You do not have to be a dentist to volunteer with Global Dental Relief! Non-dental individuals make up as much as 60% of each volunteer team. Non-dental and general volunteers have an important role in each clinic. Each clinic serves hundreds of children—and a strong general volunteer team is critical to manage daily logistics and educate 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. Often, volunteers will rotate through two or more of these duties. 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 clinic briefing. While we cannot guarantee that you will get your first choice, we will do our absolute best to accommodate your preferences and leverage your skillsets to build the most effective clinic.
We care for an average of 100 children per day, each of whom requires clean instruments for examination and treatment. As sterilizer, you will be kept busy retrieving used instruments and vigorously cleaning them using a combination of soap, germicidal solution, and heat. You will then help to organize and distribute clean instruments, load syringes, and ensure that the instrument table is stocked and well organized.
Fluoride Treatment +
In this role, you will work directly with the 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 to make sure all is well, and they do not have any abnormal bleeding.
This job requires someone with an eye for detail and a love of little smiles. You will check out each child following treatment, making note of the work they have had done and whether or not they will need to come back for future treatment. You will keep a careful tally of the information gathered, which will prove invaluable to GDR in calculating our impact and planning future clinics. You will also get to distribute stickers or other prizes to the children as a reward for their bravery.
Tooth Brushing/Dental Hygiene Instruction+
This is a great job 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. Think games, songs and fun!
This is a very rewarding role for anyone with quick reflexes and who is good at thinking on their feet. If asked to help with clinic flow, you will need to keep tabs on all the children in the clinic as they move from intake to examination to treatment, making sure nobody wanders off or gets misplaced and getting kids into chairs as soon as the dental professionals are ready for them.
Each of our dentists and hygienists needs an assistant to work efficiently. As an assistant, you will be trained on the ground to work alongside a dental professional and help with exams and procedures. You will be working directly with our young patients, so it is important to maintain a calm, soothing demeanor. You will write and read patient charts, provide suction to maintain a dry and unobstructed field while the dentist or hygienist works, retrieve instruments, prepare amalgam for fillings, sterilize the equipment between patients and complete other essential tasks.
If you are a trained dental assistant, this should be second nature to you, though it may take you a few hours to adjust mentally if you are not used to working under field conditions. As a professional, we may call on you to help train our inexperienced assistants or have you sub in on an especially complicated procedure. We love our RDAs!
Are you a high school, pre-dental, or current dental student?+
- High School Students
Volunteers under the age of 18 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian (who will also volunteer in the clinic!). While the primary motivation should be to explore the world and give back, it looks great on college applications as well.
- Pre-Dental/Hygiene Students
Joining a GDR dental project is a great way to learn more about the field, learn from vastly experienced professionals, and give back in a meaningful way. It is also a great experience to add to your dental school application.
Pre-dental and pre-dental hygiene students join the clinic as general volunteers and will be exposed to a variety of volunteer roles and experiences.
GDR projects over Spring and Summer Break provide a great opportunity for your pre-dental/hygiene club to send a group! We are also able to provide a limited number of Cranberry scholarships each year to help offset the cost.
- Dental/Hygiene Students
GDR follows both the recommendation of the ADA and country location requirements that all dental professionals occupying a dental or hygiene chair be fully licensed. We have welcomed many dental and hygiene students who have found the experience volunteering as a general volunteer extremely rewarding and an intense learning experience.
We will make our best effort to maximize your chairside experience, but we ask that you are willing and able to perform any of the other clinic roles as needed
In discussion with the GDR Director, it may be possible for dental/hygiene students to engage in direct care under the direct supervision of your faculty.
Volunteers 14 years of age and older+
We welcome all families with youth 14+ on any of our clinics (pending availability). Volunteers under the age of 18 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian (who will also volunteer in the clinic!)
Children under 14+
For families with any youth under the age of 14, we would love to have you on select clinics with a prior conversation over the phone! Call 303.858.8857
Please email or call 303-858-8857 if you have questions regarding volunteer opportunities or job descriptions. We look forward to having you as part of our team!
Hear from Our Volunteers: