer abroad. I love travel with a purpose, being more than a tourist and making a small, positive mark in the world. This organization has allowed me to get out of my comfort zone and has really helped broaden my world view.

- TJ Gabriels, Lawyer and General Volunteer, New York

Michael Pasoff

What Volunteers Say

As a dentist, I have treated and cared for many patients, however, nothing can compare to the sense of fulfilment when volunteering your time and skill to ease the pain and suffering of others. It never ceases to amaze me what can be accomplished when surrounded by dedicated, caring and talented volunteers, such as those I met in past international dental clinics with GDR.

- Michael Pasoff, Dentist, Montreal, Canada

Nour Shehadeh

What Volunteers Say

I am honored and grateful to help these amazing children, meet incredible people, explore their culture and change children's lives for the better. I look forward to many service trips with GDR in the future.

- Nour Shehadeh, Dental Hygienist, Illinois

Peggy Lamm

What Volunteers Say

If you want to literally change lives, this is a great way to do that. Our work with Global Dental Relief produced more real good than all the other cumulative good works I've helped with through the rest of my life.

- Peggy Lamm, CEO Colorado Mesa University Foundation and General Volunteer, Colorado